Following on from my earlier post about how drones are starting to show potential to be used as delivery mechanisms, there has been some other interesting examples recently of using existing delivery mechanisms in a new way, or creating new delivery networks.
In terms of the developed world, when Jeff Bezos bought WashPo, there was some speculation that he would try to leverage their superior (albeit local) delivery mechanisms for the paper to deliver Amazon goods. In the absence of any further news about Bezos’ plans, that remains an interesting idea.
An interesting idea in the developing world is piggybacking on existing, dominant networks. A recent documentary described how an NGO used Coca-Cola’s network to distribute rehydration kits in Africa. This is a brilliant idea, which turns on its head the previously accepted notion that Coke should be available everywhere, but medicines not. Similar initiatives have been done before by the foundation or CSR arms of big companies, such as Unilever in India, but it’s a brilliant idea for an NGO to do the same thing.
Lastly, Fast Company recently had an article on a social enterprise creating a whole new network, also in Africa. This takes the US model of Avon ladies, training women to be rural, travelling saleswomen, armed with small sales kits and support networks. This idea seems to have the potential to really flip industries that have struggled to build businesses that sell to the bottom of the pyramid, hopefully opening up huge new markets.
Photo credits: Wikipedia