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E-commerce and crowdfunding: why are they the same in China?

Industries April 18th, 2016, Julien Legrand / Yenching Scholar & Mines ParisTech Engineer

As long as laws and regulations are not changed to promote further diversity in crowdfunding, the industry will very likely focus on products that have already proven their feasibility. This is unlike in the West, where platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo can promote projects even before their first proof of concept. Entrepreneurs in China can therefore see in crowdfunding an alternative to venture capital in scaling up, or use it as a way to test their markets.

Staying one step ahead at Pixar

Industries April 17th, 2016, Ed Catmull / President, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios

The cofounder of the company that created the world's first computer-animated feature film lays out a management philosophy for keeping Pixar innovative.

With the emergence of new, often disruptive, forms of personal mobility, the automotive industry is facing a drastic change in its role and its relationship with consumers, end-users and society in general. New forms of partnerships are also emerging. Innovation and technology are crucial drivers for these changes, while automotive suppliers are its key actors, alongside OEMs, new industrial players and service providers.

American unconventional oils against the backdrop of falling prices

Industries April 7th, 2016, Thierry Salmona / Vice-President, Innovation, Research & Technology, Business Support, Imerys

The current price of 50-60 dollars per barrel limits the number of new wells that can be drilled at an economically reasonable price. As a consequence, the drilling activity in the United States collapsed by 50%. Now that OPEC has stopped playing its regulatory role, American unconventional oils may well be the main balancing factor on the market. At the same time, the industry has already begun to adapt very quickly and the possibility of lower costs will play a very important role in this evolution.

Overcoming the pessimism that permeates many visions of the future of the news media, today we find ourselves in a period of intense activity, i.e. in the “creative” phase of a Schumpeterian moment. Many startups no longer rely on advertising and are refocusing on the service provided to the reader. Crowdfunding has freed up initiatives and is allowing for experimentation. Brief.me, a daily newsletter launched in 2014, was born of such experimentation.

Why AlphaGo is not AI

Science and Technology March 29th, 2016, Jean-Christophe Baillie / Founder and President, Novaquark

Culture is the essential catalyst of intelligence and an AI without the capability to interact culturally would be nothing more than an academic curiosity. However, culture can not be hand coded into a machine; it must be the result of a learning process.

Since her departure from JP Morgan Chase to become CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, Blythe Masters, the renowned economist and market operator, initiated a speaking tour dedicated to blockchains. During the Exponential Finance Conference held on June 2nd 2015, she declared that “financial blockchain applications will be measured in the trillions.” Since this sensational announcement, specialized firms have been receiving many calls that all revolve around the same issue: “How will the blockchain technology help us take the ascendancy in our industry?” Today, there is a real curiosity, but above all, a need for education on the subject of Bitcoin and Ethereum protocols, as well as “blockchain technology.”

All around the world, construction methods have begun an accelerated shift towards increased innovation and efficiency, whether in building design, the implementation of constructive solutions, or the distribution and placement of building materials. One dimension of this revolution is the energy efficiency of buildings. Insulation solutions, in particular, are undergoing an unprecedented wave of innovation.

Payment Service Directive II – A glimpse at the EU’s FinTech regulation effort and its implications

Industries March 17th, 2016, Tobias Pfuetze / FinTechs Entrepreneur, Senior Business Consultant, Mediaman Shanghai

Regulating FinTechs? Better say forcing their way into the market. Revolution ahead in the European banking business! Since the pressure on banks is high on different grounds, it is very likely that PSD II levels the field and FinTechs will profit disproportionally over traditional payment stakeholders and potentially win the race.

A complex path to the digital future

Business March 15th, 2016, Howard Gross / Founder and Principal, HG Communications, LLC; former Senior Director of Global Communications, The Nielsen Company

In a world in which information, capital, and labor are no longer confined by time nor distance, nearly everything has an impact on practically everything else. As traditional barriers to entry crumble, organizations that once operated in separate universes now bump up against each other, competing, collaborating, or both in newly defined markets. The tag team of digital and complex systems is slamming business models and upending corporate cultures, nowhere more so than in the realm of communications. Individuals and organizations need more than merely manage technology. They have to master complexity. That means being able to step back and consider all of the critical components of system.

