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Overthrowing digital platforms: lessons from WeChat

Business January 15th, 2017, Julien Legrand / Yenching Scholar & Mines ParisTech Engineer

Tencent's WeChat is your Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype and Uber, it's your Amazon, Instagram, Venmo and Tinder, and it's other things we don't even have apps for, says the NYT. Gathering all these functions within a single app is already very impressive. But Tencent has even larger goals: WeChat will soon distribute its very own apps. With this move, it takes competition from an app-to-app level to an app-to-OS one.

Why the current price of Uber stocks is a daring wager

Business January 12th, 2017, François Meunier / President, Alsis Conseil, Associate Professor of Finance, ENSAE ParisTech

The arrival of Uber and other booking platforms has a strong impact on the taxi licensing market, while the shares of new operators are taking off. From capitalization to revenues, the sector as a whole sees its economy turned upside down. Financial economics offers good insights on what is going on... knowing that the disruption movement has only started: on the one hand Uber is far from having realized its potential, on the other the platform paves the way to its future competitors.

The City and the Valley: how Tech is impacting San Francisco and vice versa

Society January 8th, 2017, Olivier Alexandre / Sociologist, Labex Icca and Cems-Imm/EHESS PSL Research University

The Bay area is not only an economic reality with a level of investments, quantifiable turnover, number of unicorns or tech business stock market. It is also a territory that stages its own history. Stretching over a hundred kilometers, the strip of land running from the North of San Francisco to the South of Jan José can be analyzed as an ice core. Beyond the frantic entrepreneurial energy that runs through it, we could see different architectonic displacements, which keep track of deeper transformations, from Sunnyvale to Cupertino, from Mountain View to Menlo Park, from Palo Alto to San Francisco.

The trend towards increasing personalization of food is the result of the convergence of many scientific and technological advances and a growing demand from consumers for customized products and services, that take into account their health concerns. Opportunities in terms of innovations are huge. This largely explains the current craze around the foodtech industry. Some of these innovations are already on the market or seeking for investors. Others are still under prototyping or laboratory project.

Personalized food is not limited to personalizing food products in order to meet the needs of consumers with the prospect, during the coming decades, of creating a truly personalized diet. Consumers also ask for more control over what they consume and the way they eat it. Some even wish to produce, transform and control their own food in increasingly autonomous and sophisticated ways, according to their own wishes and quality standards. A mix, one could say, of cooking and manufacturing.

Air quality and energy transition: the French case

Society December 12th, 2016, Jean-Luc Legoupil / President, Renard Engineering and Communication

Emissions of air pollutants have plummeted in France since 1990. But progress is yet to be made, especially in urban areas, in industrial zones and paradoxically in the countryside: these pollutants, which have become less visible and more subtle, are carried by winds and across borders. In this area, rigorous scientific analysis is required to allow to devote our collective and individual resources to share the actually most effective actions for our well-being.

Universal basic income: the contradictions of a simple idea

Society December 8th, 2016, Charles Wyplosz / Professor of International Economics and Director of the International Centre for Money and Banking Studies, Graduate Institute, Geneva

While certainly tempting, providing a simple answer to a complicated question is a straight road to failure. Ever since our alleged ancestors, Adam and Eve, were cast out of heaven, we all dream of a world where we will live a happy life, free from material contingencies. This dream is so deeply rooted that we embrace it immediately. Whether left-wing or right-wing, advocates of universal basic income generate a great deal of enthusiasm. Who wouldn't dream of eradicating poverty? Unfortunately, the path to dreams is strewn with pitfalls and overly simple or confusing reasoning gives improper advice.

Network entrepreneurs, or 
how intellectualism works in the digital age

Society December 5th, 2016, Fred Turner / Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication, Stanford University

The digital transformation has begun to reshape traditional literary culture, as well as traditional intellectual culture. Three Americans were central to that process: Norbert Wiener, the celebrated founder of cybernetics, Stewart Brand, a leading hippie figure from the 70s, 
and more recently Tim O'Reilly, who brought us the terms web 2.0 and open source, as well as a few other ways of looking at the world. How do they work as intellectuals?

Bitcoin and central banks: a monetary revolution?

