Image by  Claire Esparros .

Image by Claire Esparros.

Transformation demands new behaviors from leaders and employees. When it comes to a force powerful enough to truly disrupt the world around them, the leadership of the business is one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle. So, before we take a look at examples of which companies are blazing the trails, first let’s note 3 characteristics consistently found within the leading industry shape shifters:


1.      Passionate and agile leadership. These companies identify demand for product or serviced out of an area of passion from founders/leaders and attract like minded employees into a culture driven by the same zeal.


2.      Say it with me, “consumerize, consumerize, consumerize”. And while you are at it, use technology to drive the user experience beyond the norm. Great transformers in recent years know that winning consumers (B2B or B2C, and all the blurred lines that now exist in between), either focus on consumerizing an industry or service that was not traditionally consumer-focused but is shifting (health care, finance, construction), or focus on being unique and best-in-class in a consumer dominated industry.


3.      Identifying and capitalizing on consumers appetites to bring ease to everyday life. Many of the big winners in recent years IPO offerings have come from both the above characteristics, but also originated by capitalizing on a product or service that brings ease and time-saving into everyday life… Think about the current subscription “box” movement. Birchbox, Barkbox, Dessertbox, Candybox. Getting a variety of products, tailored, directly into consumer hands. The subscription boxes serve as a facilitator or middle man between the retailers and the consumers, but ultimately creating ease and saving the consumer’s time and hassle.

HuffingtonPost and Mashable have done a great job highlighting a few forward thinking industry veterans pioneering more traditional fields and several newcomers set to light their industries ablaze:


GrubHub – Finding the value in curing hunger cravings on demand

About: Grubhub is the nation's leading online and mobile food ordering company dedicated to connecting hungry diners with local takeout restaurants. The company’s online and mobile ordering platforms allow diners to order directly from more than 50,000 takeout restaurants in over 1,100 U.S. cities and London. Every order is supported by the company’s 24/7 customer service teams. Grubhub has offices in Chicago, New York and London.

Why they are changing the game:GrubHub’s entire business is built around being hungry.”

 “The GrubHub team has a hunger of a different kind: An intense craving for new, fresh ideas that challenge the norms of online food ordering. And, it’s paying off in a big way—for employees, and also for consumers. “We bring a new way of getting all the food that you love,” shares Senior Director of Acquisitions Marketing Steven Young, “Whenever you want it, however you want it.”


Oscar HealthThe value in the consumerization of healthcare.

About: Healthcare is broken; we're trying to fix it. The Oscar team is focused on utilizing technology, design and data to humanize healthcare. We're a group of technology and healthcare professionals who looked at the current state of the US healthcare system, got frustrated by the horrible consumer experience, and decided to do something big about it. Backed by a renowned set of investors and advisors, we’ve set out to revolutionize healthcare. Mission: Turning health insurance into a product that focuses on the consumer's interest.

Why they are changing the game: Going after the millennial vote.

No longer are subscribers customers or patients, rather members in Oscar’s eyes. Their entire brand is built on aesthetically simple and friendly ad works and plays on words. Hi Oscar is even in their name of their web address. “Oscar promises something different: a system that swaps red tape for red carpet. Technology, transparency, and hi-touch are its watchwords. Though Oscar takes pains to emphasize that it serves all ages, every aspect of its service—from the design of its app to its whimsical, tweet-friendly ads—sends out a millennial dog whistle: Come to me, my mobile-first darlings.


ClassPass The value in a passion for wellness with easy assimilation into busy lives.

About: Fitness that fits your life.

ClassPass is the leading membership to the world’s largest fitness network. With over 8,000 partners in 39 cities worldwide, ClassPass provides members a variety of fitness experiences to choose from, including yoga, cycling, Pilates, barre, running, strength training, dance, sports, videos and more. Recognized as one of Forbes's Next Billion Dollar Startups, ClassPass leverages proprietary technology to dynamically merchandise and surface over a million fitness classes for a seamless booking experience that facilitates discovery.

Why they are changing the game: “Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!”

This businesses core was built on a founders passion and desire to make the fitness world easier to access and utilize in everyday life. The company then grew based on leaderships ability to pivot the business model, even in controversial and painful shifts to the consumer experience. Learning how to sustain an online subscription business (which is still fully finding it’s footing in the consumer marketplace and with so many competitors are popping up, what seems like daily), takes the ability to rework plans quickly as the landscape evolves. ClassPass has changed names, pricing structures, and lived to tell about failed service offerings. But they remained agile through each shift. Having a business plan and strategy to guide an organization is of course critical, but knowing when to rewrite or redirect areas of it, takes a different and special type of finesse.


Vroom: The value in turning a big purchase, into a painless process.

 About: Built by “Car lovers inspired by innovation, efficiency and honesty”

Vroom’s mission is simple: we want to make buying a car as easy as ordering a pizza. By offering no-haggle pricing, an end-to-end online purchase experience, and free nationwide delivery, we’re well on our way. Quality, communication, and exceeding our customers’ wildest expectations mean the world to us.

Why they are changing the game: We live in a digital era with more industries jumping aboard the online shopping train, and Vroom just revolutionized the car-buying experience by making it simple and easy. On the site or on a smartphone, the car shopping experience is as easy as ordering a pair of shoes: Find the car, add to cart, and get it delivered to your front door for free. Vroom offers delivery anywhere in the lower 48 states, and the best part is the whole interaction is haggle-free.


Windly The value in knowing time is money.

About: Windly is for smart Buyer Agents who believe in leveraging technology to scale and grow their business. Submit offers in a fraction of the time on-the-go increasing your ability to win deals.

Why they are changing the game: “Made by a Realtor for Realtors. We built this to scratch our own itch.”

There has been a shift in the real estate arena in recent years as the rise of big tech companies sweep the industry. Windly co-founder and CEO David Silva saw an opportunity to use technology in assisting the process agents go through on a daily basis to get deals done. Using his background as a Texas broker and user-experience minded approach gained during his time at Apple, Inc, Silva wanted to create something that bridged the gap between time, and money. Based in Austin where the market is one of the hottest in the country, Windly saw real potential to make agents’ lives much easier. The innovative service empowers and frees the agent from the shackles of sitting behind a desk to submit an offer and close the deal.  


When you match the right driver of change to the business plan and backing, magic happens. See here first-hand what happens when you successfully put a human face to this transformation. Webber Kerr worked with a leader in healthcare innovation to change the game.