Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are about OC&C, Ceres Imaging, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and Lykins Oil Co.
“While the big consulting firms were making their mark and fighting over business, Chris Outram (INSEAD MBA ’77), started a strategy consulting company that thought a little differently than the competition. ‘We were the new guys on the block, we’re insurgents, we’ve always been insurgents and we act like insurgents’ he tells INSEAD Knowledge from his office in London.”
“Even though the Ceres Imaging founders initially wanted to build drones, talking to potential customers convinced them that as I predicted, the farmers couldn’t care less how the company acquired the data. But the farmers told them something that they (nor I) had never even considered – crop dusters (or ‘aerial applicators’) fly over farm fields all the time (to spray pesticides.)
They found that there are ~2,400 of these aerial applicator businesses in the U.S. with ~5,000 planes. Ashwin said their big ‘aha moment’ was when they realized that they could use these crop dusting planes to mount their hyperspectral cameras on. This is a big idea. They didn’t need drones at all.”
“Perhaps distracted by BlackBerry’s messy implosion, Canadians could be forgiven for missing the more discreet disruptions within another iconic global company: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.”
“Milford-based Lykins Oil Co. started selling oil to farmers 65 years ago. Then the family business branched out into gasoline, electricity, propane and natural gas. Today, Lykins sells petroleum products to gas stations and businesses in 15 states. But like everything else, times change and updates are needed.”