14. Innovation and Energy Business Models

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visit MIT OpenCourseWare at ocw.mit.edu. PROFESSOR: OK. We've been chatting up here
and taking up valuable time. We have the privilege today
to have Donald Lessard– Professor Donald
Lessard speaking. Don and I and
Professor [INAUDIBLE] taught this course the
previous prior two years. So he's been in here before. He's an expert on
international business, international finance, regular
finance and, of course, the Cuban revolution, which
he witnessed as a small boy. Don? DONALD LESSARD: Perfect start. OK. I wish I'd been with you all
term, but I'm glad I'm not. I'm on sabbatical this year. And I'm enjoying that.

So I'm probably a bit rusty
in the classroom today. But I hope we'll
have a good time. I'm going to talk about
innovation and energy business models. So that's a big mouthful. We're trying to get a lot of
things done in one session. But it's– where I really
want to go is to make you comfortable with, focus on–
these are the big questions. The first question always is
what problem are we solving? What's the value proposition? What problem are we
solving for whom? How? How will we monetize it? How will we turn
it into a business? What's the best business
model to do that– second question. And we're not going
to answer all of that. But I want to give you a little
sense of which kinds of energy innovations lend
themselves to startups, which kinds of
energy innovations have to be undertaken by large
incumbent firms, which ones might be undertaken by new,
big pioneering firms, which ones require consortia– right? So how big, what
kind of structure has to carry a particular
type of innovation forward because energy is
a very complicated space.

Then this is something
we will not completely deal with in this session,
but I'll start on– and you've been talking
about a lot already– under what circumstances
will the innovation you're focusing on be viable? And who and what
has to change for it to work because that's
the primary question. You've got a better light bulb. Who is going to have to
change for it to work? What are the various barriers
to change going to be? You looked at Hexion and
you look at biofuels.

You've got questions
within the firm. You have questions
with the customer. You have questions
within the industry. You have questions
with regulation. You have questions with
societal attitudes. So which of those
things have to change. And that takes you back
to the business model because the business
model very often will be not only about
producing the thing, but also bringing
about the change that's required so that the thing will
be viable in the marketplace. So that may really complicate
the notion of a business model. And finally, the
standard strategy questions– what capabilities–
what do you have to be good at? What scale? What scope? What various activities do
you have to be involved in? And where do you have to be? And that's for
another session later.

Where do you have to
be to make this work? And of course, the
answer is it all depends. I'd say it depends
on many things, but I'm going to focus
on really the first two. And they're related. They're slightly different
concepts, but they're related. It depends upon the
maturity of the technology. And it depends upon whether
the innovation is disruptive or not.

So we need to start doing some
classification of the nature of the technology, the
nature of the innovation to understand what kind of
business models might work. OK? So far. And then I'm going to talk a bit
about innovation games, which is a nice way to think about
different types of innovation processes. It's some new work being
done by a friend of mine. And then we'll end with some
innovation business models. OK. So technology maturity–
you read the paper. Here you can do this
with a rising S curve or you can do this
with this falling curve in terms of rate of innovation. But there is a sense
that most technologies go through these three phases. What's the statement in Genesis,
"without form and void?" So it's without form and void. And there may be some
sense of an unmet need. And there are lots of different
solutions being brought about. Nobody's quite
sure how to do it.

There are entrants in
all kinds of places. It's a zoo. It's highly fluid. There is no clear sense
about which the best products or technologies, or even
what categories sometimes the products or
services fit into. PROFESSOR: Warren Buffett
talked about 2,000 automobile manufacturers circa 1910. DONALD LESSARD: Yeah. PROFESSOR: Everybody with a
different way to get rich. DONALD LESSARD: So
automobiles took off.

Yeah. 2,000 automobile
manufacturers in the US. By– what– 1933, you'd
probably slimmed down to 16. Now we're back to– what– eight maybe, but with
three based in the US. Big consolidation over time. Fluid phase–
everybody is at it. Transitional phase– it's
starting to take shape. And then the mature
phase– it's consolidated. And it's really blocking, and
tackling, and tough competition on an operational basis. And it's largely scale-based. It's Comcast, right? [LAUGHS] So you think about
communications and internet and all those things. We've got some mature
monopolists over here with regulatory capture. And that's mature phase. But we've got all kinds
of new stuff going on in the same time and a
number of transitional things going on at the same time. And energy is particularly
lively this way. Again, from the
paper– fluid phase. Right? A lot of uncertainty.

This is important. A high rate of
product innovation and high degree of
process flexibility means people do things
lots of different ways. It's almost craft industry. One company does it one way. Another company
does it another way. You really haven't scaled it. You produce the product or
service however you can. Demand is taking off, but
still a slow total volume. This is important. Not always the case,
but what does that tell you about who's buying
the product in this phase? Functionality is more
important than brand names. Who's buying the product? Who would care more about
functionality than brand name? Think about it in terms
of computers or internet. Somebody who really
knows the stuff. Right? Somebody who knows the
functionality, is a lead user, is really into what it does. Don't tell me who makes it. Tell me exactly what it does. Right? So you get the techies of that
particular product into it. So the early emergence
of an electrical car or the early emergence
of some other new product may be much more
about the intricacies of that particular
product because you've got a set of people
who are fascinated with the functionality.

Right? Later it becomes is it accepted? Is it a brand name? Is it standard? So this is saying that
the markets are different. The nature of what's going on
in the firm is as we go across. But also, the customer
behavior is different. And what are you trying to do? You try to develop
your technology and you're trying
to hang on to it because you're inventing
new ways to satisfy some unmet need. You're going to try
to cash in on that. You know that there's
going to be a shakeout. You know there's going
to be a consolidation. You're trying to hang on either
to a market position or some IP or ideally both.

Right? Now we get into a transitional
phase, dominant design. So think about bicycles in what? 1880s? And they had one big
front wheel and they had a little small wheel. And they had two equal wheels. And some had chains
and some didn't. If you look in the old books– all kinds of designs. I don't know what year, but
probably mid 90s or maybe 1905 or so the standard two wheel
bicycle with a seat position. The chain emerged as
the dominant design. Of course, there were other
companies making other designs. But most bicycle companies
were focused on that. What happens? It's a much better understanding
about what customers need. Much more process innovation. So in my global strategy
class one of my favorite cases to teach is Shimano. And we look at Shimano from
1921 through the present. And Shimono starts off in a
small village outside of Osaka.

