4 Things We Can Learn From The Most Innovative Town In Canada

By now, you’re probably used to hearing about businesses innovating and adapting to better serve their customers. 

But we’ll bet you haven’t heard one quite like this.

David Gardner—Transit Specialist at the Town of Okotoks—and his transit team were faced with the same problems created by social distancing as many businesses: they had to serve their customers and needed to do so safely—and according to protocols. 

David’s team was able to efficiently scale down its transit system by leveraging their existing technology and data, but that wasn’t all. They recognized another opportunity to support their community in another way: grocery delivery. 

Though a town’s transit system isn’t a traditional business, there is a lot we can learn from David and his team’s innovative mindset and how they leveraged different resources to best support their community. 

  1. Leverage technology. Okotoks Transit already relied heavily on technology to operate their transit services, but it became even more valuable when they were able to shift their business overnight. What technology can you leverage in your business to better serve your customers? Pivoting from face-to-face to virtual, automating routine processes, and investing in a digital platform to run the back or front-end of your business are just a few examples.
  2. Use your data. David’s team collects a lot of data, but they only focus on the important data points. This helps them make better operational decisions and helped them shift from moving people to moving groceries. How are you using the data within your business to make strategic decisions about your customers, their needs, and the opportunities ahead of you? 
  3. Listen to your customers. David’s team listened and determined the need for grocery delivery. What are your customers telling you—with their words and actions? Be proactive: reach out to your customers, ask questions, and—most importantly—listen. 
  4. Don’t fear big ideas. Big ideas are typically unorthodox and go against the grain, but where would we be without them? Don’t be afraid to ask, “What if?” Few would have imagined a city’s transit service delivering groceries, but what if they could? The systems were already in place to make the switch from moving people to groceries happen—and within a matter of days, the technology enabled them to do just that.

Okotoks Transit leveraged all of the above to support their community when it needed them the most. To learn more about how Okotoks—the most innovative town in Canada—is investing in technology, leveraging data, and innovating every day, click below to listen to David’s complete interview on the podcast with Clearbridge founder & CEO, Ryan Kononoff.

For more interviews with entrepreneurs and business owners that are learning, adapting and even thriving during COVID-19, check out Entrepreneurs Vs Coronavirus, a podcast brought to you by Clearbridge. 

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