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Case Studies by James Costantini

16 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 02 May 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
HelloZack is a young entrepreneurial firm based in Paris focused on the purchase and resale of second-hand Apple products, part of a broader ecosystem that supports ongoing use of Apple products. The case recounts its lean startup history, from its conception in late 2015 when a student group identified an unmet need – to allow people who purchase items online to resell them in a quick and uncomplicated way – through to a fully functioning business in mid-2018. Having built sales of €1 million, HelloZack is approaching investors to help expand the business. The case sets out the pitch to investors and the various strategic options for growing the company.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The main teaching objectives are: 1. Learn about a lean startup experiment-driven approach to entrepreneurship and understand how business models emerge over time. 2. Discuss and debate the alternative strategic ideas under consideration for HelloZack and how fast the startup should scale. 3. Analyse an investor pack and determine whether this contains all the elements necessary.

Keywords:
Apple, Saas, Lean Start-Up, Entrepreneurship, Platform, Digital, Strategy, Second-Hand, Logistics, Growth Strategy, Algorithm, France, Circular Economy, Business Model

published: 13 Feb 2019

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Abstract:
Scortex, a young start-up based in Paris, has developed an applied artificial intelligent (AI) solution for an industrial setting, combining hardware and machine learning. Its CEO is wondering how best to deploy the €1.8 million C-round financing it has raised. While the market is potentially huge, he is aware that IBM – with which he has collaborated in the past – has just launched a direct competitive offering.

Pedagogical Objectives:
. Assess how Scortex could position its offering and best approach the market, while developing sources of competitive advantage
. Decide how best to deploy the €1.8 million C-round financing that Scortex has raised

Keywords:
Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Start-Up, Entrepreneurship, Deep Learning, Cloud Computing, Automation, Industrial Applications, Hardware, Machine Vision, Algorithm, Strategy, Quality Control

published: 28 May 2018

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Abstract:
PopChef is a start-up foodtech business in the lunchtime food delivery market in Paris. The case centres on the period from launch in 2015 to 2017. PopChef is the first to enter the market with a new business model in France. As other well-funded domestic and international entrants arrive, the market becomes highly competitive market. PopChef aims to counter this by shifting from a technology-based company to a virtual food company. Will this be enough to ensure its survival?

Pedagogical Objectives:
The teaching objectives relate to the firm’s strategic direction. The first is to compare and contrast diverse business models – including platforms and vertically integrated virtual restaurants. The second is to address how new players stimulate demand and develop the market, yet also intensify the competitive pressure. The third is to trace PopChef’s development over time as it adapts to changing conditions and seeks new sources of competitive advantage. PopChef’s changing fortunes provide an engaging context in which to address these issues.

Keywords:
Foodtech, Food Delivery, Start-Up, Marketing, Platform, Digital, User Experience, Distribution, Strategy, New Market Model, Algorithm, Culture, Virtual Restaurant

published: 30 Oct 2017

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Human resources
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
Bird Office is a start-up, launched in Paris, with a digital platform for rental of temporary office space and meeting rooms. The case traces Bird Office from its entrepreneurial beginnings to a fully-fledged business with innovative initiatives designed to achieve competitive advantage as the number of local and international competitors and other players soars.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case focuses on the challenge of achieving competitive advantage in a start-up context as the business develops. A key strategic issue relates to choice of scale and/or scope expansion, and the implications for adapting the business model, as well as how this addresses diverse types of competitors and potential competitors.

Keywords:
Start-Up, Platform, Competitive Advantage, Strategy, Entry, Competition, Scale, Scope, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Digital, Paris, France

published: 26 Jun 2017

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Abstract:
Monkey Tie, an entrepreneurial firm based in Paris, focuses on innovative digital HR solutions related to ‘affinity matching’ of people to positions. It represents a major change in the approach to recruitment, using online tools to find a ‘fit’ between the job requirements and the skills and personality of the candidate. The commercial enterprise is supported by an innovative non-profit ecosystem developed by the founders to bring together start-ups in HR, major firms and other public and private stakeholders.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The teaching objectives relate to the firm’s change in strategic direction. The first is to understand how the firm adapts to market demand while developing sources of competitive advantage. The second is to understand value creation and capture for an ecosystem – innovating to create value for stakeholders while limiting value capture by the platform.