It actually is the village where
the samurai swords were made. So it has experience
with metal working. The bicycle is not
invented there. It's invented in France. 2,000 bicycle shops
spring up in a year. Everybody's making bicycles
in their own shops. But as the dominant
design emerges and as you get
2,000 bicycle shops, Shimono figures
out that there are economies of scale in making
rear hubs and crank sets. Not in welding frames, not
in putting on handlebars, not in making bicycle seats, but
in making hubs and crank sets. And then they get
really good at that. They become codependent. Right? They become a
supplier of components to the whole industry. You still have a couple of
thousand bicycle makers, but you have one company that's
making the high scale economy, more high technology product. And they really start focusing
on process innovation. They find ways to make things
cheaper with the same quality. So they go from casting
to drop forging. Huge jump in quality. So process technology starts
becoming the differentiator because it allows me to
deliver the same product either at a lower cost or
with greater functionality.

So back to the frontier you
were talking about last period. And so the competition
becomes much more about process and
scale and experience and becoming good at things. Right? And quality and availability
becomes the competition. The technological
capabilities of the firm are much less about
development, much more about manufacturability. Again, we've got a
large customer base. We probably have a
fairly strong brand. Mature phase. The product starts
commoditizing. There are more than enough
manufacturers for it. There's a more than
enough capacity for it.

It's very hard to differentiate
your product from someone else's. More similarities
than differences. And filed products convergence
of project and process innovation. Really focused on cost
control, lean and efficient organization. Lean, tight, not waste a
penny, do everything right. Now just think about
the company that is in the mature phase how
ready it is now to engage in a new round of innovation. It's just squeezed
all of that out. If it's a single
product company, it's in a phase
of its life where it's really worried about
efficiency and production process.

And it's pretty well forgotten. It's forgotten about
the innovation process. A classic example
was Volkswagen, which was a single product
company for many years. And the Bug became– the Beetle became
the dominant design. And it was out there and
it held up and it held up and it held up and they
kept producing and producing and producing it. Staying in that market. They forgot how to design a car. They forgot how to
bring in a new model. It took them a lot of
time to relearn that. Right? So you see this kind of cycle. This is common sense stuff. But if you look at
a technology, it's important to think
about where are you in the evolutionary period. Is this pre-fluid? You don't even know
what's going on. Is this fluid but it's
starting to take shape? Is this transitional
where you're beginning to see the
emergence of dominant designs and you're starting
to see the shake out and you're starting to see a few
firms take on strong positions. Or is this really mature, cost
based, quality based, brand based computation where the
big players win typically or the very focused players win? OK.

So you've got it? Spend two or three
minutes– five minutes– three minutes with the three
or four people around you. What I want is an example
of an energy technology at each stage of evolution. So again, something that
is just emerging, turmoil, something that is kind of
in a transitional stage where you can start seeing that
it's going to look this way but it's not quite
settled, and something where it's highly mature. It's head to head competition. So think about clean tech
products of a wide variety. And again, very importantly,
I'd say anywhere in the energy supply chain. So I tend to think of
primary energy, conversion, transmission,
distribution, end use.

But now we have end
use in industry, residential, transport. And then, I guess,
we have Dick's area, which is how do we
balance that stuff? Or how do we balance
the whole thing if we include demand management? So that would be the
space we're looking at. So anything in that space– new technologies, innovative
technologies for– new is the wrong word. But technologies that are
coming into the marketplace or are in the marketplace
for primary energy, energy conversion, energy
transmission, storage, et cetera or for all kinds of end use.

What stage would
you put them at? And within your group
give me one for each area. Give me fluid,
transitional, mature. AUDIENCE: So for the
[INAUDIBLE] different energy storage [INAUDIBLE] in the
grid, so for power [INAUDIBLE].. So, like, using
compressed air [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: So we have– not only do we have batteries
and very different kinds of battery technologies,
and we have compressed air, and we have flywheels,
and we actually have quite a few substitutes,
because we have fast start generators, and demand
management is actually a substitute if you think of
the balance, but it's a zoo.

I've been trying to follow A123
with its grid level storage. And no one knows what the
dominant design is there. And is this to be used
for grid stabilization? Do you want to stick it out on
the end next to a wind farm? It's not known. It's all going on over in the
Department of Material Science. There are what, about six
different– six or seven different competing companies,
or more, out of DMSE. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: Right, like
Sadoway's swimming pools.

OK a transitional? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
as opposed to wind. Because– GUEST SPEAKER:
Which kind of wind? OK, let's put wind. Good. Why is it transitional? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: Pardon? AUDIENCE: It
wouldn't be drive-by? GUEST SPEAKER: Yeah. No, so grid level wind– and again, if we were
drilling down a little bit, we'd find, I think, that
on-shore wind looks like it's starting to standardize.

Off-shore wind is still very
much in the air in terms of the standard design. So you're somewhere in between. Although I guess there's
still some big transitions in the size of the blades. I look out my window in Vermont,
and I have 180 footers now. And they're going to build 480
footers, with strobe lights. AUDIENCE: So on-shore Is
beginning to standardize. GUEST SPEAKER: Right,
but that's the point. So the water is
starting to freeze. It's starting to congeal.

It's starting to standardize. There's a real shift. Partly, the demand has
shrunk a little bit with European
financial difficulties, with uncertainties
about the US credits. And the Chinese have run through
a very quick ramp up, partly. But it's also starting
to consolidate. So it's OK– mature– or mature? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: Big– AUDIENCE: That's a very
interesting question. GUEST SPEAKER: You think today's
boiling water reactors will be the design used in 20 years? Right, so that's– right. That's your question mark. So it's mature and
almost dead now. But if it comes
back to life, it's probably going to become
fluid for a little while. I hope not too fluid,
but anyway, OK. OK, team in the middle,
whoever you are? AUDIENCE: So for
fluid, you had– we'll say fuel cells. GUEST SPEAKER: Which? AUDIENCE: Fuel cells. GUEST SPEAKER: Fuel cells. Yeah, that may– yeah,
that's pretty fluid. Maybe pre, but that's good. It's still largely in the labs.

