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79 case studies

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published: 02 May 2019

  • Topic: Economics & Finance
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case covers events leading to the hostile bid for AkzoNobel by PPG in 2017, the market response that it prompted, and AkzoNobel’s takeover defenses including the divestment of a business area and large cash payout. Various scenarios (as a standalone, after divestiture and after a takeover with synergies) are considered for the valuation of AkzoNobel, as is the rationale behind the various takeover bids by PPG. The role of activists in triggering the takeover process is highlighted. Alternative payout mechanisms (capital repayment, dividend payment, share buyback) are discussed.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Students learn how to value companies under different scenarios (as a standalone, after a divestiture and after a takeover with synergies) and to interpret market responses to various corporate actions. The case illustrates various takeover defenses, the role of activists, and the dilemma of making a hostile bid in countries where “maximizing stakeholder value” is the cornerstone of governance. It provides the opportunity to discuss different payout mechanisms: dividends vs share buyback, and the less common “capital repayment”.

Keywords:
Takeovers, Hostile Bids, Takeover Defenses, Company Valuation, Activists, Payout Policy, Stakeholder Value Versus Shareholder Value, Akzonobel, Ppg

published: 02 May 2019

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
Digital transformations require foundations. Placing advanced technologies on top of poor organizational structures and processes is not likely to work. Digital transformation may involve long-term strategic and organizational development to create a solid foundation that can properly absorb and develop digital initiatives. The case describes the Italian insurance company Generali Italia’s digital journey, from integrating its fragmented offering to transforming the company based on three pillars: discipline, simplicity and focus.

Pedagogical Objectives:
To understand the wider work that may be required as part of digital transformation.

Keywords:
Organizational Change, Digital Transformation, Organization Culture, Retooling / Training, Insurance

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: 02 May 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
At the BMW Group, Gregor Gimmy, a serial entrepreneur and former consultant, introduces the Venture Client (VCL) model to engage with start-ups and boost corporate innovation. The case discusses its initial success at BMW and the rationale that drove Gimmy to establish a new model of external corporate venturing (ECV). It also provides background information on the key forces shaping the auto industry today, the challenges faced by legacy automakers as technological developments accelerate, and the emergence of new rules and new players.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case can be used for many different audiences and contexts including MBA, executive MBA, undergraduate courses and executive programmes on Competitive Strategy, Innovation Strategy and Process, Digital Disruption, Digital Transformation, Customercentricity, Consumer Behaviour, Smart Ecosystems and Value Creation.

Keywords:
Competitive Strategy, Innovation Strategy, Innovation Process, Digital Disruption, Digital Transformation, Customercentricity, Consumer Behaviour, Smart Ecosystem, Value Creation, Bmw, Automanufacturing, Corporate Venture Capital, Start-Up, External Corporate Venturing

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published: 02 May 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Nintendo languished in last place during the console wars of the early 2000s, with game industry analysts suggesting that the Kyoto-based firm exit the gaming console market altogether. Instead, Nintendo used Blue Ocean Strategy to redefine market boundaries, creating the best-selling videogame console ever, the Nintendo Wii. Targeting noncustomers, the Wii outsold Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox combined, until the market was disrupted by smartphones and tablets. Mobile technology targeted the same noncustomers, offering easy-to-understand games and controls, and Wii sales suffered. Nintendo initially responded by introducing a tablet-like console, the Wii U, a poor copy of the tablet experience that was a dismal failure. Stepping back, Nintendo again used Blue Ocean Strategy to “value innovate” with the Nintendo Switch, the only console to outpace the Wii in sales, and by moving into adjacent markets, working with businesses in which it held a minority stake to release the wildly popular Pokémon Go and other mobile games.

Pedagogical Objectives:
• Explore how strategy can be used to shape industry structure and market space, and the importance of linking technology to value. • Understand that businesses go through ups and downs, and that in an up-phase continually value innovating is as important as in a down-phase. • The importance of long-term growth, balancing and planning a product portfolio for the right balance between earnings and growth. This case uses Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne’s Pioneer-Migrator-Settler Map to map Nintendo’s product portfolio over time and explain its performance.

