It’s Time for Drone Delivery

The other day, I was sitting with a group of college students at Starbucks, we were discussing startup businesses. They were brainstorming of what type of business to start. A guy in an ice cream truck pulled up and the driver ran into Starbucks. I joked as he ran by, “don’t you sell any coffee flavored ice cream?” Everyone laughed as did the driver as he briskly rushed the door open and ran in. “Maybe he is just using the restroom?” We all laughed again, and then saw him get pick-up his pre-made coffee he must have ordered with his smart phone Starbuck’s app.

As he was leaving he told us while we sat at the outdoor table that he did sell coffee flavored ice cream. I asked if I could buy a round of ice cream for the group. He apologized and said; “Today, I am delivering Amazon Packages, as a delivery contractor, my brother is using all his vans, so I am helping out, we are really busy – Prime Day Delivery!” Everyone was intrigued, and he broke into a stride saying; “Chow” as he left, and he turned on the music for us as he drove away. What a cool small business owner. We all laughed again, he was so busy he just needed more caffeine to finish his hectic day.

Our group then went back to brainstorming on what a smart business might be for a startup. I laughed and said: “Hey, you have to be observant, we just saw a guy in a friggin’ ice cream truck delivering online packages because they didn’t have enough vans or people to help, that means there is demand in the market not being met.” I started asking them a series of questions:

- How could you deliver more efficiently?
- How could you streamline the delivery business model?
- How could you revolutionize the package delivery business?
- How could you find other underutilized vehicles and people to deliver?

And, then I reminded them that Amazon now has a market value of $1 Trillion. I asked them about other observations they just had?

- Why can’t that ice cream man deliver Starbucks?
- Why not start a drone business to deliver Starbucks and Amazon?
- Why not figure out how to solve those delivery challenges with software, apps, drones, combination?

I reiterated; “Let’s face it, you know there is unfulfilled demand in the marketplace for new delivery companies and better options when you see an Ice Cream truck delivering online packages as an Amazon Contractor.”

I explained that you have to observe everything and think. I explained that we can’t be too busy here brainstorming that we stop observing, the clues are everywhere, right in front of our noses. If you are at a loss for ideas, look around, read the newspaper, listen to people complain, think about things that would make problems go away for people – then try to come up with solutions for these challenges – solutions that you can make a profit in providing.

Brainstorming and Innovation – Not Really Working Anymore

Well, I have a pretty large personal library with more than 3 dozen books on innovation. It’s amazing how they all read about the same and all have nearly the same advice, especially when it comes to the ‘art of brainstorming’. Still, due to all the new social norms being taught in college these days, where every question asked of a professor, no matter how stupid, is met with; “Great question,” and then followed by the nauseating improper English; “okay so… ” followed by a regurgitated answer – it’s causing the same nonsense in brainstorming sessions.

The only chance today of a brainstorming session coming up with a brilliant original solution would be to have someone in the group who is already a creative genius who can speak up, defend their concept against politically correct and status quo bias and personally persuade the group to yield to their idea. Still, this type of person is a true ‘Thought Leader’ and a legitimate thought leader hardly needs a brainstorming group or any group for that matter in the first place.

Brainstorming isn’t working anymore for innovation, and you can get better creativity from a YouTube Cat Video these days. Corporate R&D Departments aren’t producing much either considering the huge sums of money they spend on the innovative process. Those who predict the future so they can see into the looking glass aren’t much better using their methodologies.

Innovation for the Future and Future Prediction

Let’s take the Futurists of the World Future Society (WFS) as an interesting case study. The WFS has seminars to teach you how to think like a Futurist, symposiums with special emphasis on trend projections and innovation. Isn’t it interesting how all the members of the WFS are always on the same page, and how their predictions are nearly always incorrect (90% of the time)? Why is this? Maybe it’s because when you teach people to think a certain way, they lose the creative edge or ability to do high-level original thought, as you are confine their thought process to logical thinkin?g (left brain thinking) when the students who wish to focus on innovation need to be both left and right brain thinkers.

How are we going to get back to an America that is robust in original thinking and overflowing with new ideas – a nation that is so innovative that we can’t even hold back the rapid changes of our society and civilization? How can we lead the world into the future if we can’t even innovate our way out of plastic bags? Please consider all this and think on it.