The Renaissance Innovator

Thoughts, examples and updates on the Renaissance Innovation Method

Posts tagged “Examples

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:

Why Large Companies Struggle With Business Model Innovation

Posted on September 28, 2013


After a brief summer hiatus, we are bmarkerBulback and blogging!  As we describe in the recent blog post on HBR Network, innovation success stories are all strikingly similar: a bright idea, supported by a zealot-innovator who sees it through. The windfall of goodies follows.  But failures happen for all sorts of reasons, and they often occur even when the idea is sound.

Outclassing Sourcing Champions

Posted on May 28, 2012


With  increasing  specialization,  technological complexity, and globalization, firms now buy a long list of products and services from many outside providers. In industries like automobiles, consumer electronics and retail, reliably sourcing a multitude of products from supply chain partners is the key to success. Li and Fung limited, one of the worlds fastest growing companies,  is fundamentally altering this  sourcing landscape and is simultaneously changing the game in these industries which rely deeply on sourcing. It is a company which owns no production, transportation or retail facilities, but by becoming the key link in  the sourcing  practices of some of the worlds best known companies like Gap, Benetton  and Walmart, has found a novel winning formula. So how has this firm created a multi-billion dollar business…

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…

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 Henry Ford of Cardiac Surgery

Posted on February 15, 2012


Cardiac surgery is a sophisticated, dangerous and delicate procedure; but an Indian surgeon and his hospital group have successfully transformed  it into a factory style mass operation, bringing high quality care to the many millions who could never before afford it. Dr. Devi Shetty’s  Bangalore based flagship, 1,000-bed Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital,  charges $2,000, on average, for open-heart surgery, compared with hospitals in the U.S. that are paid between $20,000 and $100,000, depending on the complexity of the surgery. Narayana Hrudayalaya reports a 1.4% mortality rate within 30 days of coronary artery bypass graft surgery, one of the most common procedures, compared with an average of 1.9% in the U.S. in 2008, according to data gathered by the Chicago-based Society of Thoracic Surgeons. This despite the fact…

Is there such thing as fair price?

Posted on January 31, 2012


  Among Renaissance Innovations that dramatically changed airline industries around the world is dynamic pricing.  Now we take for granted that a person sitting next to you on the plane might have paid a fraction of what you paid.  However, it was not always this way.  Only about 30 years ago, for instance, US airline industry was heavily regulated with almost no price fluctuations.  But then the industry was deregulated and the airlines became free to set any prices they like. Like it was the case with some other innovations, dynamic pricing was born out of necessity: major legacy airlines were under intense pressure to compete with low-cost carriers which were undercutting them on prices. However, the casualty of that battle was not the…