June 19, 2014

2014 CNBC's Disruptor 50


Rate of adoption issues for wearable tech-

Good stats for awareness -> intention-> action-> reaction from NYT

May 2, 2014

Upcycling in China-

some interesting contacts in Beijing, an old tradition becoming a new trend?

April 24, 2014

Congo Sapeurs

A lesson in clothing and culture, cooped to sell Guinness.

April 22, 2014

Bamboo Bicycle Beijing

Very cool kickstarter!

April 17, 2014

Taco Cat

Nice variation to the business model canvas, from Scaling too fast?

March 28, 2014

Twin Cities Maker

at the Hack Factory. Could be an interesting visit before going to China.

March 1, 2014

Slow watch

one 24 hour hand, promoted through the Oscar nominee swag bag

December 11, 2013

A single family plan to address poverty in Brazil

Associação Saúde Criança has an innovative approach in this NYT article.

August 8, 2013

More on Solazyme's innovation


June 23, 2013

Solazyme's innovation journey

Great article from the NYT! Big pivot from biofuel to niche oils.

April 30, 2013

Finch Designs

Nice to see a couple of eco preneurs succeeding in Shanghai! Possible site visit?

March 7, 2013

3D printed car in Minneapolis

article about RedEye On Demand, a subsidiary of Stratasys. Case? Guest speaker? Site visit?

January 22, 2013

Boeing woes

Interesting comments on 787 problems

October 17, 2012

Amyris innovation journey

as reported in Fast Company

renewable chemicals in Brazil

Higher margins than sugarcane ethanol, Amyris as partner.

July 18, 2012


It's easy to like everything about this, including the successful kickstarter campaign.

July 9, 2012

wicked problems

Nice New Yorker article, using health care reform as an example of a 'wicked problem'.

April 4, 2012

Google Project Glass

It sounds unlikely, but the video makes it seem useful. This would be a fun project to work on.

April 3, 2012

Rethinking bamboo

Chinese design perspectives from a recent Beijing conference. Some INBAR references

February 10, 2012

disruptive online news with healthy revenue for writers. See the CivicVentures connection is this article

February 1, 2012

E laCarte

Disruptive innovation for restaurants or limited tech fad?

January 24, 2012

Blue Honey Bio-Fuels

WI based org helps restaurants recycle cooking oil. Lots of partners. Interesting contrast to Brazil efforts.

December 20, 2011

A reason to be optimistic about NYC

new science and tech grad school(s). Proactive government can make a difference.

December 5, 2011

Chipotle award winning ad and Stratasys

The role of a 3D printer in an innovative ad for Chipotle.

December 4, 2011

Natura one step closer to the US

November 30, 2011

Common Threads Initiative

Patagonia has an interesting way to help customers sell their used stuff on Ebay, using the Patagonia website.

November 9, 2011

Titanium bike lock

Funded by I really want one and feel remorse for not acting sooner.

October 26, 2011

TAM Airline and jatropha based jet fuel

Big network based innovation with biofuels in Brazil. 10/25/11 NYT article on the infrastructure issues.

Concerns about Brazil ethanol industry

from NYT: "In Brazil, the question of sustainable energy is often seen as a dichotomy between petroleum and biofuel. But more and more critics question whether ethanol truly is a sustainable energy source in the long term. Few dispute that in the very short term it is a better source of fuel than petroleum, but sugar production takes up land and potentially raises the cost of food, and its production is far from carbon-neutral." Are these real issues?

October 17, 2011

Tangled web

Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of Deal
Published: October 16, 2011 NYT

September 21, 2011

freal milkshakes

Sampled these fully automated milkshake machines at truck stops across Montana. Very nice UX and use of technology.

Brazilian green polypropylene

Braskem announces green polypropylene unit to be operational 2nd half 2013. Working with Fundação Espaço Eco, consulting from DOM Strategy Partners. Also the Akatu Institute. Currently making sugarcane plastic bottles for Natura, Odwala, P&G among others.

