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January 30, 2008

University Enterprise Laboratories (UEL)

A possible place for 4008 projects


January 29, 2008

The Economist China website

Good summary info for presentation preparation:


another China book

Managing the Dragon (Crown; $27.50), Jack Perkowski's story of his almost 13 years running Asimco, an automotive components maker, in China is therefore a rare treat—a first-hand account of the struggle to build a business there. Tim Clissold, Mr Perkowski's former colleague, has already described how Asimco's Chinese partners cheated it out of millions, in his riveting 2004 book, “Mr China?. But Mr Perkowski hung on, and his wise and ultimately optimistic account should be required reading for anyone starting a business in China. Mr Perkowski is sensible on every issue—from the need to nurture (and listen to) local managers to the relative importance of local over central government relations. Most of all, foreigners must not shun the impossibly cut-throat local market because the price paid for a product in China today will be its price globally tomorrow. (from the Economist)

Mars Pushes Caffeinated Snickers via College Sampling

Interesting incremental innovation. Likely to be successful?


January 28, 2008

Online Chinese language instruction

The Latest on Technology Deals From Dow Jones VentureWire WSJ
January 28, 2008; Page R4

Breaking the Language Barrier

"Some say the best way to learn a language is to interact with native speakers. LiveMocha Inc. is letting people do just that without having to live in a foreign country.

The company, based in Bellevue, Wash., is building an online social network for people to learn foreign languages with each other. The company's site, LiveMocha.com, carries about 160 hours of lessons that people can use to learn one of six languages. But the focus is allowing people to teach each other. Users can write on the site in a foreign language or upload an audio file of a spoken passage and have others who are native speakers assist them in correcting the submission. Users can also chat live via text, audio or video with others who want to give or receive assistance on a language. The site also allows people to create a profile and link to friends on the site.

LiveMocha, which was founded in February and launched its site in September, says it has roughly 130,000 users. It raised $5.3 million this month in Series A funding led by Maveron LLC to further the development of the site, including adding more content and different languages."

January 24, 2008

Facebook and Scrabulous case?

"Most industries do not begin on a single day, but it's easy to see Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's presentation on May 24, 2007, as the starting gun in an entrepreneurial race that some have dubbed "the Facebook Economy." Zuckerberg announced that the social networking site would open to third-party developers, transforming itself into a platform on which other businesses can operate. Eight months later, more than 14,000 applications from third-party developers are live on Facebook, including Scrabulous, an online version of the word game Scrabble. But Scrabulous, one of Facebook's biggest hits, may also become a victim of its own success. "


January 23, 2008

coffee making innovation

NYT article about new $20K and $11K coffee makers. This less expensive one, Clover, is available at Kopplin's coffee. 490 Hamlin (at Randolph) in St Paul.

January 18, 2008

Institutionalizing Innovation

2008 Christensen update


TechnoServe social entrepreneurship

From NYT article on Google.org philanthropy plan:

The second initiative, called “the missing middle,? refers to the missing middle class in Africa and South Asia and the missing middle level of financing between microcredits and hedge funds.

Microcredit funds currently provide families with three or four or five days of livelihood, Dr. Brilliant said. “No country,? he said, “has ever emerged from poverty because of microcredit. Jobs make that possible. China did it with manufacturing, India did it with outsourced call centers.?

To that end, DotOrg has awarded $3 million to TechnoServe to find worthy entrepreneurs and help them build credit records and get access to larger markets.

January 16, 2008

Think Better

Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking (Hardcover)
by Tim Hurson

Think Better demonstrates how you can start with an intractable technical problem, an unmet consumer need, or a gaping chasm in your business strategy and, by following a clearly defined, practical thinking process, arrive at a robust, innovative solution. Many companies use the Productive Thinking model to generate fresh solutions for tough business problems, and many individuals rely on it to solve pressing personal problems.

The principles you'll find in Think Better are straight-forward: separate your thinking into creative thinking and critical thinking; stay with the question; strive for the “third third? by generating lots and lots of ideas; and look for unexpected connections.

The model consists of six interlocking steps:

Step 1:What's Going On? Explore and truly understand the challenge.

Step 2: What's Success? Envision the ideal outcome and establish success criteria.

Step 3: What's the Question? Pinpoint the real problem or opportunity.

Step 4: Generate Answers List many possible solutions.

Step 5: Forge the Solution Decide which solution is best. Then make it better.

Step 6: Align Resources Create an action plan.

The Innovation Killer

Another interesting source:

The Innovation Killer: How What We Know Limits What We Can Imagine... And What Smart Companies Are Doing About It (Hardcover)
by Cynthia Barton Rabe (Author)

Made to Stick

Interesting book on successful ideas. Summary article for class would be good.


The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch

Source of multimedia content and case ideas?

"The Big Idea" is your roadmap to the American Dream. Each weeknight, Donny Deutsch, the maverick CEO who built a multi-billion dollar advertising and media business, introduces you to the men and women who have made BILLIONS with their Big Idea.

Their stories. Your Roadmap to the American Dream. The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, weeknights at 10p/1a on CNBC.



Carlson alum Steve Nielsen, business social networking site.



January 15, 2008


The consumer as the producer: involving the consumer not only makes them do the job, but also create bonds and ensures authenticity.

This will be a cornerstone in 4050.

January 14, 2008

Bébémamie yogurt co in Shanghai

Since September we have been operating from our new location at 2003 Hami Lu;
fine tuning our delivery system and continuing to spread word of the benefits of live
bacterial yogurt. Excitingly, Hami Lu will soon be the location for our new cafe:
'Bébémamie Concept'.

Carrefour in China

Nice article on how to wade into China as a big company. Sign up needed for McKinsey quarterly.



Tesla ousts more key employees

Employee turnover is a classic innovation journey scenario.

January 10, 2008

two China sources from Bob Giampietro

We talk about China all the time. In fact, I just got a book on these issues called Dragons at your door. And I've been in touch with a guy in China. He did a piece on Quality Fade in China.

January 9, 2008

globesmart- doing business in China

GlobeSmart is an online tool that provides quick and easy access on how to conduct business effectively with people from countries around the globe. Organized into more than 50 topics covering more than 40 countries, GlobeSmart can help you improve communication, collaboration, cooperation and business results within and across cultures, geographies and time zones. Access GlobeSmart by logging in to www.menttium.com.

January 8, 2008

CHINA SHAKES THE WORLD: A Titan’s Rise and Troubled Future

CHINA SHAKES THE WORLD: A Titan’s Rise and Troubled Future — and the Challenge for America, by James Kynge. (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin, $14.95.) Kynge, the former China bureau chief of The Financial Times, offers a nuanced, well-reported description of China’s rapid economic rise. He also points to China’s vulnerabilities, like pollution and corruption.

new in paperback