Society November 25th, 2016, Jia Kai / PhD Graduate at School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University, Fullbright Scholar, Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Davis

Digital currency rose to its prominence in 2009, marked by the birth of Bitcoin. The following seven years saw the burgeoning of a 10 billion dollar worth Bitcoin global network, which leads to more discussions from central banks around how to keep up with the trend both systematically and technologically. Debates on the legitimacy of digital currency never end, with speculation around possibilities of its replacement of fiat money, an ensuing prospective governance mechanism and its function akin to that of central banks.

Google, Facebook and Twitter last week vowed to fight fake news, hate speech and abuse in their own ways amid the backlash over how such content may have influenced voting in the U.S. presidential election. Those actions could have come sooner, and many troubling issues persist.

The impact of Internet in rural India

Society November 14th, 2016, Rekha Jain / Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

Given the rural context in developing countries, how has the Internet influenced their socialization, economic opportunities and access to knowledge resources? Rural areas do not have educational, communication, and transportation facilities. Job opportunities are not many; information on job opportunities in other locations is not easily available. In emergencies like epidemic breaks or floods it is difficult to contact other organizations for help. Even commerce takes place at a primitive level. Do government initiatives to provide Internet access make a difference? To find out, we asked the people.

Food industry giants develop very active strategies to maintain or develop their market share. In this context, there is a great temptation to abandon the competitive maelstrom of generalist offering and seek differentiation through innovative business models. Three recent strategies bear witness to this. Can a multinational escape from its own identity?

The Physical Internet: logistics of the future is just around the corner

Business October 31st, 2016, Eric Ballot / Professor of Industrial Management, Mines ParisTech, PSL Research University

Logistics today is an activity that, while selling mobility, mainly manages immobility. Packages stocked in warehouses. Disruptive, emerging models, based on the principles of the Physical Internet, will be much more dynamic.

How to avoid the pitfalls of innovation in emerging markets

Business October 26th, 2016, Alok Bardiya / Director, Cisco Investments, Cisco India & SAARC

There was an idea that caught popular attention a few years ago: basic, affordable products from emerging markets for use in their home countries could eventually move up and disrupt global markets. But the record has been mixed. What does it take for successful innovation?

Increasingly cited in various rankings of innovative and fast-growing companies, Anaplan offers strategic planning solution that clashes with everything that existed until now. Accessible online, on demand, easy to use by non-specialists, its platform can simulate all kinds of decisions and accurately assess the management of various stages in numerous areas: commercial, financial, HR, logistics, etc.

We already knew the greenback, here come the green bonds. This emerging security, whose yearly issuance still represents only 1% of the global bonds market, has the wind in its sails. Used primarily by institutions, large companies and local authorities, it has just entered the reference segment: sovereign bonds.

Innovation, the Indian Way

Society October 10th, 2016, Richard Robert / Executive Director, ParisTech Review

In the global geography of innovation, India is straddling two continents. Its engineers have contributed to the success of the Silicon Valley: the father of the USB socket, the inventor of the Intel Pentium chip, the general manager of Microsoft are Indian, as is part of the senior management at Google. The success of this Diaspora reflects the talents of Indian engineers, but it can also be linked with an original innovation culture, which expresses itself in an amazing ability to reverse concepts. Three meta-innovations illustrate this Indian way.

Who are the serial entrepreneurs behind unicorns?

Society October 4th, 2016, Monique Dagnaud / Emerita Research Director, EHESS, PSL Research University, Institut Marcel Mauss

Over 60,000 US Internet startups have been created over the last decade but only 0.14% turned into unicorns i.e. startup companies with a market capitalization over one billion dollars. Who are the serial entrepreneurs who founded them? This winners club covered 84 entities in 2015 – against 39 in 2013. They have a very distinctive profile.

Three lessons from Parrot’s saga

Industries September 28th, 2016, Henri Seydoux / Chairman and CEO, Parrot

Parrot's adventure began in 1994 with voice-controlled organizers. It never became a huge commercial success, but the technology involved was recycled into hands-free car kits, and Parrot quickly became a major player in this market. After that, it started manufacturing communication products for the general public. In 2010, a toy drone controlled by smartphone was launched; this success made Parrot one of the leading manufacturers of consumer drones. Three lessons can be drawn from this experience.

How to navigate digitization in healthcare in China

Business September 26th, 2016, Julien Legrand / Yenching Scholar & Mines ParisTech Engineer

The Chinese healthcare system is facing numerous challenges, which means great opportunities for those western players in the industry who have relatively mature solutions and experiences to offer. However, China is increasingly designing its own way, fully leveraging the power of digitization to bridge the gaps.

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