August 10, 2011

new Medtronic Innovation Experience Center in Shanghai

"Medtronic incorporated a state-of-the art training facility into the new China headquarters building. The training facility, named The Innovation Experience Center and open to Medtronic employees and customers, features a virtual cath lab, a future surgical room and a telemedicine room, and provides a place for employees and customers to gain hands-on experience with the latest technologies."

June 14, 2011

Aoka- Brazilian ecotourism

Aoka has some interesting connections with Quilombo communities and NGOs.

June 13, 2011

sleep apps

How much is the quality of waking life related to the quality of sleep? A review of Lark.

June 10, 2011


I like the clean slate approach to the designs, renewable power manufacturing and smart transit apps. It is a start...

ESPN's 3D TV experience

Innovation hampered by infrastructure woes.

April 28, 2011

Lenovo's BOP strategy beyond China

April 18, 2011

eco friendly fabrics made from flax

Naturally Advanced Technologies

April 2, 2011

Velolet bike rental

Innovative website matching bikes with visiting cyclists.

March 9, 2011


A learning, customizable e magazine for iPads. Could be interesting

March 2, 2011

MacDonald's oatmeal

The more you know , the less you like. NYT 2/22 Bittman

March 1, 2011

More on Yike Bike

An invention trying to be a sustainable innovation. It has broken some of the Segway infrastructure constraints.

February 28, 2011

In-N-Out Burger enters Dallas

February 22, 2011

simpler Toyota plants

A blue ocean approach, since 60% of car manufacturing is plant costs. Less carbon footprint as well?

February 16, 2011

Saleforce Foundation

A decent, simple model for corporate giving/social responsibility.

February 14, 2011

ex Facebook ees

Good discussion of how Facebook's culture lives on in new startups by ex ees. Jumo organizing nonprofits?

February 11, 2011

Green Cane Project

Organic ethanol in Brazil made by Native, working with UN grant.

February 10, 2011

Pepsi Refresh 2011

How they are refining the project with social media.

February 3, 2011

leadership issues at JP Morgan

An excellent example of what happens when there is not a healthy debate among leadership.

January 31, 2011

Pepsi Refresh Project

Instead of Super Bowl ads, community grants. I wish there was more connection to Pepsi's mission, but what is their mission?

January 29, 2011

Google's dot org

What happens when they decide to spend 1% of profits on philanthropy?

November 16, 2010

Natura and sustainable sourcing in Brazil

Need access to CourseLib/ U of MN library.

Walmart Brazil and CEO Hector Nunez wins C.K. Prahalad Award

From 6/8/10, good video, including a complement from Greenpeace! An example of 'running in packs'.

November 12, 2010

Full Cycle

Great social venture, plus they use bikes.

November 8, 2010

Oakley and 3D glasses

Oakley enters the market with an opinion about the format war.

October 25, 2010

Shade grown, Brazilian cacao and Mars Inc.

Cabruca works with cooperative in Bahia. More info, partnership with Mars, more on Mars sustainable chocolate, new product

October 17, 2010

Grupo Pão de Açúcar

A large Brazilian supermarket chain with many sustainable activities

October 13, 2010

Bio diesel plans in Brazil

Good article describing challenges of expanding Brazilian biodiesel.

October 12, 2010

Cargill Biofuel

10 of Cargill's Next-Gen Biofuel Bets

Amyris Brasil

Amyris industrial synthetic biology platform using Brasilian sugarcane operating a pilot plant in Campinas. 2nd generation ethanol. Working with Usina São Martinho, Al Santos, 1893 - São Paulo

2010 Brazil Biofuels report

Great history, facts and future directions of Brazil's biofuel industry. Grupo Sao Martinho, Amyris Biotechnologies, Dedini and Novozymes look interesting.

October 11, 2010

Fair trade coffee near Sao Paulo

Poco Fundo is a coffee cooperative 4.5 hrs from Sao Paulo, working w/ Caribou and Peace.

hype cycle and iPad

Nice graph and worth studying why the iPad launch worked so well.

October 6, 2010

100% sustainable shoes?

