The Renaissance Innovator

Thoughts, examples and updates on the Renaissance Innovation Method

Posts from the “Examples” Category

A Lean Startup Approach to International Development

Posted on December 16, 2014


In a recent blog post that first appeared on Harvard Business Blogging Network we discuss International Development. Trying to find solutions for the problems faced by people living at the bottom of the pyramid is frustrating and hugely expensive; experts say that three out of four development projects in Africa fail. PlayPump, a children’s carousel designed to help pump clean water in Africa is a typical example. Despite getting $16 million in funding, it failed to gain traction.

The Geolocation is Enabling Retail Business Model Innovation

Posted on November 13, 2014


As we describe in our recent Blog on INSEAD@Knowledge, in category after category, Amazon has steadily eroded the market share of traditional bricks-and-mortar retail chains, which seem to be in a state of irreversible decline. Much of the online giant’s competitive advantage is based on its access to and mastery of rich customer data.  Traditional retailers know relatively little about their customers, unless they have a loyalty card and actually buy something – and even this knowledge comes late, after a purchase is made.  They have no way to cross sell, recommend new products, or target advertising.  Unlike Amazon, they can’t tell if a potential customer visits the store or passes by it without buying anything. But all that is about to change because…

What Tim Cook is doing better than Steve Jobs

Posted on August 7, 2014


We now have a date: September 9, the day that iPhone6 is expected to be launched. While there is a still a month to go , the iPhone launch circus and its usual cast of characters are all already in town. The tech media is leaping on every bit of information that can be inferred from the Apple supply chain about the potential specs of the phone (for the record we are expecting Apple to introduce a big screen brother to the current phone and produce it in record numbers). But the business press is decidedly less excited: a bigger iPhone is hardly the category busting game changer they have been calling for. Some have even gone as far as speculating that Apple under Tim Cook has lost its creative…

Innovating the process of product innovation

Posted on June 3, 2014


The iPhone 6 is due in September. And this forthcoming event stimulated our recent blog post on Harvard Blog Network. The build-up to its launch will almost certainly follow the Steve Jobs M.O. Device specifications will remain a closely guarded secret until the launch date (unless an employee forgets his phone at a bar). There will be long lines at stores. We probably won’t be able to actually get the product for a couple of months after the launch. And, of course, users (we) will have no input into what we actually get; Steve Jobs’ dictum that “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them” is still an act of faith for Apple’s management. But is this the only way…

Car dealerships are a bad deal for customers

Posted on March 24, 2014


Last week New Jersey started enforcing a ban on direct sales by Tesla Motors of its path-breaking model S.   Tesla’s direct sales have also run into hot water in a number of other states: Ohio lawmakers are debating a ban on Tesla’s direct sales and Texas, Arizona, and Virginia are also opposed.   Proponents of a ban on direct sales claim that they are acting in the interest of customers. But is it the interests of customers they’re following or rather the bidding of the powerful car dealership lobby?

Is Facebook Paying Too Much for WhatsApp?

Posted on February 21, 2014


We could not miss the news of acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook, so we covered it in the recent post on HBR Blogging Network.  With $19 billion, Facebook could have purchased Sony or Gap or four aircraft carriers.  Instead, it bought WhatsApp, a tiny startup that so far had accumulated barely $60 million in funding, mostly from Sequoia.  This is nuts, you might say; although the world of mobile messaging is upon us, that is an awful lot of money. But think about what exactly Facebook is buying: