Here are a few examples of human ingenuity being harnessed to maximize shareholder value.
College textbooks 📚
Publishers release new editions every year, allowing them to raise prices even when the content barely changes. The result has been an increase in cost of over 800% in the past thirty years.
They also InNovAtE by offering a digital component with a unique access code, which requires students to purchase the latest edition - and they’ve worked out agreements with schools to bundle the cost of books into tuition, so there’s no opportunity to opt out.
Tax preparation software 💼
TurboTax and H&R Block invest in lobbying against simplification of the tax code to ensure that filing taxes is complicated enough to require their software.
This type of InNovAtioN ensures that the US does not join the 30+ nations with return-free tax filing - and that the tax prep companies’ shareholder value continues to increase.
John Deere no longer sells tractors - they sell a license to operate a tractor, which they can revoke, remotely, at any time.
This InNovAtioN serves their shareholders by enabling John Deere to charge the same prices they’ve always charged (a tractor can cost more than half a million dollars), but retain ownership over their entire inventory.
Speaking from deep personal experience, approximately 87.4% of marketing activity is undertaken not to bridge the gap between a useful product and members of the public who might enjoy using it, but instead for the purpose of:
- Making an impression on leadership at the company doing the marketing
- Building a dazzling resume for the marketer (more)
- Complying with some half baked directive from an executive with no relevant experience or knowledge (like this)
- Addressing FOMO instilled by a marketing technology company or marketing agency (this is marketingception)
This is an ever-growing list of inspiration. If there’s an example of InNovAtioN that I haven’t catalogued, please get in touch.