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  • Jim Jewell
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Innovation: Using ‘blockchain’ to extend micro loans in Kenya

The Innovation of the Day from trendwatching.com  

Twiga Foods in Kenya, a platform helping farmers distribute produce to food stalls, partnered with IBM to extend microloans to stall vendors. IBM created a system to help these sellers receive credit scores; a machine learning algorithm analyzes their mobile purchase records and calculates a credit score. The end-to-end lending process is then managed via a blockchain-based system and executed via mobile devices and SMS. The pilot saw 220 loans made, with the average loan of USD 30 being extended for 4 to 8 days. The initiative is set to be expanded across Africa by the end of the year.

In case you’re not fluent in the benefits of blockchain, here’s a one-sentence crash course: It allows users to keep and view fully transparent, unchangeable records. As a result, blockchain is being used to bringing new levels of trust and transparency to various activities: Agora’s voting system transformed Sierra Leone’s elections, the first blockchain university is upending how higher education has typically worked, while consumers can monitor their chickens in China to make sure they’re truly free-range.

And don’t miss the bigger picture: new forms of trust and transparency change everything by empowering endless new players to enter the market. Individually these suppliers might be small but collectively they can reshape entire industries thanks to their unprecedented ability to cater to every customer need, no matter how niche. Just ask those in the retail industry (eBay and Alibaba), the media industry (YouTube) and the travel industry (Airbnb).

So, if it’s not too big a question for this early morning email (!) ask yourself: what steps is your brand taking to enable more suppliers to enter your industry? Because if you’re not empowering new entrants, then someone else soon will!

7 new business trends we’re seeing in 2018

7 new business trends we’re seeing in 2018

Millennials welcome generation Z America’s youngest generation, “Gen-Z” (those born after 1998), are now entering their formative years and rising in influence. At nearly 70 million strong, the eldest of which are now entering college and/or the workforce, this group will soon outnumber their Millennial predecessors. Millennials are not children anymore. In fact, the oldest of them are now 35. Millennials are increasingly taking leadership roles within organizations. In addition to managing th...

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VALCORT® : The hard work leading to an aha moment

VALCORT® : The hard work leading to an aha moment

One day just a few years ago, the light went on in a conference room at a mid-sized manufacturer in the southeast. The idea kind of light. After hours of discussions with the company’s leaders and frontline sales directors, and dozens of interviews with its customers, we presented a simple but profound prescription for generating more effective prospect engagement and over-the-counter sales. It involved capturing the one spot and one interaction that made all the difference for this company --wh...

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The Valcort Group Acquires Curtis Creative  to Bolster its Digital Service

The Valcort Group Acquires Curtis Creative to Bolster its Digital Service

St. Charles, IL, April 25, 2018 - -The Valcort Group, a marketing strategy and business growth consultancy, announced this week the acquisition of the Curtis Creative agency, in a move to bolster its digital and creative services. Curtis president Curt Schultz will serve as Digital Practice Director at The Valcort Group. The Curtis staff will continue to provide digital and creative services as part of The Valcort Group, at its St. Charles, Illinois, offices. Chuck Thomas, president of The Valc...

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Striking Innovation in 4 Sectors of Life

Striking Innovation in 4 Sectors of Life

Innovation in Charity New Story: American charity New Story partnered with robotics construction firm Icon to 3D-print homes, and establish a community in El Salvador. The organization is raising $1 million to produce its affordable homes. Each home contains a kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms, costs $4,000 and takes 12–24 hours to print. The houses are also sturdy, as they use material that is stronger than cinderblock, which New Story used in the previous homes it produced. New Story aims to ...

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The Story Behind 25 Epic Strategic Marketing Fails

The Story Behind 25 Epic Strategic Marketing Fails

Influencing public opinion and behavior is a complicated art, and hitting all the right notes in your advertising and marketing is rarely an easy task. That’s why developing a solid brand and market strategy is so very important. We’ve compiled thumbnails on 25 efforts that haven’t worked out so well. They are organized in three categories:  strategy-thin campaigns, great companies that made huge strategic errors, and seriously flawed brand extensions. We study history to avoid its mistakes! St...

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The 7 disciplines of wildly successful charities

The 7 disciplines of wildly successful charities

Building the trust that fuels program growth In recent years, about two thirds of Americans respond to appeals from charities for support of projects to meet human needs, create new initiatives, advance faith, and reverse wrongs. Nonprofit organizations received $390 billion in donations and were supported by 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service. Unfortunately, the support is fleeting. For every 100 new donors, American nonprofits lost more than 100. A new report concluded that for every $100 ...

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Do you need a strong corporate brand?

Do you need a strong corporate brand?

Creating and presenting a strong brand is all about establishing value.  This is especially true if you are selling direct to consumers. If you been dealing primarily with distributors or retailers, your brand is important, but to a lesser degree. If you shift your focus to selling directly to consumers, branding principles begin to apply.  Here are some of those principles: People buy from people and companies they know and trust People buy products they know and trust The values people hold d...

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Ageless beauty, and other trending innovations

Ageless beauty, and other trending innovations

Four trendy innovations from Trendwatching: 1. Twenty-two years after her contract with Lancôme was terminated, 63-year-old Isabella Rossellini has been re-hired by the French beauty brand. In February, the brand launched a campaign starring the Italian model and actress as the face of its Renergie Multi-Glow range, a skincare line targeting anti-aging concerns. If there’s one trend that keeps on giving, it’s brands (finally!) waking up to the NEW NORMAL. Once-marginalized groups are now being g...

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The World’s Best Corporate Websites

The World’s Best Corporate Websites

A company’s website is often the first point of contact with the world, yet many corporations have been behind the curve when it comes to their web presence. Bowen Craggs & Co., a London-based corporate communication consultancy, has published a critique of the websites of the world’s 200 largest companies, based on 2017 activity. It’s Index of Online Excellence 2018 lists the 30 best websites, rating them on construction, message, contact, how well they serve user such as investors, media,...

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