Airbnb, Uber, Blablacar… What inspiration can you draw from these new « barbarians »? Premium

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75% of S&P 500 companies could disappear by 2027, according to Innosight, a firm co-founded by Clay Christensen that specializes in innovation. Why? “New barbarians” – Uber, Airbnb, BlaBlaCar and other Kickstarter projects – are invading the traditional landscape and shattering the business models that have been making money for major companies for decades. What lies behind this trend, and how can you prepare for it?

«There are things currently happening that are disrupting the environment faster than ever before.” That’s how Benoît Potier, head of Air Liquide, summed up his concern and alarm in early 2015 at the idea of being “uberized.” With the entry barriers to markets falling in rapid succession, centuries-old companies tend to react with dismay to the new barbarians. These start-ups, which come from outside the established order, leverage new technologies to turn entrenched business models on their head. But as well as being perceived as a threat, this unprecedented competition can also be an opportunity for traditional firms to create new models and face up to the dangers of these new players or do even better than them. In other words: get ahead of the barbarian advance!

Understand the origins of uberization
Within just five years, entire sectors of the economy have fallen into the hands of companies such as Uber, BlaBlaCar and Airbnb. How can we explain the abrupt arrival of these new actors?

The rise of the collaborative economy
A growing awareness about the environmental costs of over-consumption and the economic crises has dealt a blow to the trend of ever-increasing consumption. The notion of ownership is gradually being supplanted by the notion of use. Why own a car you will only use a few hours a month when you can capitalize on your neighbor’s? Value creation for the consumer is steadily shifting from products to services, meaning that actors with low financing capabilities can now take a position on markets that were once hungry for capital. So, rather than selling a product or service to a single user (who would then become its owner), many companies are beginning to play the role of intermediary between «lender» and «renter,» formalizing the transaction to protect the two parties contractually… Read more

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The Uberization of your business: threat or opportunity?

CouvUberUsbisBased on “Votre entreprise est-elle menacée d’ubérisation?” by Frédéric Frery (Harvard Business Review, March 2015); “L’‘ubérisation’ de l’économie et le grand vertige des élites” by Sabine Delanglade (Les Echos, February 2015); “Maurice Lévy tries to pick up Publicis after failed deal with Omnicom” (Financial Times, December 2014); and “Start-up: ces ‘barbares’ qui veulent débloquer la France” by Sophie Fay (Challenges, December 2014).