Just like media has reduced “technology” to Internet and Phones (or specifically Apple and Google), innovations are often thought of as something big. Something that changes the paradigm. Something the re-imagines the whole. From business context, innovations are implementations of ideas that take significant capital (think manufacturing technologies, computer hardware/ software) or significant effort (think man-hours).

But it doesn’t have to be.

Innovations can also occur in small portions. These type of changes are often behavioral, not always. Behavioral changes are often effected by creating a culture that makes it possible. Training doesn’t work, reinforcement does.

In this post, I intend to capture small innovations. In doing so, I will maintain a running list of innovations I witness and every time I add one to this list, I will change the date of the post so that you know it has changed. This post is initially published on 1/8/2014.

1. The CSR I was speaking to needed to do something in the background for the help I was seeking. She said “I am going to put you on hold, but it is a soft-hold — this means you can talk anytime and I will unmute my mic immediately to respond”. This, of course, was different from a regular hold where they make you listen to music. What small gesture — but what big impact it has on the caller.

2. CCs (for US customers) typically have “Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Spanish” as the first choice the caller has to make. But why even ask that question? I CC I recently called, mentioned everything in English and added “para espanol, oprime el dos” — meaning if you want them to think you prefer English, you basically don’t have to do anything. (Spanish is spoken by fewer than 20% of people, so no biggie)

3. Many retailers I visit now offer to email me the receipts, so they don’t have to print one. And I don’t have to lose one. This one retailer I went to — upped the game. When I buy their merchandise, they affix a sticker with a unique barcode at the point of sale (so you can’t guise stolen goods as purchased goods) and the merchandise can be returned without any supporting receipts. Neat!

More to come!


CSR — Customer Support Representative — I use this word generically to refer to anyone you call in a call-center type of setup for help. Examples — phone co, car co, bank, credit card co, electricity co and many others.

CC — Call center, contact center — customer service center — you get the idea