AUDIENCE: You gotta find
some way that doesn't need [INAUDIBLE]. GUEST SPEAKER: Transitional? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
solar [INAUDIBLE]?? GUEST SPEAKER: Grid solar. Again, we start
drilling down, right? So the crystalline stuff
looks fairly mature. The thin film stuff
is probably fluid. The concentrated solar
is still probably fluid. So that's a good catch all. So let's just say grid. AUDIENCE: What's
nice about it is while you have a pretty
mature crystalline silicon technology in solar, you've got
all these other designs being worked on– Solyndra, et cetera,
and people are looking to increase efficiency. And if somebody hits
it, crystalline silicon gets displaced. GUEST SPEAKER: Well, and
you have everybody looking at the efficiency of the chip. And all that matters is
the installation cost. AUDIENCE: If you get
the chip more efficient, you don't have to have
as much installation, because you don't
take as much space. GUEST SPEAKER: It's still. Still. OK, I'll take a group over here. I don't know exactly where the
boundaries of the groups are, but I'll just take one.

In the back on this side? AUDIENCE: You want
a mature one, or– GUEST SPEAKER: Well,
if you say the same, you just say the same. AUDIENCE: So for fluid,
we talked about, like, wave energy within the
ocean– ocean wave energy. GUEST SPEAKER: And
that may be pre also, but it's starting to
merge, so ocean or wave. It's very early. AUDIENCE: We actually talked
about wind and solar, so– GUEST SPEAKER: Yep, OK. AUDIENCE: And mature, we
talked about, like, turbines, like a gas turbine, or
like a coal-fired plant, stuff like that. GUEST SPEAKER: Why is
it, with– why is it that you're all focused here? If we're going to solve– if we're going to solve
the energy problem, we've got to knock a third
off the carbon footprint here, we've got to cut a third
of the inefficiency here, and we've got to cut
use here by a third. Why is it you're only
focusing on one of the three? OK, let's have
something over here.

AUDIENCE: For fluid technology,
most of ours have been– we talked about WiTricity. And transitional– GUEST SPEAKER: Again, fluid was? AUDIENCE: WiTricity. It's a company– GUEST SPEAKER: OK,
what do they do? AUDIENCE: It's
kind of a start up. They developed the technology– [INAUDIBLE] develop the
technology [INAUDIBLE] that wirelessly transmits
electricity– GUEST SPEAKER: Ah! AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: OK, so wireless– yeah. Yeah, Tesla comes
back to life, right? OK, good. AUDIENCE: Transitional,
we talked about LEDs and solid state batteries. And we wanted to
separate batteries into several
categories, and argue that lead acid, lithium
ion and [INAUDIBLE] were more mature [INAUDIBLE].

again, which kind of batteries do I have here? AUDIENCE: Solid state batteries. GUEST SPEAKER: Solid
state batteries, and here I have lead
acid batteries, right? So this is interest, and now
you're moving into the middle and at least towards
the end with those two. But it's interesting,
because the categories– you say, within an existing
broad category of technology you probably have
some of all of those– within wind, within
solar, within storage, within lighting. So you've got these
life cycles going on within classes of technology
as well as across. Anybody– OK,
let's go over here. Anything radically different? No? OK, anybody who's got some
downstream examples– something here, like what we use? Yeah? AUDIENCE: Converters? GUEST SPEAKER: Pardon? AUDIENCE: Switching [INAUDIBLE]
converters as transitional? GUEST SPEAKER: OK, tell
me a little bit more. For what kind of use? AUDIENCE: OK, so take a
look at your [INAUDIBLE] and whatever is in there. Often times, like,
old ones generally had transformers inside, and
then they're [INAUDIBLE].. But newer ones, which
are more efficient, tend to have that type
of electrical converter.

supplies and power converters for all kinds of stuff? OK. Some of them– I mean, there clearly is–
there's a mature category of those, right? And then– so power converters,
but there's also emerging better ways of doing this. I spent about a
day running around Delta Electronics in Taiwan,
and they're all over this. They are the power
converter guys. Yeah? AUDIENCE: Mature could
be a fluorescent light. GUEST SPEAKER: A what? Oh, fluorescent light, yeah. So now we have
fluorescent, right? It's not dead yet.

It still has several
waves of innovation in it. It's still competitive
for some uses. But it's a mature technology. Although, I guess the drivers– the drivers for the
fluorescent light, there's some big changes
putting the drivers on a chip. Lowers the cost,
raises the efficiency. So if you get inside
the fluorescent light, there's some MIT professors
who have the new chips to drive them. Yeah? AUDIENCE: There's a different
way of approaching this. You wanted to discuss the final
third as well, so put habits in mature, because I don't see
much innovation in thinking about how you can [INAUDIBLE]. GUEST SPEAKER: That is a very
interesting different way. So you'd say, what is it? And when we talk
about disruption, we'll talk about the customer. It was a nice
thing, saying here, we're talking about
hard stuff– technology. But in fact, human behavior– human behavior could
be categorized, and institutional behavior could
be categorized in the same way. And our habits for
commuting and driving, and where we choose
to live, those things are pretty hard wired.

Our habits regarding the use of
electricity, mental attitudes, probably pretty mature. We've been doing that
now for 100, 130 years– pretty mature habit. We've got some things
that are transitional. There may be some things
that are quite fluid, right? So this is– so you could
apply a similar thinking structure to behaviors. This is focused on
technology, but I think you've all got the
point on any time you're looking at a technology, you
want to know where it's at. Because that's going to
tell you a lot about what's going to be required to
have a successful business model in that phase. OK, now we'll go on
to the next piece of this, which is
discontinuities or disruptive. And they're similar. And Hiram, maybe you
can straighten me out in terms of the difference
between these literatures.

I view them as almost the same. But the point of kind of
discontinuities or disruptive change– so we've got some incumbent
technology, right? And it's gone through an
S curve of unit sales, and it's matured, and
it's leveling off. And a challenger comes in. Out of the fluid phase, it
starts really emerging– let's say, in the
transitional phase in here– it starts garnering some sales. It's probably not direct
competition at first. It may even be dismissed
as irrelevant, right? And over time, if
it's appropriate, it will supplant the
existing technology. So I gave you a
reading about Kodak, and a reading about
some of the difficulties that Kodak had in dealing with– this is film-based
based photography. Kodak wrote it from
the initial chemistry to pretty much
dominating the market. Although they did have
a little challenge from the Japanese
and the Germans.

