HAIER + THINKERS 50
Talk of new business models takes us to China. Haier, now the world’s largest white goods business, recently celebrated 10 years of its Rendanheyi (or win-win) business model. CEO Zhang Rhuimin sees the approach as a way to stay small and focused -maintaining the entrepreneurship, intimacy and speed of a start-up -despite now being a $32 billion multinational with 70,000 employees. Haier is actually a family of 200 micro-businesses, each largely autonomous, and 70% of them with revenues exceeding $20 million last year.
The Qingdao-based company has stretched far beyond its refrigerator origins of 1984, now on the cutting edge of robotics and connected home devices. Just this year it launched Coton, a pocked-size washing machine, ready for any emergency. Haier is a shareholder in each of its microbusiness, alongside all of its employees, who share in their own profits. Rhuimin, who has seen Rendanheyi deliver 28% annual growth for the last 10 years, and profits grow by 1200%, is now looking to co-creation as the next phases in his journey, and for Haier to become leading player in the sharing economy.
Haier is recognised in this year’s Thinkers 50 Awards, the bi-annual ranking of business gurus, often called the of management thinkers”. Founded by British journalists Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer, the list is the one that every business academic or author wants to be on. Indeed the shortlists of thinkers, ideas, books and businesses, are certainly worth looking to for inspiration, and will culminate in a day-long festival of business brainpower in London next month.
Robin Chase, the co-founder of Zipcar (with a new book Peers Inc) will be up against the Queen of Collaborative Consumption, Rachel Botsman (who wrote What’s Mine is Yours). Whitney Johnson, the investment analyst who set up a fund tracking disruptive innovations with Clay Christensen, will be encouraging you to Disrupt Yourself (her new book), whilst Korean strategist W Chan Kim is still searching for Blue Oceans (uncontested markets). Al Gore’s former speechwriter and Whole New Brain thinker Dan Pink will be neurologically matched with Denmark’s very own “buyologist” (and neuromarketer) Martin Lindstrom.
Join me at the Thinkers50 Awards in London on the 9 November 2015. Check out the new rankings -and their big new ideas for business -at Thinkers50.com.