Delivering Pizza to the Homeless

Delivering Pizza to the HomelessInnovation can come from a number of different potential sources of inspiration and insight. The most typical source of course is understanding customer needs. This is the source for the whole design thinking movement, but there are still a number of other potential sources of inspiration and insight for potential innovations. But, in this case we will be examining a potential innovation building not only on an unmet customer need, but one that iterates on previous attempts by a company to address the same unmet customer need – the desire to have a pizza delivered when you’re not at home.

In the world of pizza delivery, the process has always had at its core, a street address, because the context for both the pizza ordering system and the delivery driver was linked to the world of the street map. But sometimes customers want to enjoy a hot delivered pizza in a place that doesn’t have a street address and companies like Domino’s Pizza had no way to address this scenario. The street address had become an orthodoxy.

By understanding this unmet customer need and challenging this orthodoxy, Domino’s arrived at the concept of the pizza door on a beach in the Netherlands back as early as 2009 (if not earlier). The phone number for the local Domino’s Pizza was on the door and after the order was placed the Domino’s Pizza delivery person would bring the pizza(s) to the door and ring the doorbell to let the customer know when they have arrived.

A creative solution to the unmet customer need, an interesting invention to challenge the street address orthodoxy, but definitely NOT an innovation as it can’t scale to replace the street address centric approach to pizza delivery.

But, Domino’s Pizza hasn’t given up iterating on this unmet customer need and recently launched their latest approach to solving it which they call Domino’s Hotspots.

Domino's Hotspots

The concept is simple:

Stop defining delivery locations by street addresses, and instead define them by GPS coordinates.

As soon as you stop limiting potential delivery locations to places with street addresses and instead view it through a mobile-centric lens (including GPS coordinates and location-based services) then you can start mapping popular locations without street addresses to GPS coordinates that both customers and delivery drivers can use to get pizzas to customers, while also sending customers text updates of both the progress of the order and the pizza’s ultimate arrival at the chosen location.

It’s all driven out of the Domino’s Pizza mobile app, which also makes it a great way to create customer loyalty, to gather customer behavior data, and to drive repeat business.

So, what do you think?

Innovation or not?

About Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, helps companies build innovation cultures and infrastructures, and plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.
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