Bio Way shoes, eco friendly, made in Life Way solar powered factory certified by Greenpeace
"The innovations are on the shoe leather (tanned with biodegradable astringent found in tree bark), the soles (made of latex extracted from rubber trees in Brazil and takes only five years to degrade in nature) in water-based glue, the shoelaces and the line (both organic cotton)."

No Brasil a linha Bio Way é comercializada nas lojas do Greenpeace localizadas na cidade de São Paulo: Pixolé Calçados e American Shoes. Em Curitiba na loja Holt Zutto. O site:

August 24, 2010

Arcimoto and Clean Tech Open

Alternative electric vehicle Arcimoto is gaining credibility through external validation from 2010 Cleantech Open Business Competition

Parasole Group and cycling

Three successful restaurant openings in the midst of a down economy. Could be an interesting way to look at cycling concepts. Could invite guest speaker to last class and or/cater food.

August 11, 2010


Nice video Also reality TV show Garbage Moguls

Sustainable architecture

Very inspiring discussion on the challenges and benefits of sustainable architecture.

August 2, 2010

3D movie adoption hurdles

Classic adoption problems. This will be easy to talk about.

June 18, 2010

Chef Shack

Video from GEL conference this year. Its all about customer experience!

Shake Shack

Video from GEL conference this year. Its all about customer experience!

May 3, 2010

BP Green Brand

BP's Woes Illustrate Risk Of Green Branding

April 30, 2010

Relay Rides

Nice business model for car sharing., featured on's Juice Pitcher

April 6, 2010

ETH Brazil announcement

April 2, 2010

Caribou coffee fair trade Brazil

Poco Fundo coffee, possible site visit from Sao Paolo

March 4, 2010

Dragon Power, biomass energy in China

This could be an interesting IBUS 3010 case and site visit in Beijing

March 1, 2010

Mr Clean Car Washes

February 24, 2010

Brazil's beauty boom

Favelas and beauty products. Relevant for Natura case.

February 4, 2010

Concierge Health Care and P&G?

An interesting acquisition for P&G. Probably something UHG should be doing. I like it as part of P&G's innovation pyramid. Also a wise way to learn and deal with external partners. I am curious why they sold their pharma biz.

Toyota mess and web of relationships

Toyota - NHTSA relationship could also ensnare big three automakers. Detroit Free Press article

January 26, 2010

Dow and sustainable design

Dow creates plastic with soy bean waste, then partners with designers to create products

January 20, 2010

Reverse innovation

Good HBR article 12/09? re: GE global innovations that end up expanding US market. Ex- low cost diagnostic equipment for China, 85% price reduction. Aneesh Chopra, US gov. Chief technology officer

December 2, 2009

Mini E problems

A great 'mini case'. from 12/2/09 Bloomberg

October 30, 2009

Netflix and coopetition

Coopetition make make web of relationship (external relationship) strategies much clearer for students. Netflix is a good example in this 11/09 K@W article

October 29, 2009

Morola Droid

Wonderful innovation journey story from 10.29.09 NYT. Shock, cycling, external relationships- its all there.

October 1, 2009

Lenovo article

From spring 09 Qn

September 29, 2009

Ever Cat Fuels

Interesting MN biofuels startup that addresses many of the environmental problems with biofuels. Star Tribune article 9.29.09

Doug Cameron, a scientist and head of alternative-energy investments at Piper Jaffray also a good source

"The technology is rooted in a 2006 research project on a better way to make biodiesel by then-Augsburg College student Brian Krohn, now a Rhodes Scholar, and chemistry professor Arlin Gyberg. They turned to McNeff, also an Augsburg-trained chemist, and Ben Yan, chief scientist at McNeff-owned SarTec"

September 25, 2009

Cargill running in packs strategy

Industry wide response based on GreenPeace report and McDonalds decision. 7/25/09

Cargil, Amazon, Geenpeace Nature Conservancy

Great examples of web of relations between Cargill and NGOs over soybean and related infrastructure, businesses

innovative presentation tool

One of my MGMT 6050 groups used prezi for their presentation. An interesting alternative to boring power points. Good examples on their website.

