Franki Chamaki » Innovative
List of great design and innovation companies

Lists companies similar to IDEO, Frogdesign, Adaptive Path,  Continuum, Jump, Cooper etc

Credit to this post, here is the list…

Product Development & Design

Web & Software Based Product Design

Mobile & Connected Device Design & Development

Service Design Consultancies 

Humanitarian Design & Social Innovation 

Ethnography for Innovation

Design for the Network

  • Regalis is a mobile payments system targeted towards Latin America that allows users to send money back home for the purposes of paying bills or buying groceries using mobile gift card platform.
  • They have found a way “to hack the mobile gift card,” De la Cruz, cofounder. It effectively this means that Regalii taps into the infrastructure that is already in place as a way of delivering the sum of money to recipients, with cash never coming into the equation.
  • Regalii provides its service for a $3 flat fee, as compared to many other services that work on a combination of fees and/or commissions. The company claims to offer 60% cost savings for typical remittances.
  • In Latin America alone, this is a $69 billion opportunity annually.
  • The key of this start up is tapping into 7,000 retailers (ie mum and pop stores). They did this via leveraging the asset of their finance packer – second largest bank in South America.

Regalii_pincode Regalii_pincodew

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  • Check out this start-up, Soil IQ, they have a soil sensors that transmits soil data like temperature, PH level, light and fertility back to a paired app along with a platform for data analysis (e.g. algorithm that assess the data points as well as social data)
  • It also allows you to see who else is growing similar things giving it a social element.
  • Users receive SMS or twitter-based alerts when their plants need attention, and can buy/sell/trade their crops (or share data) with their friends and neighbors.
  • It collects the data about plants, soil and the environment and than recommends what plant you should plant and how you should plant say tomatoes or onions etc.
  • Its like Nest but for home and garden.
  • The plan is to integrate with things like the water systems and automatically water your plants.
  • It will also, in the long term able to determine plant diseases.
  • Its targeted for small farms and homes and powered by solar power so its consistently monitoring.
  • The guys are using Industrial Design firm FuseProject which is owned by Yves Behar.
  • Its estimated that there is 100 Million US households with a lawn or garden with on average spend of $120 per year on their garden with tools and related items.  With this being a $21 billion market.













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I posted a blog called “Its so cool to be a Reverse Innovator” which I talk about Reverse Innovation – the process by which a company discovers new growth streams by utilizing its natural strengths to develop new products and services in developing countries and transposing it in developed countries with new competitive advantages.


I came across this social health innovation, called Embrace; where students at Stanford worked on a design challenge to create a baby incubator that would cost less than 1% of the price of a traditional, $20,000 incubator.



According to Jane Chen, CEO and Founder of Embrace; about 4 million low-birth weight babies die within the first 28 days of life because their bodies don’t have enough fat to regulate their body temperature. The problem was that traditional incubators are high in cost and require a constant supply of electricity.  Many people that live in rural villages in India for instance have low incomes and limited access to electricity.


Chen and her team developed (after much iteration), a miniature sleeping bag that can stays at a constant temperature for up to 6 hours by using an innovative wax-like material with tubes of hot water running through the sleeping bag.   With the baby’s natural heat and the wax-like tubes, the sleeping bag is able to maintain a constant temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (or 98 Fahrenheit).



Now, if it costs $20,000 for a traditional incubator, how competitive would this product be if it was sold in developed countries like USA? 



Embrace essentially created a new business model what will not necessarily impact the traditional incubator market.


Here is a video explaining the concept and the challenge by Jane Chen:


I have been recently seeing more and more reviews and stories on the topic of Reverse Innovation.   Could it be maybe Vijay Govindarajan’s recently released his new book entitled Reverse Innovation or maybe Im getting more aware of examples that fit this type of innovation, nevertheless I thought I write something brief.


When I think of Reverse Innovation two concepts come to mind.  The use of applied Design Thinking and Lean Start Up methodologies. More I read about Reverse Innovation the more I think about these two methodologies being used to develop products and services under new constraints.


Reverse innovation is the process where a product (or/and service) is essentially created, sold and used within a developing market but (and this is where the magic happens)  it is ultimately transposed into a developed market but with significant competitive advantage or changed business model.


Why I say it’s a combination of applied Design Thinking and Lean Start Up is because it combines the empathy aspect of Design thinking by looking at a countries environmental characteristics and constraints (i.e. low income, low standards of living, high rates of population growth & dependency burdens, general poor infrastructure and market distribution) and applies an iterative product development approach by wokring on minimal viable product (MVP) to test assumptions, validate learnings and either pivot or progress.


There are a lot of examples but the one I came across that I liked was the GE Healthcare and how they went out and asked the question:


How might we provide affordable and simple to use high tech-technology health in developing regions?”


According a GE report  in India; about 75 percent of medical professionals work in urban centers, leaving 3/4 of the India’s 1.2 population to be served by just 25% and these are most in very rural areas.


Backed by GE Healthcare’s strengths including: global infrastructure, strong brand reputation, partner relationships and scientific knowledge; the team successfully developed a low-cost electrocardiogram machine for the India market.  The machine came to a cost $800 compared to hospital-class units that range from $2,000 to $10,000. Either way; that is a cost-savings of 60% to 92%.


Now let me ask you this; if you had a product that was 92% cheaper and just as superior on the market do you think you have a competitive advantage?


GE Healthcare’s low-cost electrocardiogram has subsequently been marketed and sold in China and in the US with great success – and without losing substantial revenue on their existing products in this category.


Key thing for me is that constraints breeds creativity and innovation, and Reverse Innovation is really a way by which a company can leverage its own existing strengths by applying it in a new context that  leadings to new growth streams.


Check out the video below:


 Further reading






This is great example of how constraint can really breed innovation.

Have a look at this video and see what Gray Chang did to his small 344-square-foot studio apartment.  With a series of sliding doors, hidden handles and movable walls, he is able to transform is apartment into 24 different designs.  

With around 7 million people, Hong Kong’s most precious commodity is space.  And it was this scarcity of space that give Gray Chang his inspiration to come up with what he calls “Domestic Transformer.”

I like the window and floor finishing –  it makes the apartment feel warm and inviting and the reflections on the mirror on the ceiling and reflective floors further create light and more sense of space.

Truly ingenious.

You can read more about here NYTimes story and check out this video below.



I love the innovative thinking around this idea of how to introduce TESO to the South Korea market.  In the brand name of HomePlus, TESCO was able to create a presence within South Korea but understand the local way of life and how space, public transport and mobility all play an important part in South Korea citizens pathway. After conducting a study they found that people in South Korea didn’t have much time for shopping for groceries – communing to and from work and the way they commuted was important. TESCO introduce HomePlusn by bringing the shopping experience to their commute home.

Customers use their phones to take picture of QR codes on virtual goods on large display screen and add items to their virtual basket. The items are then shipped to the customers address generally by the time they arrive from commuting.

According to the video, online sales increased 130% and registered users increased by 76%.  More the most important result was TESCO is now 2nd largest offline supermarket.