How creating experiences for underserved markets can be a key innovation strategy
It’s summertime, at least here in the northern hemisphere and chances are that August is a holiday month. Which might well see you sitting somewhere and watching an exotic sunset, glass of something suitably refreshing in your hand. As you see that golden disc slip below the horizon and the wonderful display of red shifting colour begins to settle towards nightfall you might spare a thought for the memory of Tom Gullick who died this month. Because for many of us jetting away to our exotic location might not be happening were it not for his innovation efforts….
An avid bird spotter (he held the record for the most birds (over 9000) spotted by an individual) he was a bit of a Don Quixote figure, not least because he took up residence in La Mancha in Spain and pursued a conservationist crusade during his later years, saving at least one species of duck from extinction.
But he has another claim to fame — as one of the founding fathers of the low-cost travel experience. His bird-watching abilities gave him good observational skills and led him to spot an opportunity in classic entrepreneurial fashion — and then to go after it with a passion.
What he pioneered was ‘experience innovation’ — not simply offering travel but a whole new experience. In his case it was opening up the world (or at least Europe) to a whole new market of travellers who had never thought this would be possible. In doing so he followed in the footsteps of Thomas Cook who had pioneered the package tour a hundred years earlier - and both of them rode the wave of 'position innovation' to great effect.