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Entrepreneurship

Teaching old firms new tricks

Those who follow the business news often come across stories on how firms are going to start doing new things in order to improve customer service, strategic position, profitability, or some other reason. Maybe it is a merchant bank that wants to add investment banking or private banking services, a ferry operator that wants to add cruise tours, or a music distributor that wants to add an airline. How hard can it be? Notable successes notwithstanding, the firms often end up proving the same point as the “Top Gear” program hosts do when they try to answer the question; How hard can it be? It can be really hard.

Entrepreneurship

Is there such thing as fair price?

Among Renaissance Innovations that dramatically changed airline industries around the world is dynamic pricing.

Entrepreneurship

Innovation Networks: a la Google or a la Apple?

Andrew Shipilov

A recent article in International Herald Tribune entitled “Yin and Yang of corporate creativity” describes two approaches to innovation, one of Apple and another of Google. The Google approach is a bottom up, open innovation which is based on rapid experimentation and receiving quick customer feedback. The Apple model is more top down model where the company achieves close to perfect integration of different elements in the product and then pushes it down to customers (remember a now famous comment from Jobs: it’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want).

Entrepreneurship

Carnival’s Shipwreck

It is now two weeks since the cruise ship Costa Concordia hit a reef less than 100 meters from Giglio. The evacuation that followed was characterized by delays and incorrect information given to the Coast Guard and to passengers. Most notoriously Captain Schettino abandoned ship before the completion of the evacuation and did not follow a Coast Guard order to re-board it. The evacuation turned deadly, with fatalities thought to exceed 30.

Entrepreneurship

The Renaissance Innovator joins the INSEAD bloggers network!

From today, our blog,The Renaissance Innovator, is part of the official INSEAD bloggers network. So if you arrived here through the INSEAD blog, Welcome to our blog and read on for what this blog is about. For our loyal regular readers, nothing changes, you can read our blog posts exactly as you did before, and we’d also recommend checking out some of the other excellent posts on the INSEAD blog.

Entrepreneurship

South by Southeast

During the INSEAD Leadership Summit Middle East on 22 January, my colleague, Antonio Fatas, Portuguese Council Chaired Professor of European Studies and Professor of Economics at INSEAD, presented a map of the world with a red dot representing the center of gravity of world economic activity.

Entrepreneurship

How to benefit from closed networks?

Andrew Shipilov

Let’s continue reviewing basic topics in inter-personal networking. We learned that an individual with open inter-personal network is a person whose friends don’t know each other. This individual is considered to be a broker, because he or she can combine information and knowledge from some of his/her network contacts and create something new and innovative. We also know that some people are simply hardwired in their brains to become brokers, because they are more manipulative with their network contacts than the others (see the previous post on self-monitoring).

Entrepreneurship

Kodak versus Fujifilm

The news about Kodak’s entry into Chapter 11 was paired with a Wall Street Journal story on how Fujifilm faced the same threat of digital photography, but were able to successfully adapt to the new challenges. To me, Kodak’s descent into bankruptcy is almost unimaginable, because I remember how dominant it was in film sales. I worked some summers in a photo store selling film and cameras. At the time, Kodak films were the most expensive, followed by Fuji and then Agfa.

Entrepreneurship

Start-up Sutra

I have been researching, teaching and advising entrepreneurs in Asia for the last decade, perched on INSEAD’s Singapore campus. My intention in starting this blog was to write on a semi-regular basis about entrepreneurship in emerging Asia. Unlike the Kama Sutra for example, Start-up Sutra is not necessarily a ‘how to’ manual. Rather, I hope to inspire as well as inform. The ideas, issues, best-practices and dilemmas I will discuss would stem from both context-independent academic research as well as more Asia specific challenges in building new ventures.

Entrepreneurship

The imitator’s dilemma

I have enjoyed the book “The Innovator’s DNA” by my INSEAD colleague Hal Gregersen with Jeff Dyer and Clayton M. Christensen. It made me recall the earlier book “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, and realize that part of my own research has been on a complementary issue. These books document the difficulties in maintaining and directing innovation efforts, and one possible response to them would be to say: Why bother innovating if I can wait for others to innovate and focus on being the best at implementing the innovation?

Entrepreneurship

John Deere in Spain

Courage, adaptability, and the ability to anticipate brought John Deere’s Spanish tractor manufacturing operations from the brink of oblivion to the pinnacle of success, and an award for industrial excellence. The CEO tells INSEAD Knowledge how he did it.

Entrepreneurship

Who is more likely to become a broker [in a network]?

Andrew Shipilov

Some blog posts ago we started talking about individuals who occupy brokerage positions in open networks, a.k.a. brokers. These are the people whose network contacts are not connected to each other. We also learned that brokers were more likely to generate good ideas, be promoted faster and get better salary raises. But who is likely to be a broker?

Entrepreneurship

Changing the Way People Give…

The world is full of problems– poverty, malnutrition, medical access, climate change, natural disasters, etc. It is also full of many tenacious do-gooders with solutions, and thankfully many generous souls who would like to financially support these do-gooders. Unfortunately, the “marketplace” that matches the do-gooders with solutions is what economists would call very inefficient, that is many matches that are in the interest of everyone involved are not made.

Entrepreneurship

Networks and Job Search

Andrew Shipilov

The never-ending financial crisis has sadly cost many people their jobs. It is well-known that networking can help people find jobs, but what is the most effective way of networking?

Entrepreneurship

To focus or not to focus (on patients, that is)?

As I am preparing for a teaching session in a couple of weeks in Moscow, I realized that we had not written about one of the older but even more relevant today innovation. Some months back I blogged about a very cool startup Diapers.com which was founded by my former students in 2005 and which was recently acquired by Amazon.com.