In the last week there has been a minor buzz in the media about Starbucks attempt at unbranding as a means for innovation. On the surface, there may be some positive aspects to this tactic. My take is that without the input of their community stakeholders, this lacks the power of co-creation. It’s not likely to succeed.
I am fortunate to have a birds-eye view of the venture. My daughter lives a few blocks from this morphed location. I know the spot since I frequently walk or drive by when I am in Seattle. Within 1/4 mile there are a dozen other local coffee houses that are unique icons in the neighborhood. They grew up from the imagination of their owners and the style and influence of their customers. No “out of the box” and into the storefront operations, they are all a work in progress.
Folks vote with their purchases and and their feet when it comes to coffee. As someone who has consulted to change and innovation projects in business, I see employees and customers making similar choices. In every organization there are opportunities for making change with and without the constituents. The former may make a big show and start off with a bang. The latter is more likely to go from hum to song to chorus and end with a crescendo. Much more satisfying for everyone.