Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Category Archives: innovation

Waking Up a Sleeping Industry: Mattress Industry Disruption

Submitted by Michelle Young at Toptal

Authored by Melissa Lin, Finance Editor at Toptal

Edited by Lynn Patra

Executive Summary

The Traditional Mattress Model
Upstarts Grabbing Market Share
Common Mattress Upstart Success Factors:
The Story Isn’t Black and White
Key Takeaways from Mattress Industry Disruption

Introduction

Mattresses are having a cultural moment. Once crammed into stuffy showrooms with eager salespeople and a dizzying plethora of models touting ergonomic springs or gel foams, mattress purchases have long been a notoriously complicated in-store purchase. However, they have recently become—dare I say it?—sexy. A growing number of upstarts have recently revitalized the industry with innovations in marketing, delivery, a direct-to-consumer model, and new mattress technology. According to Jason Bennett, former Senior Director of Marketing for Gap, Inc., “Mattresses are now a cool thing to talk about. You would never have thought that in years past.” You might be scratching your head wondering how regular mattresses—not even “smart” mattresses—have gained renewed popularity in the public eye, but wonder no more.

While the concept of “disruption” has become somewhat trite in today’s evolving tech world, it may just be that these mattress upstarts are shaking up the business and forcing incumbents to adapt. Rather than the typical narrative of shiny, nimble operations displacing older ones, perhaps there’s room for collaboration and innovation. There are lessons for investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate moguls alike. This article discusses the traditional mattress business model, what these upstarts are doing differently (and better), and some takeaways from these developments. Read more of this post

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Fintech and Banks: How Can the Banking Industry Respond to the Threat of Disruption?

Submitted by Michelle Young at Toptal

Authored by Alex Graham, Finance Expert for Toptal

Edited by Lynn Patra

Executive Summary

Fintech 1.0 needs fintech 2.0 to arrive.
How have banks reacted to fintech?
There are four areas in which the financial industry can focus to improve their response to fintech.
What will the bank of the future be?

Banks Can Play the Fintech Game Too

Fintech, shortened from financial technology, is assumed to be a modern movement. Yet the use of technology to assist financial services is by no means a new phenomenon. Financial services is an industry that introduced credit cards in the 1950s, internet banking in the 1990s and, since the turn of the millennium, contactless payment technology. Yet, fintech’s place in the public conscience has really taken off in the past three years:

Chart 1: Google Trends "Interest over Time" Results for the Search String "Fintech"

The takeoff of this term has come from startups—actors not within the inner circle of financial services, taking a more prominent role within the ecosystem. Three core trends have led to this movement emerging: Read more of this post

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