But they rode that
market very nicely. Now, we're in a totally
different world. Nobody uses film–
totally different product. And so you see these
cycles over and over again. I may be getting out
of line a little bit, but one of the things
you want to think about in these discontinuities
is who is having to change? This becomes a critical thing. So the question I'll
pose in two slides after I do this next
one is, discontinuous at what level,
disruptive at what level? Because you really
have to sort that out. But in order for
your opportunity to materialize, what
changes do you need? Do you need changes in
end user behavior/habits? Do you need changes in prices? Do I now need peak load pricing,
or do I need carbon pricing? Do I need a change in policies,
building codes, right? So a whole series
of things that may need to change, not
just my technology.

My technology may be maturing,
but I may need behavior, I may need prices, I
may need regulation. And of course, we'll
come back to these. But you'll think about
which point you can lever. Let's look at this
point now, though. Disruptive to what? So we're trying to
classify a technology– an innovation– as to whether it
will be disruptive or not, just because it's fun, but because
it gives us some notion of how we need to address it, and
what it will take to get it implemented. Is it disruptive
to the customer, to the firm, to
the incumbent firm, to the platform or
system, to the industry, to the regulatory context,
to the social acceptance and mindset? We're kind of going down
in levels of difficulty.

So– oh, that slide
turned out beautifully. But customer– and
we could– you've talked a bit about customers
taking on new products? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: We
tend we tend to focus on the price and the
economics of a new energy use. And then, of course,
we get in an argument about whether people really
look at the current cost or whether they look
at the life cycle cost. But there are two
other issues, at least, that go along with that price
and that price calculation– new behaviors or competencies. Do I have to start acting
in a different way? Does this require that
I undo some habits to use this new product? If it does, I've got a
much harder sell, right? And I have to think, this
is not marketing my product. This is getting you to
change your behavior. That's one issue.

Or the other, of
course, is does it require new system complements? Do I have to have other
goodies to go along with it? So you give me some device for– I don't know–
controlling the heat– the air conditioning in my unit. I also need, obviously,
the controls on the pieces. And I probably need that to be
hooked in with my cell phone so I can do it from a distance. I need an infrastructure
that intercommunicates.

So think about the customer. You've got a product for them. You say, this is a new
and improved product. It's going to save
you energy, and/or it's going to reduce
the carbon footprint. Hopefully, it's going
to do both of those. And so you should
buy this product. And if you do a careful
lifecycle calculation, which you probably won't do, you
may find that this product is attractive.

You still have to think
about, am I going to use it? What do I have to
do differently? And am I going to have to change
out a bunch of other stuff? Because the critical point
about energy– and you've seen this over and
over again– is this is the installed-base
industry to kill for, right? It's got huge installed
base of complementary stuff. So you're wiring,
your appliances, everything in your house are
all built in a particular way. To change that is a big job– kind of scary job. OK, so I'm not going to go
too deeply on the customer today, because I didn't give
you any readings on that. But I think that's
the primary one. Yeah? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
when you think of disruptive innovation,
actually, in some ways, [INAUDIBLE]. innovation, it comes
from the bottom.

So the transistor radio
is a classic example. So when [INAUDIBLE]
patent transistor radios. But the point was
transistor radios were something that teenagers
could take in their rooms, listen to radio stations, so
they don't have to sit around the living room
with their parents and put on the big tube radio. The point is is that it
was [INAUDIBLE] disruptive to the teenagers.

As a matter of fact,
they got privacy. [INAUDIBLE] the quality of
the reception was pretty poor, and the quality of the
sound was pretty poor. But this was a very
expensive technology. You know, the same way that all
of you adopted social media, it's a very simple method. To a lot of people that are used
to not doing that, much more disruptive. So in many ways, when
you think of a project that you're working
on for your papers, for example, you can think of
disruptive innovation in ways that you can of find a
customer that is actually, in many ways is a very simple
way– almost too simple a way to get there, and then it
disrupts from the bottom.

So it disrupts the
marketplace, but it's not necessarily disruptive
for the individual who's going to take it up. GUEST SPEAKER:
Well, in fact, the– if you like, the disruption may
be desired by your customer. So "disruptive" sounds
like this is negative. So all of the family had
to sit around the single TV set or the single radio set, and
the parents may have liked that or may not have liked that,
depending upon their style. But certainly,
there were customers who wanted to get away from
that, who wanted privacy, wanted to go their own rooms. So you say, this is disruptive
for the existing family habits. But the question is,
is there a segment that finds this
disruption attractive? I'm just trying to open up
this concept of disruption at all of these
different levels, because we tend to
think of it, is it disruptive to the
incumbent firm? But that's only one of
the many considerations, and should not be a negatively
or positively loaded term.

It's a descriptive term. Is it disruptive? Does it require certain
types of changes? And very often, does
it require changes in a complementary
set of activities? And then, what are
those changes required? So not how do we make it,
but what changes will be required so that it is adopted? And that will often be a more
central part of the business model than how do we make it. That's– AUDIENCE: Wind and solar are
interesting from that point of view. And we'll come back to
them week after next. But putting a lot of wind
in an electric power system requires a lot of changes in
other parts of the system. I mean, it's not disruptive
to people who get electricity. It's not disruptive to
people who are buying. It's disruptive to,
how you run the grid? GUEST SPEAKER:
Right, So if we push past, what, 6%, 8% in a deep
grid, in wind or solar, then it's disruptive to the grid. And it may be disruptive– it's
probably going to be disruptive the economic model of the grid. Because how do you recover
the additional costs associated with having the depth
to deal with the intermittency? Or you could say, wind has
to have storage at source so that its interaction with
the grid is smooth, right? That's happening in some places.

AUDIENCE: Then you're not
going to have much wind. GUEST SPEAKER: No, no,
A123 is actually in Chile, they've got this. So you've got wind farms
way the hell away, right? If you've got a wind form a
long way away from a population center, then your
problem is you're going to have to build a
very high capacity line to deal with the intermittency. It becomes economic to put grid
level storage at the wind farm tuned to the wind farm
so that it can then feed through the line
on a steady basis. And now, it's not– but now, it's disruptive
in that wind farm has to combine storage, right? So it's a more
complex business model to avoid the
disruption to the grid. So general point–
any technology you think about, you need to
think of the various points at which it may be disruptive. And not saying
disruptive is bad, but rather to focus on who is
going to have to change how, and will they have the
incentives to do so, and how could you work on those
incentives for them to do so? It's just a way of
thinking about the process.