A brief history of Autolib’

Industries March 3rd, 2016, Sylvain Géron / CTO, Canal+, co-funder and former manager, Polyconseil

Autolib' is a technical, operational and commercial success. This electric car-sharing service which started in Paris and operates in several French cities is now going global: the latest city where the scheme has been adopted is Indianapolis. This rather risky venture was made possible by the alliance between a giant and a startup. Here is its story.

A request by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for help from Apple to unlock an iPhone used by a terrorist has quickly grown into full scale battle. The FBI's argument of enhancing national security is countered by the technology industry's fears that a one-off software backdoor could set a precedent for more such demands, compromising consumers’ security and privacy, and negatively impacting business. According to experts, the FBI's case is on uncertain legal ground and the agency ought to empower itself with Congressional backing and in-house resources to cope with technological obstacles such as the one in the latest case.

Agriculture and the food industry are quickly entering the era of platform economics. The rapid development of digital interfaces is not exclusively a matter of matching supply and demand. Collaborative platforms have emerged alongside marketplaces, some dedicated to finance, others to exchanging services. Professionals are reinventing and rediscovering older forms of solidarity. Finally, private individuals are also getting in to the game, radically overhauling everyday practices and rewriting codes.

Green investment: if the stick doesn’t work, better try the carrot

Business February 8th, 2016, Robert Bell / Professor of Management and Former Chairman, Department of Economics, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

How to reverse climate change? The current discussion focuses on reducing carbon consumption. But the policy instruments and tools available today are neither efficient, nor realistic. Both cap and trade and carbon taxes are variations of coercive systems. They can work if they are coercive enough. But who wants to live in Green Stalinism? So if the stick doesn't work, better try the carrot. It is time to turn the creativeness of financial innovation into something useful.

Innovation management: don’t forget about legal watch!

Business January 26th, 2016, Michaël Haddad / Chairman, X Open Innovation, Applied Optics & Algorithmics Pole Manager, L'Oréal Recherche & Innovation

Legal and regulatory aspects are rarely mentioned when discussing innovation management. But they do play a major role, and the analysis of the legal environment is a crucial issue. It allows smart organizations to implement original strategies… even though there are a number of pitfalls.

Uberization: will the empire strike back?

Business January 21st, 2016, Christophe Deshayes / Speaker and Consultant

Henceforth, many companies are afraid of getting uberized. Now, this danger, which has its roots in the emergence of the web twenty years ago, can be considered neither as a novelty nor a surprise. So why is the corporate world so unprepared? A simple matter of denial or an overly superficial understanding of digital technology? In any case, it has never been so urgent for the corporate world to understand what is going on. Be it only prepare the counter-attack.

Organizing your business for innovation: lessons from Alibaba

Business January 19th, 2016, Julien Legrand / Yenching Scholar & Mines ParisTech Engineer

One year after the IPO, Alibaba's new investments have started to impact the structure of the company. The group has adopted a modern and innovative way to exploit the funds it raised, shifting from defining itself as an e-commerce platform into what the group now calls an infrastructure for e-commerce.

Climate: the time of investors has come!

Business January 17th, 2016, Vincent Champain / COO France, General Electric, Co-chairman, Observatoire du long terme

Following the diplomatic success of the Paris agreement, we will need an economic success in the years to come. After the time of diplomacy, future advances now depend on firms and researchers. And it will not happen if the economic or legal signs are in conflict with the ambition of the agreement of December 12th.

The Paris Agreement shows the willingness of all nations to combat hand-in-hand the challenges of climate change. However, willingness per se is easily defeated by harsh realities. More than ever, cooperation is needed. But sacrifices will also be asked. How to negotiate them?

The rise and fall of BlackBerry

Business January 5th, 2016, Jaquie McNish / Senior Writer, The Globe and Mail, Adjunct Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto)

Though BlackBerry has less than 1% of the smartphone market share today, it once had more than 50%. The question is how such a successful company could fall so far. Journalists Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff provide many of the answers in their book, Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry. Wharton marketing professor Americus Reed recently had an opportunity to talk with McNish about what we can learn from the rise and fall of BlackBerry.

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