Keywords:
Nintendo, Wii, Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Go, Mobile Games, Playstation, Xbox, Market Creating Strategy, Videogame Consoles, Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Augmented Reality, Value Innovation, Disruption

published: 02 May 2019

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
WeWork has seen a decade of growth with a disruptive new service business model in a rapidly transforming industry: shared office space for start-ups (and increasingly for big companies) thanks to its understanding of workplace trends such as the ‘gig’ economy, the rise of millennials and Generation Z in the workforce, more collaborative office work and tech-enabled mobility of employees. It caters to freelancers and multinationals alike, all members of the ‘co-working’ community, as well as an ecosystem of likeminded entrepreneurs. The case allows discussion of customer-centricity in a B2B service context, and of how companies optimize – digitalize – the customer experiences by leveraging data. WeWork relies on analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to mine data from its global customer base for insights and deep learning that feed into next-gen office design and usage. Customers perform a job-to-be-done analysis using a means-end ladder to understand how WeWork creates an outstanding customer experience in a competitive, commoditized market. The case offers learning about service blueprinting and customer journey mapping when designing new services and/or improving existing ones. To deliver on its customer promise WeWork integrates the key building blocks of a superior business model, for example, alliances with strategic partners secure unique resources and distinctive competences, achieving cost-effective service excellence. Discussion culminates in future growth avenues following a corporate rebranding and reorganization into three business units under the umbrella “We” brand.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Participants can reflect upon the following: . Disruption and transformation by new business models in a B2B service industry, such as shared office space . Arrive at ‘customer centricity’ by shifting from an inside-out focus (‘We rent office space’) to an outside-in perspective (i.e. ‘Space-as-a-Service’ model) . Turn a ‘data exhaust’ from the customer base into deeper insights and understand the job-to-be-done . Craft value propositions that resonate with different customer segments . Design an outstanding customer experience vs a cookie-cutter experience? (or move “from plain vanilla to wow!”) in a market threatened by commoditization and price competition . Map the critical steps of the customer journey, visualize key customer actions and use service blueprinting to design service processes in such a way that they create a memorable customer experience . Design a service business model around the customer experience to deliver on the customer promise and implement a “service factory” . Leverage acquisitions and strategic alliances to secure unique resources and distinctive competences for better business model execution . Develop the right mindset and culture in an agile, digital world . Instill and maintain an entrepreneurial service-centric startup culture in a organization growing “at warp speed” . The pros and cons of rebranding under the “We” umbrella . What are promising growth avenues for WeWork? . What insights can be applied to customer experiences in other service industries and companies?

Keywords:
Blue Ocean Strategy (bos), Business Model Innovation, Customer Centricity, Customer Experience, Service Design, Service Innovation, Servitization, Customer Insights, Job-To-Be-Done Analysis, Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence, Cost-Effective Service Excellence, Umbrella Branding

published: 25 Apr 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
In 2013, India passed a law to make corporate social responsibility mandatory for large companies. The case examines the context in which the CSR legislation was introduced and how Tata Motors Ltd (TML) responded to it. Case (A) explores the meaning of corporate social responsibility and the question of whether a company should put community projects before profits. Case (B) examines Tata Motors’ CSR programmes in depth and provides an opportunity to consider their impact. Students are challenged to come up with their own ideas for how the philosophy of “more from less for more” can be used to address issues related to poverty and lack of education in India.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. Explore the meaning and practice of corporate social responsibility and the normative (moral) and instrumental (business case) motivations for companies to engage in it as a voluntary activity. 2. Understand why the Indian government mandated CSR (by the Companies Act 2013) and its implications for companies and their stakeholders, in response to pressing social needs. 3. Consider the impact of CSR programmes, how it can be increased, and ways it can be measured using a Social Return on Investment methodology. 4. Explore the benefits of board involvement in CSR policy-making and reporting. 5. Encourage students to come up with their own ideas about how to do “more from less for more” in India and elsewhere.

