Corporate Innovation: San Francisco
Welcome to the November edition of our Corporate Innovation newsletter.
Each month we choose a major destination around the world and highlight the ways in which it is leading through innovation.
At A2D we are driven by innovation and the desire to facilitate incredible experiences for our corporate clients. That's why we created our International Corporate Experiences Program. With innovation at its core, our unique program connects our client companies with other leading organisations around the world, facilitating the opportunity for unmatched learning and idea generation as well as tours of offices and facilities.
A2D Travel takes care of all the finer details including hotel and flight bookings, restaurant reservations and social activities, ensuring our program attendees have an absolutely incredible experience.
If you would like to learn more about this inspirational program and explore how it could benefit your own company's growth, please get in touch so we can arrange a meeting.
I hope you enjoy this month's article on San Francisco.
Founder & CEO
A2D Travel & Concierge
San Francisco (or Silicon Valley as it's more commonly known) is many things - stunning, charismatic, compassionate, and multicultural. It's a city that manages to be both classic and counterculture. It's the city that birthed the Summer of Love 50 years ago and spearheads tech revolutions today. It's the mothership of innovation!
Silicon Valley serves as a global centre for high technology, innovation and social media. It accounts for one-third of all of the venture capital investment in the United States and is the home to many of the world's largest high-tech corporations including the headquarters of 39 businesses in the Fortune 1000, and thousands of startup companies.
One glance at the list of large or well-known companies with headquarters or major operations in San Francisco and the surrounding area is enough to confirm that this is where it's at! Adobe, Apple, eBay, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Visa, Salesforce, Oracle and Wells Fargo are just a handful of global companies based there.
So, what are the types of innovation happening within the bay area and what makes it such a perfect destination for an A2D International Corporate Experiences Program?
It was generally expected that e-commerce would herald the extinction for brick-and-mortar establishments, even more so when Amazon came onto the scene and started to flex its muscles. However, retailers in San Francisco are fighting back through innovation, using the abundance of homegrown technologies to allure customers through their doors. From robots and virtual reality to digital mirrors and beacons, the region has become ground zero for testing software designed to make shopping quicker and easier — or simply more fun.
One company that brilliantly exemplifies this approach is Creator, a burger joint where all the hamburgers are made-to-order, start-to-finish, by a robot. The concept took eight years of consultation by everyone from NASA engineers to Bar Tartine and Duna's Nick Balla to create the engineering marvel, but it was so worth it. During its soft-launch in the summer the demand was so high that a ticketing system and wait list were put into place.
Perhaps the most exciting innovation story to come out of San Francisco most recently is that of Zume Pizza. Located south of San Francisco in Mountain View, the company uses robotic chefs to prepare pizzas in its kitchen and then load them into trucks that are specially equipped with Welbilt ovens that finish baking them en route to customers, who order through an app. Pizzas and technology don't come any fresher than this!
When it comes to Innovation, Amazon is also pioneering new retail experiences. It was recently reported that the e-commerce Goliath is rumoured to soon be opening one of its innovative Amazon Go stores in San Francisco's Financial District. Amazon Go sells prepared food and groceries — no checkout required, as shoppers use an app to enter the store. Cameras and other sensors monitor the items shoppers take, which are charged to their Amazon account. The San Francisco store is the latest addition to company's five existing Go stores in the Seattle and Chicago areas.
The term refers to physical stores serving as little more than showrooms for people who want to see the merchandise in person but ultimately intend to buy it somewhere else. Once portrayed as "the number one threat” to brick-and-mortar retail, showrooming has recently done a complete 180 and San Francisco is leading the charge.
Last year, Target, the second-largest department store retailer in the US unveiled Open House beneath its Metreon store in San Francisco to educate consumers about how the internet can link together disparate household devices. And more recently, AT&T opened a 23,000-square-foot space designed to demonstrate the latest in media technology.
Nowadays, companies proudly show off their showrooms, seeing them as a way to educate consumers and better connect them to their brands. As Allie Borg, vice president and general manager of retail sales and services for AT&T says, “What you should feel when you walk in here is a celebration of our history as an innovator.”
Restaurants as Co-working Spaces
Another innovation story that came out of New York but is being feverishly adopted by San Francisco, comes courtesy of the startup Spacious. Founded by Preston Pesek, it is a subscription-based membership model that allows remote workers to utilise restaurant space by day. For restaurants operating on razor-thin margins and that have the extra space, it's a win-win concept. There are currently five San Francisco restaurants that have partnered with Spacious, with more in the pipeline.
Finally, innovation in the property sector has been realised by San Francisco-based design darling Yves Béhar. He has launched LivingHomes YB1, a customisable prefab designed to alleviate California’s housing crisis. Teaming up with Plant Prefab (Amazon is among its backers) it’s a collection of smallish, easy-to-erect dwellings that can be put up in gardens or other under-utilised areas in crammed Californian cities. Prices start around $280,000 (€245,000).
It's clear to see that what makes San Francisco a world leader when it comes to innovation. Home to countless global corporations, spearheading research and development and a melting pot of multiculturalism.
If you think your company and executives could benefit from connecting with these global innovators and experiencing these emerging technologies and retail spaces first-hand, please get in touch by clicking on the orange button below the sample itinerary.
International Corporate Experiences Program
Fly with SAS from Oslo to San Francisco
10:00 - 11:10
OSL (Oslo Gardermoen) - CPH (Copenhagen)
12:25 - 14:45
CPH (Copenhagen) - SFO (San Francisco International)
Duration: 13h 45m
17:30 - 13:20 + 1
SFO (San Francisco International) - CPH (Copenhagen)
14:20 - 15:30
CPH (Copenhagen) - OSL (Oslo Gardermoen)
Stat at the newly opened Virgin Hotel, San Francisco (pictured)
Tailored to your company’s objectives but could include conference attendance, keynote speakers, tours of offices and facilities, brainstorming sessions with industry leaders.
Dine at Foreign Cinema - one of the city's best restaurants and settings
Cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge - touristy, but essential
Hike the world's best-looking army base
Escape to Alcatraz (literally) and experience an excellent audio tour
Watch an NFL game - Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers
In Concert between Dec '18 and March '19:
Elvis Costello & The Imposters