OK, incumbent firm's
capacity to change. This is the
Christiansen article. Would one of you
like to tell me– tell us all the Kodak story in
terms of those four quadrants? I just happened to pick
up the FT yesterday and had this beautiful story
ready for today's class, right? So we all know that
Kodak lost it, right? It dominated the film business. It was an early participant
in digital technology. It certainly had
the money to do it. It certainly had the
technology to do it. And it's nowhere, right? So it totally lost the score.

And it had a
fantastic brand name. It had everything going for it– lost it. So what was it in
that story that– I guess the question would be,
does this framework even help, and how would we kind
of shoehorn that case into this framework? So did it fit with their
processes, capabilities– the one thing I'd add–
processes, capabilities, and relationships? Did digital fit with Kodak's– why not? How not? AUDIENCE: I mean, I guess,
for the longest time, they invested in
film technologies. And so– GUEST SPEAKER: We're chemists. You start off kind of at the
habit or people level, right? The high prestige
people in this firm are optics people and chemists. There are some really pretty
hairy stuff going on there. And those are– so first of
all, the prestigious people, this is not prestigious. So that's a little
bit of an issue. And so it doesn't draw in the
chemical capabilities at all, or the filmmaking capabilities. Kodak was also a very advanced
manufacturing company. If you go on the Kodak plant,
it was what, a mile long– a continuous– one
single, continuous machine to make all this film–
just a technical marvel.

Again, digital cameras
have nothing like that. So there's not a deep
manufacturing capability. Selling capabilities–
putting them in stores ought to be about the same. Anything different
about the model between putting cameras
and film in stores versus digital
cameras in stores? What? AUDIENCE: Well, film is a
complement for a film camera. GUEST SPEAKER: Film
is a complement. You probably basically
subsidize or sell the camera at a very low cost, especially
the cheap cameras, right? There were disposable cameras
that basically cost nothing, because you're selling film. What's the complement that you
sell with digital photography? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: You may
sell some complements in the internet in
terms of storage and in terms of social
media, but it's not within your same category.

It's not even people you know. So I would very
quickly start saying, yeah, this would require Kodak
to be a very different place. On the other hand, they
do have a brand name that is associated
with images, right? They do have the
optics that are still very important in
digital photography. So they have some
relevant capabilities. They're not out of the game. But they don't have them all. How about the values
and time horizon? Did you pick up anything from
the story about values and time horizon? Yeah? AUDIENCE: I didn't
fit with their values, because the way that
Kodak had been, like, started by the founder
was just with film, right? They never talked about digital. I think that was
the problem when they were deciding whether or
not to go into [INAUDIBLE].. GUEST SPEAKER: It's almost–
that's identity, right? So is our identity images, or
is our identity photography? AUDIENCE: Yeah,
and they probably felt that if they
want to digital, they would lose, like, a
lot of their customers.

Because they had always been
film, and then that's it. GUEST SPEAKER: Or that
they would cannibalize their customers
thinking that they alone owned the transition. It's a little bit
of hubris, right? Just because they
were a leading firm didn't mean that they
alone owned the transition. But let's get down to the
nitty gritty– value and time horizons. How did Kodak
measure investments and the desirability
of investments? What did they– it
was in the story. What did they judge investments
on, or businesses on– good business
versus bad business? Who's there. If you if you read
the story carefully from kind of a financial
or accounting perspective, it would have jumped out at you. Profit margin– the difference
between sales price and cost. They were in a near monopolist
position with a mature product. They had very high
profit margins. Anything that
they're looking at, they're judging in
terms of profit margins. This new product, even
if eventually it's going to have a
high profit margin, will not have a
high profit margin. You've got to be
forward-looking, right? The company is looking at,
let's say, quarter-by-quarter at the current profitability
of the existing business.

If you use that
optic on businesses which now fits the existing
business, no way in hell you're going to choose
this new business that's going to take five seven,
eight years to launch. And it's actually going to take
quite a long time to figure out what the complements
are that you reach into to get the extra profit, right? So if you look at
digital photography, I'm sure that a lot of money
is being made by people other than camera makers. There's a lot of value out–
there's a lot more photography being done.

There's a lot more
being swapped. Granted, it's swapped
at lower costs. But I suspect it would be
interesting to go out and add up who all makes money
on Facebook, right? Facebook makes money. YouTube makes money. You have a whole series of
places that make money out of storing and swapping images. Some of that space might
have been Kodak's, right? They were in the image business. AUDIENCE: Well, they tried. They had an online– GUEST SPEAKER: Well, they tried. AUDIENCE: –processing service. GUEST SPEAKER: Point
is, companies evolve. Companies change with the
conditions they are in, with the pressures they're in.

This was a company with
a very mature technology that it was driving. It had a couple of
tough competitors, so it worked quite
a bit about cost. But it still had nice margins. It had this fantastic scale and
quality-oriented manufacturing. It had brand name-based
distribution. It made most of its
money off the film, not off the cameras,
well-tuned business model, and you could judge
each different sector by profit margin. And along comes
this new business that is going to take
10 years to build. Come on, guys, right? We're not in the VC business. We're in the current
profitability business. So I think that puts a
little life into this figure. It's hard. It's very hard for incumbent
companies to change, especially– and we often talk
about the disadvantages of a company being diversified,
because it gets very confusing, it's not focused, et cetera. One of the advantages
may be that it may, in fact, house
technologies at all three stages of maturity. Because if the company
is predominantly at a mature stage,
it's going to have a very hard time
dealing with things at the transitional stage.

Because everything
it's going to do is going to be tuned
to cranking it out, low cost, lean, manufacturing,
operations focus. The best parking lots
will belong to the sales managers and the
manufacturing managers, not the scientists and
the innovation folks, not even the engineers. So it's going to shift
who gets the parking lot– who has the power. AUDIENCE: OK. Or you could do
it the other way. [INAUDIBLE] was
very finely-tuned tuned in a very– in
a different direction, in that cost-oriented,
technology-oriented, focused on a segment, all built to
do– to deliver top quality to a set of customers. Tough to turn that ship. Tough to turn that ship. GUEST SPEAKER: It's very
hard to be good without being finely-tuned. And if you're finely-tuned,
it's very hard to change. That's the whole story. There's nothing more
to it than that. Then, you can think about
the different elements of that change– and I think this is a
useful categorization– to make an assessment of
whether it's even worth trying.

