As a startup ourselves, we Sprocketeers like to keep our fingers on the pulse of what’s going on in the startup community. Recently I attended one of our local startup showcases – Beta.MN. It’s an awesome community, and if you happen to be around/near Minneapolis, I suggest you check out their next event.

There were some pretty interesting concepts at this one.

Take ByME for example. It lets small businesses accept mobile payments and skip the line to get their goods. It’s essentially like the Starbucks app for every SMB.

And then there is Basin Commerce, which hails itself as the “Uber for barges“. You heard that right…for barges. Whodda thunk that a marketplace for bulk commodities was a solution to a big existing problem. Well, it is.

But the startup that really caught my eye because of the innovation story was Basketful. Basketful allows food content publishers to turn content into commerce. Say you have a lifestyle website and that you create “food content” (let’s say wonderful summer recipes to serve at your next BBQ). Typically the customer experience is fragmented because people would view your content, get all hungry, and then find out that they’re ill-equipped to make the dish because they’re missing some ingredients.

That’s the beauty of Basketful.

They’ve thought through what the entire customer journey looks like. When the objective is to “feed my family some good summer food”, there is usually a step in the journey you could call “inspiration”. That’s when we all go out scouring the internet for cool recipes we haven’t tried before. The next phases go something like “prepare” and then “make the tasty stuff!”. Typically content publishers have been relegated only to the “inspiration” phase…with Basketful, now they can help the customer go much further in their journey. It’s great for customers because it’s one less step they need to take (at least with another provider). They can simply check out the recipe and click a button to have the ingredients lead them to a shopping cart experience with major grocers like Walmart and Kroger.

And that’s the punchline.

Innovation is natural when you see the world through your customer’s journey and understand all the steps they need to take to accomplish their objective. Asking the simple question of “what other steps could we help customers more easily accomplish in their journey?” is a powerful step toward bringing new innovation to market.

Give it a try.

And if you want some help, give us a shout.