In 2010, more than 1,785,059 confirmed cases of Dengue—a deadly mosquito-borne fever—were reported on a worldwide basis. With over 30,000 cases of its own by 2013, the tiny country of Sri Lanka embarked on a massive campaign to educate its population.
Mawbima, Sri Lanka’s mass-market newspaper, played a key role during the campaign by providing much-needed information about the disease, but it wanted to do more. After discovering that its paper was most often read by Ski Lankans in the early morning and early evening (precisely during the times when the deadly mosquitoes were known to strike), Mawbima came up with the brilliant idea of mixing citronella essence, a natural mosquito repellent, with the ink that was used to print its newspaper. In doing so, the publisher created the world’s first mosquito repellent newspaper.
This type of innovation comes when a company thinks beyond how customers use its product to how customers live their lives. By expanding your view of your customers, you can obtain additional insight that can lead to the development of new services and better products. The customer who is standing at your counter came from somewhere and will go someplace else when they leave your establishment. The customers who are using your product might be using it in conjunction with another product, or at least wishing that they could. The possibilities for additional opportunities are endless.