You can make an assessment,
is it worth trying. And then, what things
would you have to work on in order to make the change? Or do you totally give up? Christiansen's claim
to fame, he basically says nothing innovative can
come out of a big company. It always has to be a start up. That creates a major conundrum
for us in the energy sector, because almost anything you
need to do in the energy sector is large-scale and highly
interdependent, and therefore requires scale. But it needs a start up– catch-22. Any other questions about this? Yeah? AUDIENCE: So I would
assume that we're talking about organic growth, right? But a lot of times, you'll
see companies, especially in tech business,
where you might not have that much capital
intensive investment.

So a lot of things are really
just based on software. For example, Google, I think
they're very finely-tuned. But at the same time, they're
innovating very quickly. They're changing things. They require a lot of
different types of companies. And I think it's because if
they see a technology that's promising, they're able to
sort of grow inorganically by that company, and see– let the company almost operate
independently for a while, and see how earnest
that technology is. GUEST SPEAKER: Very,
very interesting point. So if we were to
complicate it, we'd say that you could
say that this is a story about organic growth–
kind of just investing yourself.

And you might say that we could
avoid some of these issues by acquiring. And we can let things operate
by themselves for a while, and then we can bring them in. Now, we get a new
set of challenges. The set of challenges
is, is the company going to be successful at
integrating the acquired firm? Or is it going to leave it
alone and basically become a portfolio owner? Therefore, it really
didn't bring it in. Or is it going to bring
it in and crush it? It's very hard for large
companies to do this well. One of my major case
studies over the years has been CEMEX, the
Mexican cement company. And they have grown
entirely by acquisition. And they are very–
until 2007, when they bought the wrong
company and almost bankrupted themselves, they were
very successful acquirers. But there were a lot of
tricks associated with it. They have a post-merger
integration process. One of the key tricks they
developed– not a trick, it's very important.

They developed the
80-20 principle in the post-merger integration. So after 18 months, the
company we acquire– it's a cement company– is going to be operating
exactly like the rest CEMEX. Hey guys, this is
an acquisition. This is not a merger. You will operate
exactly like CEMEX. But if the post
merger integration team, which consists
of people from CEMEX and the newly-bought
company, don't come back with roughly 20%
of the practices that they could change
in CEMEX, they failed. So we're willing to learn
from the company we acquire. That's a way of creating
dynamism in a large parent company, right? Very few companies have
that kind of dynamism. I've done a lot of work with BP. BP bought Standard of Ohio. BP bought Amoco. BP bought Arco. They changed the label, they
didn't change the systems. And you see what we got. So acquisition doesn't
solve the problem. It may give you– it
may give you a way to have multiple cultures.

It may give you a way to have
two pieces of the company that operate on a
different clock speed. But if you're going
to gain the advantage, ultimately, you're going
to have to integrate it. And that's very,
very, very hard. So good point, but– AUDIENCE: One of the things
that also happens, from time to time, is you typically made– the start up– you've made the
founders of that company rich. GUEST SPEAKER: Yeah. AUDIENCE: And you know
I can stay and work in a larger
organization, although I preferred a small company.

Or I can go buy a yacht,
start another company, or– GUEST SPEAKER: And it's my baby. So if you bring in
the acquisition side– and especially, then
you have to also deal with kind of family and
founder life cycles, which is much more Hiram's area. So you're going to have to
lay that in as well, right? So you've got to be at
the right life cycle. But, so the acquired firm has
to be willing to be acquired, and has to actually want to
transfer what it's good at. And the key middle employees
of that acquired firm have to want to stay there. And the top management
either wants to integrate itself into
the company's bought, or just vanish.

So now we have this dynamic
within the incumbent firm. We also have the
dynamic within the firm we're going to acquire. So it may solve our problem. But it's difficult. So bottom line, change is hard. Change is particularly hard
for large, bureaucratic organizations. If a company has really
dominated a product market segment in something like
energy, by definition, it's huge. It's very bureaucratic. It's probably very
cost-oriented. If it's a public
utility, it's even worse, because it's regulated,
and again, it's very large. And it's focused on cost and
a very particular definition of service. And it has a set of
people and capabilities for delivering the current
products and service, not for developing new ones. So it's going to be the
extreme of this case.

OK, let's go to the next level. So the system context changed. This is the Michelin
article, right? So Michelin brings you
this new, no-flat tire. Why did it fail in
the marketplace? Was it a lousy design? Great design, right? Then why did it fail? Yeah? AUDIENCE: The repair
[INAUDIBLE] didn't want to take the time to put
in a new, expensive [INAUDIBLE] help change the tires properly. GUEST SPEAKER: OK, so this is– a tire– an automobile
tire, unless it's absolutely perfect–
and of course, why would you have a run
flat tire if it was perfect? The fact that it's a run flat
tire already admits to the fact that it's going to have
damage and need repair.

So that the inherent
nature of the product says, this is a product that you buy
and then a product that you service. And the whole appeal is you
want to be able to drive to the service shop, right? You want to go 45 miles on
your flat tire at night. You don't have to stop on
the freeway, et cetera. So it's embedded in a system. Is it just the tire
repair shop that we need, or do we need any– do we have
any other complements that we need to make this work? Yeah? AUDIENCE: You need
new rims, because– GUEST SPEAKER: You
need to have a rim.

It needs a clincher rim. If you ride really
old motorcycles, you have clincher rims. Now we have rims that are
just with tire pressure. This needs a clincher rim again. So you've got to go
and talk to Hayes, or whoever it is that
makes the wheels. And you've got to get
the auto manufacturer to specify those more
expensive rims that have the clinchers on them. AUDIENCE: And also
pressure management system that was integrated
into the vehicle itself. GUEST SPEAKER: So now, I
have to buy the valve stems, but it also has to be part
of the car's computer system, in terms of the pressure
management system. So who do I– let's just think about how many
parties we have to coordinate. And how many parties
have to pre-invest before they know that
this technology is going to work so they can work. So Michelin invests
years in this technology. And they test lots
of different kinds, and they find out
this one works. And they're a very good
engineering company.