Keywords:
Corporate Social Responsibility, India, Government Regulation, Csr Mandate, Social Return on Investment, Corporate Governance, Poverty, Skills Training, Motor Industry, Board of Directors, Kpmg

Prizes won:
- Winner 2018 EFMD Case Writing Competition

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published: 25 Apr 2019

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
In 2013, India passed a law to make corporate social responsibility mandatory for large companies. The case examines the context in which the CSR legislation was introduced and how Tata Motors Ltd (TML) responded to it. Case (A) explores the meaning of corporate social responsibility and the question of whether a company should put community projects before profits. Case (B) examines Tata Motors’ CSR programmes in depth and provides an opportunity to consider their impact. Students are challenged to come up with their own ideas for how the philosophy of “more from less for more” can be used to address issues related to poverty and lack of education in India.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. Explore the meaning and practice of corporate social responsibility and the normative (moral) and instrumental (business case) motivations for companies to engage in it as a voluntary activity. 2. Understand why the Indian government mandated CSR (by the Companies Act 2013) and its implications for companies and their stakeholders, in response to pressing social needs. 3. Consider the impact of CSR programmes, how it can be increased, and ways it can be measured using a Social Return on Investment methodology. 4. Explore the benefits of board involvement in CSR policy-making and reporting. 5. Encourage students to come up with their own ideas about how to do “more from less for more” in India and elsewhere.

Keywords:
Corporate Social Responsibility, India, Government Regulation, Csr Mandate, Social Return on Investment, Corporate Governance, Poverty, Skills Training, Motor Industry, Board of Directors, Kpmg

Prizes won:
- Winner 2018 EFMD Case Writing Competition

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published: 05 Apr 2019

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This two-part case collection presents the profiles of 39 family-run firms that are 'Hénokiens', a French association whose members have survived for more than two centuries. The oldest member, a hostel in Japan named Hoshi Ryokan, has been in business for 1,300 years over 46 generations. The family business narrative is based on five analytical pillars: family assets, roadblocks, succession planning, professionalization and innovation. Instructors can take a single profile of a member firm and use it to illustrate one or more of the five themes. The cases highlight the key people and events that have marked economic history over the centuries, making for a fascinating read as well as offering an alternative business model of leadership and longevity.

Pedagogical Objectives:
i) To evaluate the role of such families in building multi-generational businesses. ii) To understand the assets that such families contribute to their firms, the various obstacles faced over the centuries and different ways that they have overcome them. iii) To learn about family succession and the dangers and opportunities presented by an ever-growing number of family members. iv) Why family firms bring in professionals to run them. v) The role of innovative leaders and entrepreneurs in family businesses.

Keywords:
Hénokiens, Family Business, Family Assets, Family Roadblocks, Family Succession, Family Innovation, Multigeneration, Next Generation, Strategy and General Management

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published: 25 Mar 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case illustrates how Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, used a social networking based tool (blueKiwi) to replace email in its internal communications. The key to its successful deployment was the creation of professional communities (analogous to groups in Facebook) around specific issues. While the company was not able to rid itself of email completely, it did achieve increased efficiency in internal information sharing.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case illustrates key concepts from “The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of your Customers and Employees” by Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald. For social-media-based tools to be successfully deployed, firms should: • Define how the community collaboration experience should function, with a clear statement of purpose as a starting point. • Develop a “tipping point” plan, i.e. a strategy to spread awareness; aim for “viral expansion” (voluntary participation rather than top-down) to reach a sustainable community that should be guided and monitored, but not too closely. • Develop a suitable environment in which the community can congregate and collaborate (social media software, appropriate user experience, etc). Case (A) looks at problems associated with email as a communications medium and describes how blueKiwi, a social media type platform, allows people to communicate within communities around specific issues. Case (B) describes the outcomes, including measures used by Atos to evaluate the health of communities. BlueKiwi did allow the company to become more agile and built the foundation for work based on self-organizing teams.

Keywords:
Organizational Change, Social Media, Social Media Communities, Information Technology Company, Consulting, Agility

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