Keywords:
Ecosystem, Human Resources, Start-Up, Entrepreneurship, Platform, Digital, Personality, Employment, Recruitment, Not-For-Profit, Algorithm, Career, Affinity Matching

published: 28 Nov 2016

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Food manufacturing
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Panasonic has established an innovative high-tech agricultural facility in Singapore to grow salads – not a farm but a factory. The case traces the key elements of this initiative, including the value proposition to customers, business model, and the broader corporate context.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case focuses on the nexus of strategy, innovation and business models: this is an example of a radically re-designed business model – specifically, how salad can be grown with a very different approach to a traditional farm. It enables readers to reflect on entry by non-traditional players – in this case a major corporation – into an established sector, to discuss how this initiative fits into Panasonic’s broader corporate context, and to compare it with other innovative approaches to farming.

Keywords:
Innovation, Business Model, Strategy, Food, Agriculture, Farm, Corporate Strategy, Technology, Vertical Farms

published: 26 Aug 2016

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Advertising Agencies
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
The case focuses on the response to the digital transformation of marketing by Publicis Groupe, a major advertising holding company. It traces over the course of a decade the rise of digital on the corporate agenda, the establishment of a specific unit, VivaKi, and its ongoing adaptation to organizational issues as well as shifting external conditions. While the main focus is on strategic issues, key leadership and organizational aspects are also discussed.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The prime objective is to learn how corporates achieve strategic agility. In response to major trends and shocks such as the digital transformation of the economy, firms must reconcile the desire to be steered in a clear strategic direction with the need to adapt to a dynamic environment, seizing opportunities and addressing threats along the way. Discussion focuses on achieving agility at the corporate level (rather than at the level of a business unit or line of business).
A second theme is how to sustain agility over an extended timeframe (roughly a decade). In this instance, the approach taken to new initiatives borrows from existing related efforts as well as bringing in novel capabilities. Agility is derived not from one or two isolated decisions but from a series of decisions that are directed as well as responsive to external conditions.

Keywords:
Strategy, Strategic Agility, Corporate Strategy, Digital Transformation, Advertising, Marketing Services, Communication Services, M&a, Capabilities

published: 16 Dec 2015

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Legal services
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
Axiom, an innovative player providing legal services to corporates, develops service lines to provide lawyers on secondment to clients and managed services to outsource part of its clients' legal activities. Axiom's growth is placed in the broader context of changing client needs and competition in the corporate legal market.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case looks at an entrant into the legal services market from a strategy and innovation perspective. One teaching approach option is to compare perspectives on Axiom’s strategy and business model based on alternative theories of innovation. An alternative approach is to focus on developing a professional services business.

Keywords:
Professional Services, Legal Services, Strategy, Innovation, Disruption, Entry, Entrepreneurial, Blue Ocean

published: 19 Dec 2014

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Facilities management
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The focus of the case is on Enterprise, a firm operating within part of the UK facilities management industry. Set in 2012, the focus is on how Enterprise should respond to changes in market conditions, including the ongoing effects of the 2008 financial crisis, and competitor strategies.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case allows for developing recommendations for a firm with declining performance, based on analysis of industry structure and dynamics and sources of competitive advantage. The information is presented primarily in exhibits to facilitate group work. The case has been used for a group exam.

Keywords:
Services, Facilities Management, Uk, Strategy, Industry, Restructuring, Crisis, European Competitiveness, Europe

published: 19 Dec 2014

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Household Audio and Video Equipment
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
The focus is on the flat-screen television industry from the early 2000s to the early 2010s. Aspects considered include consumer purchase behaviour and the role of retailers, diverse approaches taken by TV manufacturers, examples of entry and exit, and changing sourcing arrangements, which supports discussion of the industry structure and dynamics.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The focus is on industry structure and dynamics to illustrate key frameworks and enable consideration of their strengths and limitations. After an initial broad view of industry trends and the value chain, the case examines the shift in competitive forces over time, which is then contrasted with an ecosystem perspective.

Keywords:
Industry Dynamics, Rivarly, Entry, Television, Global, Value Chain, Ecosystem

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