They obviously, in
that testing, had to work with some
wheel manufacturers. But they've got to get
some wheel manufacturers to pre-invest in that capacity. They've got to convince Honda,
or Toyota, or General Motors, or somebody to specify
that tire and wheel, probably on a premium
model, probably at much too low a
scale to make money on, to get it out in the
marketplace and get it tried. And now, I'm going to tell you
that 5,000 vehicles this year are going to have
that wheel, and it has to be able to
be serviced at, what, 50,000 points
in the United States? Because I've got
45-mile range, so I've got to be able to get to a
authorized Michelin repair shop within that range,
otherwise that product doesn't do me any good.

And now, I'm really pissed off. I paid extra money
for a product that's going to solve this
problem for me. And suddenly, I find out it's
worse than the standard product which I could have gotten fixed
at any old service station. You got it? So we have a product. And this is fairly simple. So I only have
three, four, maybe five different
complementers to deal with? AUDIENCE: This is not an
uncommon kind of problem. If you think about
video games, who develops the game for a
console that doesn't sell? Who wants to buy a console
for which there are no games? You've got to get the consoles
out and the games developed. When they invented
credit cards, you had to get the merchants
to put it in the terminals to accept the cards. And you had to get the
consumers to carry them. But if no consumers
carry the card, what good is the terminal? And if no merchants accept the
card, what good is carrying it? This chicken/egg problem
of finding complementers is not uncommon.

the chicken/egg. And if you're going to drive the
development of this platform– which is what it is. It's now the Michelin
Run Flat platform that includes the Michelin
tire, the inner ring that is manufactured by someone else,
the rim that is manufactured by someone else, the tire
monitoring system that is manufactured by someone
else, and the distributed repair stations, then
you're probably going to have to have a brand and
reputation that make people think that you will succeed.

You have to have a deep enough
pocket that convinces people that you will succeed. And you have to have
a deep enough pocket to prefund some of
these other activities. So this is not an
activity for a start up. Start up might well
come in on the platform. In fact, it may be the
best time to come in, because the platform
sponsor has to prefund the complements anyway. Start up may be
available for cheap to come into one
of those places. But they can't push it. So this is just a perfect
example of the complements. What– AUDIENCE: –design and
then sell it [INAUDIBLE].. GUEST SPEAKER: Right, so if
you came up with this design, you'd say, who could make
best use of this design? And the first question
you're going to ask is not what technology
is involved, and who knows how to
use this technology, but what changes will be
required for this product to make it in the marketplace? And who has the
standing, and the power, and the prestige to bring
about those changes? You're looking at your
technology, but you say, what needs to happen? If you're making an
app for an iPhone, that problem's been
solved for you, right? Apple has created the platform.

They even have the cash
collection system for you. They even have their standards. All you have to do
is make your app and stick it on the platform,
because the platform exists. And in fact, a good platform
is a good entry point for smaller firms. But if you've got an idea that
is going to change a system, you're going to have to
find a system driver. OK, any ideas about
what Michelin might have done with all
of those tire people? Yeah? AUDIENCE: I was just thinking,
as you were talking about it. Wouldn't it maybe
have been better, since they have this– they
need the network of places that can repair the tire to maybe
approach the market from, like, maybe a really luxury
sports car type manufacturers? Because they kind
of– like, if you're going to buy a
really expensive car, usually you only trust a couple
of people to service that car.

Then you only need that tire
system and that special service shop. And people who own
those expensive cars are willing to pay
more, and take their car to the special service shop. GUEST SPEAKER: Key
lesson– you pick segment. You pick a segment that will
place a very high willingness to pay for your innovation. Remember last session. You pick a segment
that is manageable. And in fact, initially,
you're probably going to pick a segment
that is not profitable, because your goal is to get
out and show that it works. And if you go for
the big segment, then you've taken on
a big change problem. If you go for the
small segment, you've taken on a manageable problem. Now, I've got this set of
specialized tire repair places. And I probably already
have agreements with them that they will favor
Michelin, right? What do I do? I rent them the machines, and I
charge them on a per use basis.

Because I say, I
don't know if you're going to have many customers
for this machine or not? That's my risk. Your risk is learning
how to use it, right? And if we succeed in
selling this thing, then you're going to
get some business. And then you can pay
me back piecemeal. So you could think about
business models that took the complementers into account. My sense is Michelin
did not do that. Because they had
a better product. They had a clearly
superior technology. There was no question
this was better. But to get people to adopt
it– change, change, change. And I have to think
about it differently as the customer a little bit. But it's mainly my complementers
that I have to bring along. And I have to get it
specified on the car, and then I have to
service it afterwards. OK. Difficulty of
change– and this, I guess you've had Dick
channeling Susan as opposed to Susan teaching you, on kind
of the cultural– the cultural, sociological side.

But this is a little
bit like culture. If you think of how hard it is
the change on the customer's part or on the firm's
part, I would argue that it goes in this order. So I've got to learn how to do
new things in a different way. That's pretty hard. But it's harder if I have
to use new complements, or change the form in
which I use things. So use form– shared cars
versus owned cars, that's a totally different use form.

It's a very different
style, right? Or clustered housing versus
distributed housing– whole series are like that. And then finally, a different
way of thinking about it, we– we, collectively
in this country– a car is immediately available. So we can go
someplace on a whim. And that's one of the
advantages of having a car. It's that freedom of being
untied from schedules, or being untied from this,
and that, and the other thing. If we go to shared cars,
or public transportation, or something else, we would
have to change the rhythms. Suddenly, you'd have to become
synchronized with everyone else again. You'd have to become Swiss.

Swiss society is
built on railroads. American society
is built on cars. That's deep. That's really deep
for a society that has not developed that way,
and where people really value that autonomy. So just think of kind
of levels of change. OK, discontinuity will happen
on the level of industry as well as technology,
and there'll be an area of substitution,
area of design competition, area of incremental change. This is, again, in the
Munir and Philips article. Industry dynamics– this
is kind of a repetition– dominant design,
similar competencies. The interesting
point, in this article they talk about the activity
network versus the industry.