September 21, 2009

Moobella icecream maker

Just secured$18M to launch commercial instant ice cream makers according to NYT article. Nice video on company website. Significant redesign since launch in 2006. Still only in Boston. Many regulatory issues. Web bases monitoring. Mass customization trend.

Moobella icecream maker

Just secured$18M to launch commercial instant ice cream makers according to NYT article. Nice video on company website. Significant redesign since launch in 2006. Still only in Boston. Many regulatory issues. Web bases monitoring. Mass customization trend.

September 10, 2009

Hara Hachi Bu

Why are 5,000 people in Albert Lea, MN wearing bracelets that say "Hara Hachi Bu"? It is part of the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project. Also tied into Richard Leider, a"purpose coach".

Green Palm oil

Good case on how certification can sustain rain forests. NYT article Indonesia and SE Asia focused, but refernce made to soybeans and the Amazon. Interesting role of NGOs, GreenPeace in particular.

July 8, 2009

Cargill and The Nature Conservancy in Brazil

Sustainability, soybeans and the Amazon

Tom's Shoes

Wonderful socially responsible business model. How do you sell shoes online?

June 4, 2009

ERA Shanghai show

Good article about collaboration with Cirque du Soleil in 2005

June 3, 2009

lifestyle entrepreneur example

My hat is off to a guy who can make a living off of a lunch recommendation website.

May 7, 2009

In and Out Burger

Good article from LA Times 5/7/09. MICHAEL HILTZIK:
In-N-Out: Can perfection survive?
Good growth issues.

April 27, 2009

Telsa and Tata

This Washington Post article could be an interesting way to explore green and global

April 17, 2009

SunChips Rolling Out Compostable Package

This and their solar energy plans would be interesting to look at.

The Greatest Company in the History of the World

The Motley Fool thinks its Exxon. How to do stakeholder analysis on this one?

April 1, 2009

iPhone India and China, Ford EV

An interesting case.

And one about Ford with global implications.

March 30, 2009

buying eyeglasses in the Shanghai subway???

In an article from the La Times, getting prescription eyeglasses are cheap and quick.

March 19, 2009

Flip Video story

Flip is a great story and a great case. I love the lessons learned from the first products. Nice returns on Cisco sale for founder(80M) and VCs on sale. Timing considerations? Why Cisco?

March 9, 2009

donut shaped bottle

Interesting video about Finnish designer Stephan Linfoss. Great design does help market entry. There is an environment aspect, maybe not intrinsic enough. video I also like the other topics on the site

February 10, 2009

"Product of the Year"

A new running in packs strategy for consumer products companies. See the shameless promotion in this video. Not a bad business model for POY.

November 21, 2008

Chinese investments in brands

This article shows the trend of Chinese seeking value added brands through investment. Vicarious by Nature would be a good case.

November 18, 2008

Patagonia clothes recycling

Great infrastructure issues and running packs strategy. Note counter example about Mark and Spencer

November 6, 2008

IBM and infrastructure innovation

How should companies respond to the shocks of a major recession and change in administration? This NYT article discusses investment in "smart infrastructure" as an answer. It shows how companies can be proactive with government instead of reactive. Plus there is a quote from Rosabeth Moss Kanter, one of my favorite academics.

October 6, 2008

Best Buy innovation tools

You Tube video summarizing Best Buy's innovation tools, including prediction markets.

October 1, 2008

web 2.0 and bike community

Civia's attempt to encourage bike commuting. What are the key factors for creating a successful online community?

September 29, 2008

Clearwire and WiMax

WIS 9 29 08 Great examples of strategic alliances and infrastructure challenges. Also learning by testing

WSJ 2008 innovation awards

Sept 29, 2008

Good interview "with Judy Estrin, a former Cisco executive, Disney board member, and author of "Closing the Innovation Gap," thinks the U.S. is falling behind innovatively but offers five core values that can help companies innovate. Stacey Delo reports." She likes Pixar as an example of great innovative culture.

