Posts Tagged ‘disruptive’

Frugal retail banking innovation meets social need and could disrupt sector

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

compte nickel mobile-argent-mastercardIn his book No Bank (available here in French) Hugues Le Bret tells the story of Compte Nickel, a start-up that he and his associates created for the purpose of providing people kicked out of the banking system with an ultra-low cost alternative to receiving and making ordinary card payments.

Although, in a heavily regulated sector, the project required 3 years of massive effort, chasing the funding needed to obtain regulatory approvals that were themselves needed to give enough confidence to investors, the business model is very simple:

  1. The customer buys a €20 ‘pack’ at a retail outlet that is licensed to sell state-regulated products such as tobacco and lottery games. The pack contains a Mastercard and an instruction booklet.
  2. Following the instructions, the customer scans their ID at a specially designed terminal, and provides a physical address and an email address. This 5-min operation opens the account.
  3. The retail outlet manager then swipes the card that was provided in the pack, instantly checking that the account has been properly opened, generating an IBAN number and activating the card.
  4. With a few additional steps the customer uses a mobile phone to generate a PIN and the codes for online banking.

Read more…



i-NespressoWith year-end and the festive season, many were busy buying gifts for their loved ones. Some chose to gift Nespresso machines and products from the Apple Store, fitting very well with the lifestyle of most these days – browsing the internet with a good cup of coffee in the comforts of their own home.

Musing over this, it struck me that fundamentally, the approaches taken by the marketing organizations of Apple and Nestle (Nespresso) to promote their products are quite similar: Read more…

It’s a Kodak Moment: 3 Innovation Lessons

February 3, 2012 5 comments

Whilst the ubiquitous advertising phrase “It’s a Kodak Moment” was part of most Americans households, the same phrase brings back nostalgic moments as the more than 130-year old company filed for Chapter 11 Protection for Bankruptcy mid January 2012. The news covered the headlines of mainstream business magazines with reports diving deep into the reasons for the strategy that went wrong. With a strong past glory, the last of Kodak moments steered me along the lines of what could have been its blunders that led to its downfall, almost like a freefall. Read more…

The innovation path must run away from the old before heading towards the new

January 14, 2012 1 comment

In these times of financial crunch and flat growth, there will inevitably be advocates of a return to old Keynesian economics. However successful Keynes’ ideas may have been in their time, I somehow doubt that the same recipes that brought the world back from the Great Depression would work just the same. And it may well be that Keynes himself would also be looking for new ideas if he, rather than his economics, were to return:

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”

John Maynard Keynes Read more…

“The world is moving from car ownership to car usership”

January 7, 2012 3 comments

A BBC News article provides a great insight into the revolution in the making that the car industry is about to go through. KPMG sums it up in their annual survey of the auomotive industry: “The world is moving from car ownership to car usership.” Arguably it will take longer than headline-grabbing statements suggest, not least because a large section of the consumer base still feels a strong emotional connection to the car they own or that they wish to own, but it is undeniably underway. Read more…

With Autolib’ the electric BlueCar accelerates

December 17, 2010 2 comments

This week, life-long entrepreneur Vincent Bollore and his BlueCar won the contract to run the Autolib’ scheme of the city of Paris. The story so far is rich of innovation lessons.

Firstly, Autolib’ builds on the success of Velib’ and replicates its business model. Launched in 2007 in Paris and now replicated in many other European cities, Velib’ is a bike rental scheme that allows customers to pick a bike from one of the 1,200 points in Paris (one every 300 meters) and return it to another, without having to worry Read more…

May the (lateral) force be with us

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment

In its simplest form, the status quo can be represented as two forces of the same magnitude applied in opposite directions. They compensate each other, such that nothing move.

Then imagine a small lateral force being applied that tilts the two opposite forces from their axis. All of a sudden, the equilibrium (or status quo) is disrupted and movement starts.

What’s more, the two formerly opposite forces now literally join forces (at least partly) to add to the momentum created: what used to create status quo now accelerates the movement. Read more…