Because you think
of, there is a field of firms that are both
competitors and complementers. And in a well-established
industry, there will be four or five
other firms that look like you. And that will be the industry. And that's pretty
much who you look at. In a transitional
phase, there are all kinds of players
that might be involved. And you've got to think
outside your normal boundaries. That's their key point. I want to get you
to the next slide. This is where I want to end. So this is a way of
bringing together technology maturity versus
the product architecture. Roger Miller is
a friend of mine. I did a book with him
about 10 years ago. This is his latest book. It's about to come out. And he says, think of
innovation as a game. Every innovation is a game.

It has many, many
different players. And product architecture–
is the product standalone, is the product platform-based,
is the product a closed system? Market maturity–
is it emerging, is it in a transitional
phase, or is it mature? Eureka! What does that say? Single inventor, start up, neat
idea, Eureka, it's standalone, it's transitional,
you do it, right? Mature markets, stand alone– new and improved tide. It's the new version, or
five star energy rating as opposed to– Energy Star rating as
opposed to 4 star Energy Star rating, or the next
version of LEDs, a little more
warmth in the light compared to the last warmth. The lighting part is
already satisfied, we're now in
incremental improvement. Is it platform-based? So Apple– iPhone
versus the other guys, Microslop and
whatever they sell– Android– so Apple versus– iPhone versus Android,
those are platform wars.

And you've got heavy,
heavy investment by sponsors of those platforms
fighting with each other. And you have a lot
of app producers who are actually playing
across both of them, right? They're In both ecosystems. Or if it's mature, it's
mass customization. It's just apps. It's no longer
the platform wars, because there is the
established platform. System breakthrough,
pushing the envelope, I'm not quite so
sure about his terms there, but interesting

So let me change this question. Let me change the question
to think about the technology that you were working
on in your team, and decide where it fits there. Take a couple of
minutes to think about– kind of position
it, and tell us why. Because it'll tell you a
lot about the business model that's going to go along
with your technology. Let me be countercultural
in Cambridge. So let me start on my right,
and just go around this way. I don't have to get everybody. But you know, each team kind of
tell me what your technology is and where you think it fits. AUDIENCE: So our [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: OK, so
why is it platform-based? AUDIENCE: There's hydrogenation. There's also solar
thermal, solar cells. There's a lot of ways
to get [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: OK, so there's– we're in, certainly, a
transitional technology area. I would think the platform
base becomes, again, who bears the cost of storage
and where does the storage fit into the system, right? So it's going to
become part of a grid.

AUDIENCE: But it's also who
are the complementers that make the pieces? You may have battery makers
on one hand, and semiconductor people, or the folks
doing the thermal– who makes the big
block of graphite or wherever you use as the
thermal storage medium. So you do have different
sets of complementers depending on what road
you go down, I think. Is that what you have in mind? Yeah. GUEST SPEAKER: And
so there's going to be some pathway
of grid development with particular types of storage
embedded in order to make this storage feasible. That, in that sense,
would be a platform. And that's good. OK, next group? AUDIENCE: We were
talking about solar also. But [INAUDIBLE] getting
better, and the need for solar is always going to be
increasing as well. What's more
important in our eyes is pressing it on
[INAUDIBLE] part that's already
mature for something that doesn't [INAUDIBLE].

does that put you? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
where– like, it's not that– not necessarily that you're even
improved one solar to another, but you're improving a– just acquiring. GUEST SPEAKER: Grid
level or household? AUDIENCE: More household. GUEST SPEAKER: That would
be very different, right? So it may be radical
for the household. But it's kind of
one more feature to change your energy cost
mix, and change your greenness. So in that sense, it
might be new and improved. It probably has a
brand name beside it. It probably has a
financing complementer. It may have– be series Home
Improvement, where you put it on charge and you do 17 other
things at the same time. So it could be– it might be here or
it might be here. It could be between
those two, depending upon the economies of scope. But that's good. OK, next team? AUDIENCE: We talked about
again, the question is whether you
need to link those or whether the grid
will link those, right? And Dick and I were just
talking about what's the difference between
a closed system and a platform-based system.

If the grid manages
the complementarities, then it's an open system. If you manage the
complementarities, you've chosen to mix them. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]. GUEST SPEAKER: OK, I'm going
to run out of time quickly. So let me do a
couple more teams– that team and this team
here, and then we'll come down to one team over
here to more or less cover. So what do you have? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] GUEST SPEAKER: Nuclear again? Anybody who's different? Anybody who's down at the
user end of the chain? Yes? AUDIENCE: Well, I
want to say– yeah, I guess user in terms
of transportation. So yeah, so ours is about
publicly-shared electric vehicle systems. GUEST SPEAKER: OK. AUDIENCE: So our guess would
that that would kind of tend towards a platform more,
because in the middle of the actual market
before the transportation market is kind of mature. But the economy
technology is very much in a transitional phase.

Like, you have to
improve a lot of– you'd have to improve
the technology. To make it feasible, you'd
need to kind of change existing infrastructure in the system,
like charging and other things. GUEST SPEAKER: And you
also have to change some fundamental
habits in many ways. So you're talking about
a large system change. You're going to need an
important systemic change agent. OK, you could go on on this. I think it's very important to
kind of classify where you are. If you think of what are the
different business models– just quickly in
the last minute– start up or skunkworks, right? So either it's a
freestanding company or it's a freestanding
piece of a company. Because it really is autonomous.

And you want to optimize
the innovation process. That's probably an
established brand– new and improved, but it
already has some reputation. It already has market position. It already has distribution. The product is not
different enough to get you out of that channel. If it's up here, you know
you need a networked shaper– somebody who's got money,
and name, and whatever else. Down here, this is
already somebody who has a dominant platform. So the utility has
a dominant platform if it will bring you in. If not, how do you go around it? This is probably a
public/private consortium. You're nuclear/solar,
you're going to get this developed by a
public/private consortium the first time around. It's too big. It's too complex. No one is going to take
it on other than that.

On the other hand,
if we're talking about a new generation of– a new kind of grid
generation, probably– maybe a large incumbent, so Duke
Power, or South East– one of the big utilities in the
south, or a private consortium. This is not final,
but this gives you an indication of who do you
have to be when you grow up, not because of the
complexity of the technology, but because of who
needs to change in what ways in order for your
technology to be implemented. So that's the story on
innovation in business models. All set, thanks..

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