Also podcast with Joachim Ebert, a vice president at management consultancy A.T. Kearney, tells the Journal's John Leger about successful strategies. Plenty of companies have innovation strategies, but what's the best way of ensuring success? He likes the Tata Nano car as a great example.

September 26, 2008

Carbon free hotel in Shanghai

Could be good case for China course URBN Hotel

Pumping hydrogen

From NYT 9 23 08 Good case on infrastructure

September 10, 2008

Entourage and Virgin America

Nice cross promotion by Virgin America as away to promote its new route in a difficult economic climate. Nice brand polishing. Is the value proposition compelling enough? 'Entourage' in the Sky

July 15, 2008

Lift Kids

Lift Kids is an interesting business based non profit addressing at risk kids in extreme poverty.

June 18, 2008

LinkedIn innovation case

Interesting example of divergence post VC capital round. Will they be successful? NYT 6 18 08

June 17, 2008

Tesco Fresh and Easy case

More tweaks to the Tesco Fresh and Easy US entry:

from 6 15 08 Financial Times

April 30, 2008

utilium online textbook substitute

This could be an interesting case or semester long project for 4050. Is it a better alternative to a textbook?

April 1, 2008

Tesco needs a fresh start in the U.S.

Interesting how Tesco could mess up a major US launch of Fresh and Easy. Might be a good case compare and contrast to Super Target. More Fresh & Easy Buzz

March 3, 2008

“The All-For-Nots?

Can Michael Eisner succeed at web based video? Some interesting divergence strategies. From NYT 3 3 08

February 28, 2008

Naked Retreats, Moganshan

A possible case, expat run ecotourism. Website also discusses Moganshan

February 15, 2008

t shirt twist

Just when you though there was nothing new to do with t shirts:

socially responsible t shirt recycling with heavy consumer awareness and website/ social networking play

February 13, 2008

more on caffeinated candy

WSJ article:
Stimulus Plan for Candy:
Pack It Full of Caffeine
February 13, 2008; Page B1

January 29, 2008

Mars Pushes Caffeinated Snickers via College Sampling

Interesting incremental innovation. Likely to be successful?

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 16, 2008

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 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.

December 18, 2007

a video social networking site called Seesmic

This is an interesting new, buzzy business. Might be interesting to look at first week, before we know anything, then revisit at the end.

A French Twist in Silicon Valley
With backing from high-profile investors, Loïc Le Meur is giving new meaning to the idea of "building a company online"

December 13, 2007

Kraft struggles to innovate

A good example of why innovation is hard but necessary for big companies. Might be good to pair with Christenson and another case of an innovative large or small co. P&G? Starbucks? Perhaps a company that truly believes in organic or health food. Bring Oreos and Tassimo(set backs) to class.

Refilling Kraft's Cookie Jar

December 12, 2007

Chinese yumberry Frutzzo

New import from China. Might be interesting to look at Frutzzo in 3010.

From China, Only in a Bottle, a Berry With an Alluring Name

innovative chocolate

Chocolate in Beta Testing, Offered by a Wired Founder

Nice case, trial and error learning, web of relationships

December 10, 2007


Interesting strategy involving external relationships and divergence of offerings.

TiVo Shifts to Help Companies It Once Threatened

December 5, 2007

Facebook Beacon

Lots of controversy with Facebook's Beacon launch. Good documentation of trial and error learning:

December 3, 2007

Amazon's kindle ebook

Kindle ebook may be a way to dissect an innovation strategy: divergence in publishing, trial and error learning, web of relationships, social responsibility trend. This is a long article- a shorter one may be more appropriate for a case.

November 16, 2007

MannKind inhailable insulin

Betting an Estate on Inhaled Insulin

Published: November 16, 2007

A good example of the innovation journey, including the following concepts: overpersistence, lack of pluralistic leadership, management turnover, web of relationships, lack of customer demand, infrastructure challenges( including regulations), the value of prior industry experience, pros and cons of deep pockets

November 14, 2007

Lulumon Clothing setbacks

Possible case about an innovative clothing line, supposedly with seaweed. Good way to discuss setbacks, perhaps the web of relationships.

