First Look

February 28, 2017

Among the highlights included in new research papers, case studies, articles, and books released this week by Harvard Business School faculty:

How newspapers countered Craigslist

Craigslist significantly damaged the business model of newspapers by successfully competing for classified advertising dollars. Robert Seamans and Feng Zhu explain how newspapers responded by changing their content and cost-cutting. "These findings offer important implications for many platform firms operating in today’s digital economy," according to the authors. Their research paper, Repositioning and Cost-cutting: The Impact of Competition on Platform Strategies, is scheduled to be published in a forthcoming issue of Strategy Science.

Growth options for DO & CO

The case study DO & CO: Gourmet Entertainment looks at the growth options of global catering company DO & CO in 2015. The company explores the possibilities of expanding geographically, by offering additional products and different formats, and through vertical market options. "What type of growth should it pursue, and at what pace?" ask case authors Juan Alcácer and Esel Çekin.

Augmedix: a video transcription service for doctors

Augmedix, a health care startup, streams videos of doctors' meetings with patients to medical scribes, reducing the time doctors spend filling out electronic medical records. The case study Augmedix joins cofounders Ian Shakil and Pelu Tran as they plot next steps: Should they increase pricing? Should they focus on a particular type of client? The case was written by Frank V. Cespedes and Alexandra N. Rachlin.

A complete list of new research and publications from Harvard Business School faculty follows.

— Sean Silverthorne
 
  • 2017
  • Advancing Organizational Theory in a Complex World

Getting Started with Ambidexterity

By: Binns, Andrew, and Michael Tushman

Abstract—This paper demonstrates the value of thinking about ambidexterity as having three distinct moments—ideation, incubation, and scaling—that share common features for success, such as the role of the senior team, and that also have distinct disciplines. Incubation is a frequent point of breakdown for firms that seek to build new businesses inside existing corporations; promising ideas often simply do not progress. There are many useful lessons to learn from the start-up movement about how best to organize and execute new ventures as “business experiments.” These lessons from the “start-up garage” enable established corporations to make progress on new ventures in a disciplined, fact-based way, while also moving at speed. We have identified eight key success factors for managing business experiments at the “incubation moment,” which appear to improve the prospects of success.

Publisher's link: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=52307

  • forthcoming
  • Strategy Science

Repositioning and Cost-cutting: The Impact of Competition on Platform Strategies

By: Seamans, Robert, and Feng Zhu

Abstract—Organizational structures are increasingly complex. In particular, more firms today operate as multi-sided platforms. In this paper, we study how platform firms use repositioning and cost-cutting in response to competition, elucidate external and internal factors that constrain or enable these responses, and examine how the firms’ responses affect their performance. Our empirical context is the U.S. newspaper industry, which has experienced increased competition following the entry of Craigslist, an online provider of classified ads. We find that when Craigslist enters a newspaper’s market, the newspaper repositions itself away from other newspapers by changing its content. This results in greater differentiation between newspapers in a market but occurs primarily in markets in which reader preferences are heterogeneous. When reader preferences are homogeneous, newspapers are more likely to engage in cost-cutting. Both responses are more pronounced for newspaper firms whose sister firms have already experienced Craigslist’s entry. We also find that failure to design the right response harms competitive viability. These findings offer important implications for many platform firms operating in today’s digital economy.

Publisher's link: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=52315

  • Harvard Business School Case 717-416

DO & CO: Gourmet Entertainment

This case is about a global catering, restaurant, and hospitality company, DO & CO, growing geographically with its existing businesses while also adding new brands to its portfolio. The company had $1 billion in revenues in 2015 from its three divisions: airline catering; international event catering; and restaurants, lounges, hotels, and retail. DO & CO had limitless opportunities to grow along three dimensions. It had operations in only 10 countries, while its competitors in airline catering were active in up to 50 countries. Thus, geographic expansion was one of the key growth options. DO & CO could also offer more to its existing clients in existing markets, providing vertical growth opportunities. Additionally, it could pursue an added-value approach by bringing new formats to existing markets. The last avenue of growth was more opportunistic and came from acquiring new brands in existing or new markets. However, the company had a policy of promoting from within, particularly with its chefs, and it took time to develop the necessary talent. Now DO & CO faced a decision: What type of growth should it pursue, and at what pace?

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/717416-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 517-049

Luvo

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/517049-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 817-053

CLHS: Scaling a New Venture

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/817053-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 417-051

Vox Capital: Pioneering Impact Investing in Brazil

Vox Capital was the first certified impact investing fund in Brazil. Founded in 2009, it provides early-stage capital for companies offering innovative and scalable solutions to enhance the lives of low-income Brazilians, while aiming to simultaneously generate attractive market-rate financial returns for investors. This case examines the evolution of Vox Capital, across understanding the landscape, launching, raising funds, selecting investees, structuring deals, building investee capacities, tracking performance, developing internal systems, and advancing the field of impact investing.

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/417051-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 517-051

Paine & Partners: Private Equity in Agriculture

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/517051-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 517-052

Nestlé: Nutrition, Health, and Wellness

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/517052-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 116-058

Bank of Taiwan

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/116058-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 817-048

Augmedix

In April 2015, Ian Shakil and Pelu Tran, cofounders of Augmedix, are discussing how to grow their emerging health care startup. The company’s sole product, also called Augmedix, streams video of doctor-patient interactions to remote medical scribes, thus freeing doctors from the burden of having to manually input information into an electronic medical record (EMR) and giving them additional time to focus on patients. Shakil and Tran had grown the company by allowing any qualified doctor or health system to use the service but are now discussing whether they should segment the market and focus on a particular type of client. They also wonder whether Augmedix’s current pricing appropriately reflects the value their service provides. Lastly, the two want to discuss how to staff and structure the company’s nascent sales function as Augmedix grows.

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/817048-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 417-053

Susan Cassidy at Bertram Gilman International

In 2016, Susan Cassidy, VP of sales and marketing for the packaged foods division at CPG firm Bertram Gilman International, has to make a promotion decision. Should she choose the person she has been grooming for the position or another candidate recommended by central HR based on the firm’s promotions algorithm?

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/417053-PDF-ENG

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/517036-PDF-ENG