The Renaissance Innovator

Thoughts, examples and updates on the Renaissance Innovation Method

Posts from the “Process” Category

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…

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…

Changing the Way People Give…

Posted on January 9, 2012


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. GlobalGiving, GiveIndia and a new breed of startup donation platforms are attacking these inefficiencies with a new business model for charitable giving and forever changing the way people give. More  interestingly, how can we apply some of the renaissance innovation techniques that we talk about on this blog to take giving to the next level? Read…

Operational Analysis for Business Model Diagnosis…

Posted on December 17, 2011


I spent the better part of the last 6 weeks in the classroom with our incredibly talented MBA participants here at INSEAD. I was assigned to teach a class on  operations management, but we took a slightly different take on the subject, a renaissance innovation take. A traditional MBA class on operations builds basic tools of  process analysis, inventory  and supply chain management in the context of managing a firm’s sourcing, production and distribution. In our newly developed operations class at INSEAD, we take the same basic analytical principles but we learn and  apply them in an entirely different context– to help us analyze, diagnose and reinvent the business models of firms. In our work with numerous companies on helping them innovate their business model, we have come…

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 and startups

Posted on November 20, 2011


In this blog we discussed Renaissance Innovations of many companies, small and big, old and new.  Some of the startups we have already covered are Diapers.com, Objective Logistics, Amazon.com and many others. I hope that our blog makes it quite clear that the ideas of Renaissance Innovation method apply equally to startups and established companies.  However, in this post I wanted to focus just on startups.  The approach that is gaining a lot of momentum and good publicity is called “The Lean Startup“, most recently the new book debuted as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. On the surface, this sounds like doing something on the cheap. These who know something about operations management will also recognize that “lean” is synonymous with…

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.

Learning the Process of Renaissance Innovation

Posted on July 27, 2011


On this blog, we often share examples of firms that have successfully innovated their business model. While most find these examples inspiring, we  often get asked if there is a toolkit or a step-by-step way for firms to innovate themselves along these lines. In our executive teaching, managers routinely want to take “home” a toolkit so that they could transform their companies in the same way as Rolls-Royce did. Our MBA students, often ask us for techniques so that they could become Renaissance Entrepreneurs, a la Michael Dell or Amancio Ortega. This is exactly what we have been working on in our research– the renaissance innovation method.