Why Gymboree’s China strategy is no child’s play
As China’s star continues to shine, one of the more recent beneficiaries of the country’s economic boom is the early childhood development sector.
Bringing zest to China’s hospitality market
By offering travellers chic boutique hotel amenities at budget prices, Chinese entrepreneur Wu Hai is now enjoying the fruits of his success, setting up a chain of 16 hotels in China in just three short years since 2006.
In search of blue oceans: The Starwood experience
Are companies using Blue Ocean Strategy to search for ‘uncontested market space’ and, if so, how? One group which has been exploring blue ocean thinking for the past three years is Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
However, as INSEAD Knowledge has been finding out, the company has so far been taking a step-by-step approach to implementing the concept, rather than try to realise any sort of ‘grand vision’. As Starwood Vice President Robyn Pratt puts it, it’s more a ques
Setting a new youth trend
After more than 20 years as a marketing communications consultant, Bernd Gebert, who was 50 at the time, gave up a lucrative business in 2006 to start Das macht Schule in Hamburg.
Burdened by the passivity and pessimism of the generation who would be future leaders, Gebert’s vision for Das macht Schule is to motivate young people to take charge of their lives, be proactive and become responsible, caring citizens.
Combating malaria: How an oil company is helping to tackle the problem
For Marathon Oil Corporation, its project to tackle malaria on an island off Equatorial Guinea is paying off. It reckons that for every dollar invested, the economic return is around four dollars.
Social entrepreneurship: Innovative care for the elderly
Some ten years ago, when Jean-Daniel Muller and his friend, Jean-Michel Ricard, were studying to become sports teachers both aged 23 they felt that not enough was being done to help the elderly. So, they decided to develop a series of exercises for the elderly as part of their 3-month practicum, which would eventually form the basis of an innovative scheme.
Their theory was that physical activity would improve the quality of life of those aged 75 and above, and help them lead ind
Innovative and responsible leadership: Taking a long-term perspective
How can sustainability issues become part of everyday business decisions and should business leaders, especially from family-controlled firms, be looking to take a longer term view rather than get caught up in the 'obsession' with quarterly results?
Islamic microfinance gains popularity in war-torn Afghanistan
After spending several years in Iran as a refugee struggling to make a living, Shooperi Sharif never imagined that one day she would have a business of her very own. Last year, the 34-year old mother of three took out an Islamic microfinance loan to expand her business -- it was an Islamic loan as she's one of thousands of Afghans who refuse to take interest-bearing loans.
Corporate responsibility: Are companies responding to social demands?
Only one manager in about six is likely to view her company as a global corporate citizen with a responsibility to help solve social problems, as opposed to one stakeholder in three. This is one of the key findings of RESPONSE: Understanding and Responding to Social Demands on Corporate Responsibility, a study created and funded by the European Commission to study the gap in perceptions of social responsibility among companies and stakeholders.
Alignment is important because "only when
Douglas Dixon, Manifest Technology: The Joys and Ploys of Little Toys
Lunch 'n Learn presentation: Gadget nirvana -- or device hell? Doug Dixon explores this messy world of consumer electronics, looking at developing trends, new technologies, and colliding markets: - Connected home: Purchased content is becoming less encumbered, with DRM-free MP3 downloads and managed transfers within the connected home. But do you really want TV on your PC, or PC features on your TV? And who will control the box that bridges the two worlds, the cable company or Apple TV? - Digi
A new sustainability playing field
Sustainability as a concept has changed enormously, according to Brendan May, founder of the Robertsbridge Group. There is no longer any escape from our collective environmental challenge-no sector or company, large or small, is immune.
Just what kind of business is there in sustainability?
Whether in energy, healthcare or micro-investing, is there a real business model in sustaining the world’s resources and improving the quality of life for its inhabitants? INSEAD Knowledge attended the IESE Net Impact Doing Good and Doing Well conference in Barcelona recently, and found evidence that many companies and individuals are finding there are business models, if you are prepared to think creatively and be just a bit audacious.
Innovation booming in emerging markets despite obstacles
Traditional measures of innovation usually focus on science and technology, for example on patents produced, scientific papers published and PhD graduates in science and engineering. While the role of science and technology in driving innovation continues to be important, we are witnessing a new type of innovation in Latin America and other emerging markets, i.e. innovations that are more horizontal and more context dependent.
Economic downturn ‘opens doors’ for recycling business Worn Again
One of the greatest challenges facing social business Worn Again is the widely-held public assumption that any product made from recycled materials must be cheaper than conventional merchandise on the market.
Microfinance comes of age
"Microfinance is banking, and banking is our core competence, so it makes sense for us to be active in this area,” says Arthur Vayloyan, Head of Investment Services and Products, Private Banking, at Credit Suisse in Zurich.
Coordination among corporate donors helps provide faster, more efficient humanitarian aid
Like individuals, companies mobilise their resources to contribute to large-scale emergencies as quickly as they can. Corporate donations may be in the form of cash, goods and services in-kind like technical expertise or capacity. Many companies will work through their local staff and offices to provide support to international aid teams. This type of local support can be very valuable for aid workers facing a long list of bottlenecks when arriving in a new country to deliver assistance. Having
Ayala: Taking care of the bottom line while seeking a social impact
“Businesses cannot simply operate in societies that are plagued with extreme poverty and where the environment is severely degraded. It is important for businesses to build in solutions to these challenges in their business strategies for their long-term viability and survival.” That’s according to Fernando Zobel de Ayala, who is President and Chief Operating Officer of Ayala Corporation, and concurrently Chairman of Ayala Land, the largest real estate company in the Philippines.
Shedding light: INSEAD initiatives seek to foster growth, development in Africa
Listen to INSEAD faculty, alumni and associates talk, and you realise that Africa is no longer just a story of disease, poverty, misery and humanitarian aid. Or of China’s hunger for raw materials and energy, while the Japanese and Koreans buy land in Africa to grow their own food. Today, Africa is also a story of investment and growth on a global scale.
A helping hand for families trying to escape the poverty trap in India
Kancheepuram, some 80 kilometres south-west of Chennai, is well known for its 500-year-old heavyweight silk sari tradition. But chances were that its ornate, intricate pieces were woven by children between the age of five and 13, working 12 to 16 hours a day and bonded to a master weaver until their parents’ debt was paid in full.
The Economic Growth Engine: How Energy and Work Drive Material Prosperity
The authors of this unique book explore the fundamental relationship between thermodynamics (physical work)
and economics. They take a realistic approach to explaining the relationship between technological progress,
thermodynamic efficiency and economic growth, the findings of which conclude with a fundamental explanation of
endogenous growth that is both quantifiable and consistent with the laws of thermodynamics. A major implication of
this is that future economic growth is no