This video on the creative thinking-based strategy TESCO employed to penetrate the South Korean grocery market was shared on Google+ recently by James Fraser. With TESCO using an alternative name, Homeplus, it was able to become the number two player in the South Korean grocery market even though it suffered a deficit in the number of retail locations.

If you jump to framing the business objective as "we have to get more stores," the answer is easy, self-evident, and all too routine: build or acquire more stores.

Instead, the grocery chain remained focused on the real business objective (grow sales) and based on consumer insights (South Koreans are incredibly busy and the in-store grocery experience is a nightmare), Homeplus used (or approximated the results of) creative thinking exercises to look at the opportunity in reverse: take the in store buying experience to where shoppers already are with a virtual subway store!

Homeplus created the virtual subway store with displays identical to those in actual stores, QR codes for online ordering by phone, and home delivery. Putting the virtual stores where potential grocery shoppers already are in subways increases personal productivity and maximizes their free time. The virtual store campaign led to online sales gains highlighted in the video.

All this success by sticking to the fundamental business objective, but re-framing the business issue in a very different way.

That's creative thinking for business success at its best! - Mike Brown

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