November 8, 2007

Amory Lovins hypercar

Good video on 100 MPG concept car that resells energy back to the grid.

October 31, 2007

Cisco CSR award

Nice explanation on what to do and why to do it. Credible independent verification of CSR efforts by Clinton Foundation,-good-for-society/2008-1036_3-6212067.html

I like this innovation quote:

"Jobs will go where there is the best-educated work force, the right infrastructure, and a focus on innovation and supportive governments."

October 29, 2007

Chevy Volt case

from NYT:

Good innovation case on competitive threats, supplier risks.

October 22, 2007

Radiohead case

Great case on innovation and pricing models

Radiohead Said to Shun Major Labels in Next Deal

October 8, 2007

Why Your Start-up Will Fail

Interesting Forbes article on loss of focus. Possible cases include TiVo, Flickr. Could be way of reinforcing convergence idea in 4050. Or business plan section of 3010?

October 3, 2007

For Facebook, GeoCities Offers a Cautionary Tale

9 25 07

October 1, 2007

disruptive international cell phone

A new approach to cell phones

dirt flavored soda

Jones soda breaking new ground. Good distribution case

September 27, 2007

Tesla electric car

Good interview with Pogue, NYT. Nice case on innovation, life cycle, target market selection, rollout strategies.

September 26, 2007

Amazon takes on itunes

A good innovation case, particularly as it relates to strategic alliances.

September 25, 2007

Grockit MMOL

A very disruptive approach to learning, initially training students to prepare for GMATs. Is this for real?

EchoStar to Acquire Sling Media

Perhaps a case on harvest strategy, strategic alliances?

September 24, 2007

Interesting case involving multicultural networks, team building.

As Industries Wane, Entrepreneurs Reinvent

Good potential case on multiple revenue streams, industry life cycles, core competencies.

September 12, 2007

what does it mean to be green

Interesting WSJ article on green certification and hotels.

Hotel Chains Grapple
With Meaning of Green
Marriott, Starwood Face Confusing Products, Standards
In Bids to Make Lodging Environmentally Friendly
September 11, 2007; Page B1

coffee suppliers

Great article about differentiation through the supply chain. Also nice examples of social entrepreneurship and sustainability.

To Burundi and Beyond for Coffee’s Holy Grail, By PETER MEEHAN
Published: September 12, 2007

website for counter culture:

Bikes to Rwanda, related nonprofit:

disruptive data storage technology

Out of the labs comes 'racetrack memory" Could be a nice case or exercise with Christianson to talk about disruptive trends.

September 6, 2007

Amazon ebook- Kindle

This could be an interesting innovation case- compare and contrast with Rocket book failure. Also look at Google's strategy (Sony as competitor.)

Commodore Gaming Case

Interesting use of an old brand name, niche market, trends,design and distribution.,0,2648046.story?track=rss

September 4, 2007

Bose case and brand

Bose could be a good case about niche, design. Other good examples (crocs) in link.

August 27, 2007

second life problems

Hard to tell if second life is hype or real. Worth exploring in class?

August 22, 2007

recording everything

Here is a New Yorker Article about Gordon Bells project to record everything in his life. Is there a business in this? Maybe. It certainly is a technological trend/possibility. Microsoft is funding a research project on it called MyLifeBits .

August 20, 2007

Glee Gum case

This could be an interesting case with social entrepreneurship emphasis.

Glee Gum

August 14, 2007

Google Health

Lots of trends and no conclusions in this article about new Google and Microsoft initiatives. Could be a good case about trends, social repsonibility and innovation.

July 11, 2007


Good growth, differentiation, brand case. Recent NYT article:

June 25, 2007

Mobile Campus case

Cingular Wireless, which merged with AT&T, has lost a number of executives who left to join start-ups or television production companies. Among them is Jim Ryan, who helped develop mobile video at Cingular. He left in May to become chief executive of Mobile Campus, a messaging service for college students. Possible demonstration of movement between large and small companies, importance of industry experience. Ability to evaluate concept from a user's perspective.