Innovation in scarcity: New tool from Plextek’s Innovation Unit

4As Innovation tool

Supply chains are disrupted and finance is as uncertain as it has ever been. So, if you’re trying to innovate in the face of scarcity, what can you do?  Ignite Exponential, Plextek’s Innovation Unit, has developed a new version of the innovation tool, the 4 As, which is free to download at the bottom of this article, to help in these unprecedented times.

What if we know what our customers want, and we just can’t seem to get it to them?

Over the last few weeks, businesses around the world have gone from a world of abundance to one of scarcity. Customers are either discouraged or banned outright from many stores and bars. 

Alan Cucknell, Head of Ignite Exponential gives us a background on innovation tools and why the 4 As are important right now.

“In my experience, most of the popular innovation tools share one common theme, an ‘abundance mindset’. They help us to identify what customers ‘really want’ or they find new and more valuable ways to deliver that. But ultimately, they are rooted in the assumption that if you can create a ‘better’ thing, customers will find a way to your offering. And in developed economies even during a recession, this is not an unreasonable starting point.”

“One unusual innovation tool that I’ve returned to many times in my career at just these moments is simply called, the ‘4As’. It was initially developed by Jagdish N. Shethand Shah in 2003 and popularised by C.K.Pralahd in his book “A Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” (BoP), which focusses on how to serve the 2.5 billion or so consumers living globally on less than $2 per day. The 4A’s is an alternative to the traditional 4P’s ‘marketing mix’ but described from the ‘endpoint’ of the consumer, rather than describing the ‘levers’ that marketers have available.”

The 4 As tool has been updated by Ignite Exponential to make it relevant for today’s environment.

If you want help to think about how best to use this tool or other approaches for innovating in scarcity, please contact us."

Download the 4A's Innovation tool>>>



Plextek Services Limited (Plextek) is an independent innovation design consultancy, with the capability to execute a wide range of tasks including technology assessment; concept development & innovation; technology development & demonstration; equipment design; equipment manufacture, test & supply; equipment support & maintenance.