Innovation in business models is often more important than innovation in materials and products. After all, the key to disruptive innovation typically is the business model in which a product or service is deployed, rather than in the physical product itself. So it pays to keep your eyes open to clever new business models to understand what can be done and what might be applied to other areas.
As an example of an innovative business model, take a look at the services provides by AxisPointe, a company based in Utah's innovation corridor (a rising entrepreneurial region extending from Salt Lake City to Utah County in the south). AxisPointe's HomeBuilder Suite helps home builders and contractors by simplifying many of the post-construction service and support issues they face, including walkthroughs, inspections, troubleshooting, repairs, maintenance, etc. A central source is provided that brings together various providers, manages interactions, documents calls and responses, and makes life simpler for both the homeowner and the builder. A nice combination of software tools, support personnel, and contractural arrangements bring it together into a business model that offers convenience, ease of use, and cost savings. Could be a huge competitive advantage for those who use it.
If you've had experience with AxisPointe's services, I'd love to hear from you. Would like to see how this fares in this difficult economic time for the housing market.