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HBS Cases You Wish They'd Wrote

The hallmark of a good HBS case is the first paragraph. When done right, it sets the scene for a case and gives us a clever insight into the case protagonist. When I first arrived at HBS, I looked forward to those first few lines. However, after 600 odd cases, it’s getting stale; there are only so many times that I can read about a protagonist looking out of their window of their 50th story office. So, here are some first paragraphs to bring back the excitement.

Disruptive innovation in the oldest profession
Gaud E. Flash (HBS ’04) reclined in his blinged out office and watched the lights reflect in his diamond-plated grillz. Having spent several years as the “muscle” for other pimps, he was ready to start his own business and make a name that playaz would respect. But he remembered from Clay Christensen’s BSSE class in his second year of business school that disruptive innovations were more likely to kick out some real noise than sustaining innovations. He wondered, how could he go after an underserved market for ho’s? One thing was for sho’-its hard out here for a pimp.

Tight Wad Product Line Expansion
A warm, gentle breeze floated through the offices of Tight Wad Toilet Paper Company as Founder Rod Dinglebury reclined on his throne reading a newspaper. Tight Wad sold toilet paper to corporations, sports stadiums, and other places that didn’t care if patrons suffered from a rough 1-ply wipe. The company had spent months considering a product line expansion into toilet seat covers and the final decision had been left up to Rod to flush out. As he finished dropping his kids off at the pool, Rod wondered…would customers give a crap?

Rethinking Retail Distribution Strategies
El E. Vated rocked back in his hammock and took a deep toke on his spliff. Amsterdam Red always helped him to relax when business was bad. What was he to do about his retail distribution network? Shrinkage was up, product quality was down and dealer turnover was high. Moreover, dealers who did last became increasingly lazy and incompetent. Mary Juan Cheeba (HBS ’05), El’s right hand man, insisted the problem was incentives and offered to apply some subtle pressure to get “alignment of interests.” As El drifted off into a smoky haze he wondered-did Mary’s plan have merit?

March 5, 2007
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