The Renaissance Innovator

Thoughts, examples and updates on the Renaissance Innovation Method

Posts from the “Experiences” Category

Liberate Your Employees and Recharge your Business Model

Posted on March 28, 2013

As we discussed in our recent blog post on HBR Blogging Network, it finally seems that the uproar over Marissa Meyer’s diktat banning flexible work policies at Yahoo is dying down.  While good arguments were made on both sides of the issue, what got lost in the charged debate was the potential for evolving traditional business models through changing the employee-employer relationship. Our research on identifying replicable templates for business model innovation shows that innovating how a company engages with its workforce is an often overlooked way of increasing business model performance. The basic structure of the firm-employee relationship has not changed much over the last 50 years.  Relying on a forecast of organizational needs, firms select the nature and number of employees, who are…

The Darwinian Workplace in the WinnerS-take-all Organizations

Posted on May 3, 2012

The latest issue of Harvard Business Review features an article “The Darwinian Workplace” on promoting healthy competition in the workplace that I co-authored.  The key message of the article is based on several research projects with highly innovative technology companies that implemented tournaments among its workers to increase worker productivity and, at the same time, to increase firm’s profitability. Competition in high-end jobs in industries ranging from movie making to professional athletes to politics is nothing new but can the same principles be applied in industries as mundane as retail, call centers and restaurants, which usually employ minimal-wage workers, with minimal motivation and incentives to work hard?  Labor costs in these industries typically represent the largest operating expense and the number of people employed…

Generating New Business Opportunities

Posted on April 3, 2012

Over the last 2 weeks, I have been teaching a newly developed INSEAD MBA course  on Identifying New Business Opportunities (INBO).  The class is structured as a hands on  experiential workshop that combines three novel approaches to Innovation/Entrepreneurship: Business Model Innovation, Idea Tournaments and Lean Startups/Discovery Driven Planning. As regular readers of this blog know, Business Model Innovation is all about  identifying entrepreneurial opportunities via innovating the business models in existing competitive industries. Idea Tournaments is a process that leverages the wisdom of the crowd for selecting and developing amongst new business opportunities. Discovery-driven planning  philosophy prioritizes tasks to limit entrepreneurial risk. Taken together, these approaches are in contrast to the conventional serendipitous, solitary  process of innovation and it instead provides a systematic, risk-limiting pathway to realizing innovative outcomes.…

SXSW: INSEAD @ South by Southwest

Posted on March 18, 2012

The 2012 edition of the South by Southwest conference (SWSX)  wrapped up in Austin last week. Over the last years, this  has become one of hottest stops on the startup circuit, earning a reputation as the biggest breeding ground for new ideas and creative technologies– notably, both foursquare and twitter  catapulted to the big leagues after they  presented early versions at SWSX.  To coincide with all the buzz around SXSW,  I  decided to spend a better part of  this week’s sessions of Identifying New Business Opportunities, an MBA class I am currently teaching, discussing some of the hottest trends from the conference.  A small contingent from the class had attended  SXSW and they got us started by  sharing what caught their attention at the conference (Thanks Nicole, Charlotte…

The Renaissance Innovator joins the INSEAD bloggers network!

Posted on January 22, 2012

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. I often open my industry engagements on innovation with a simple thought experiment for our participants — I  ask them to think of the most innovative organizations and identify what exactly they did that made them so innovative. The answers we hear are very predictable– no matter if we pose this question to…

Retail innovations for the 21st century

Posted on December 4, 2011

A few related things happened this week which all prompted me to write about retail innovations.  First, a startup company I am advising, Objective Logistics, has received a round of funding from Google Ventures and Atlas Ventures.  I had written about what they do in this blog already and, needless to say, securing funding from these widely respected venture capital firms is exciting.  Of course, the media picked up the news and you can read details at ReadWriteWeb,  Mashable, Boston Herald, Xconomy and many others. Second, I gave a long interview to the Economist where I talked about some retail innovations out there.  Of course, what actually appeared in the journal was just one sentence so I figured I can expand upon what I…

Renaissance Innovation @ The World Knowledge Forum

Posted on October 19, 2011

Last, week I had the opportunity to speak on Renaissance Innovation at the World  Knowledge Forum, 2011 in Seoul, Korea. The event was very well attended with  many interesting speakers, from government, (Sarah Palin, Gordon Brown, Seiji Maehara), academics (Larry Summers, Nouriel Roubini) and business (Tom Albanese, Nishida Atsutoshi). For me,  there were three  interesting observations. First, how innovation has come to completely dominate the policy and business agenda. Second, how little we know about how to actually become innovative and third, how innovation translates across borders. Let me elaborate.