Interesting propositions I discovered in 2018

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A year ago I published , and a few people seemed to like it, so I thought I’d do it again for 2018.

I’ll repeat the same caveat: It’s in no way exhaustive or complete (or in any kind of sensible order); it’s just those new ideas that I’ve subjectively found most interesting, or have found most useful as inspiration or analogy in our work at .

Yet again there’s no VR/AR, barely any AI, and only the choicest crypto/blockchain. I’ve also avoided just listing tens of new d2c brands. Once again I’ve focussed on companies who are re-engineering categories around customers and disappearing products inside services.


  • — get an advance on your paycheck
  • T — income smoothing for freelancers
  • — digital financial planning for freelancers
  • — current account with tax return features for freelancers
  • — build credit by paying rent
  • — secure virtual cards for online subscriptions
  • — part own, part rent a home
  • — manage split bills in shared households
  • — one supplier for all your utilities
  • — bringing scientific rigour to philanthropy


  • — home insurance, unbundled and flexible
  • — simple life insurance that delivers your ‘death wish’

There were loads of interesting insurance propositions last year, but not so many this. Has the insutech wave crested (or focussed instead on optimizing the current)?


  • — purchase shares in masterpieces from artists like Picasso, Monet, Warhol
  • — a roboadvisor for ethical investing
  • — financial planning delivered with a hybrid digital / call experience

On demand / as a service / subscription box

  • — building supplies, on demand
  • — cooked meals for your dog, as a subscription
  • — donating clothes to charity, as a service
  • — reusable cups as a service (tracking, cleaning, incentivising reuse)
  • — meal planning / shopping / preparation as a service
  • — rent the stuff you need to create great experiences (e.g. an outdoor movie night)


  • — unexpected ingredient matches based on science
  • — edible water packaging
  • — delivery-only restaurant concepts
  • — delivery-only restaurant from social content juggernaut Jungle Creations
  • — animal free dairy products that taste like the real thing
  • — lab grown meat, from a single animal cell



  • — cool electric scooter, with swappable batteries
  • — a car, and a flexible way of using it, ‘for Millennials’
  • — car subscription as a platform
  • — on demand car rental
  • — for the cost of owning a car, get unlimited access to public transport, taxis, on demand cars and bikes
  • — modern driving school
  • — a hyperloop for cars
  • — a self-driving vehicle for local goods transportation
  • — on demand electric scooter business in a box

Retail / eCommerce


  • — free body scanning suit captures your exact measurements to order custom-fit clothes (sadly in practice the clothes take ages to arrive and don’t fit well)
  • — trainers in quarter sizes, order a different size for each foot
  • — retro running gear in modern materials
  • — bespoke suits for the price of off the shelf

The Amazonisation of brands

  • — luxury products without the ‘brand tax’
  • — detergent in a shippable box that reduces Amazon packaging and logistics
  • — a washing machine that orders itself new detergent from Amazon

Blockchain / crypto / decentralisation

  • — tokenise anything physical
  • — decentralised gig economy services infrastructure
  • — blockchain for global supply chain
  • — blockchain for health records
  • — decentralised medical records and analysis
  • — decentralised banking
  • — decentralized financial products
  • — decentralized payment network

Health / longevity

  • — power assisted clothing
  • — brain preservation good enough to keep your memories intact
  • — online therapy and lifecoaching service

New tools for work

  • — unites spreadsheets, docs and apps
  • — simple, collaborative notes for teams
  • — all-in-one workspace for notes, tasks, wikis and databases
  • — design and engineering in the same workflow
  • — AI-powered noise cancelling for laptop calls
  • — digitises legal documents and builds applications on top

Any zingers I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments. And please give me some applause if you find this interesting or useful (or are just full of festive cheer).

I work at , where we help companies develop and deliver meaningful new propositions like , and . If we could help, please get in touch:

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Leading a customer-led transformation at a PE-backed #SMEtech. Previously CSO at Albion, a business innovation consultancy.

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