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Haier’s CEO gives distinguished lecture at INSEAD

Haier’s CEO gives distinguished lecture at INSEAD

Haier’s CEO gives distinguished lecture at INSEAD

Rendanheyi model cultivates talents to generate continuous value creation


On 23 November, INSEAD, the Business School for the World, welcomed Mr. Zhang Ruimin, Chairman and CEO of Haier Group, to its Europe campus in Fontainebleau, France. Mr Zhang is one of the world’s most recognised influential management thinkers and the innovator behind the Rendanheyi management model.  

In a lecture attended by more than 400 MBA students, alumni, faculty and staff, Mr. Zhang introduced Haier's Rendanheyi model in detail and spoke regarding the big value this model creates for customers, employees and the enterprise. He outlined how Rendanheyi enables Haier to maintain the vitality of venture enterprises in the Internet Age. 

Founded in 1984, Haier is a leading global white goods brand and remains committed to create value through pioneering work and innovation. In 2017, Haier’s global revenue increased 20 percent year-on-year to 241.9 billion yuan (US$37.2 billion) while employing over 76,000 employees globally. In 2018, Haier was listed as one of the world's best employers by Forbes.

The Rendanheyi model was introduced by Mr. Zhang in 2005. “Ren” refers to employees; “Dan” refers to user value; “HeYi” refers to the integration of employees’ value realisation and user value creation. This model means that each employee can create value directly for users (customers) while also realising his or her own value. Employees do not serve the position itself, but instead serve user demands.

Haier’s doctrine in evolutionary innovation and construction of an ecosystem for cultivating world-class talents who generate continuous value combines individual goals to form a win-win culture. It is also the secret to the company’s successful evolution from a small household name into a competitive global enterprise.  

L. Felipe Monteiro, Affiliate Professor of Strategy at INSEAD and the Academic Director of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), says that, “In a global business school like INSEAD, we are always researching and teaching about the emergence of novel managerial practices. I’m convinced many of them will come from multinational companies from emerging markets. Haier is a perfect example. Its organisation innovation model is the global benchmark when it comes to bringing entrepreneurship to large corporations. It is truly a pleasure and privilege to learn about Haier’s Rendanheyi directly from its creator, CEO Zhang, one of the most influential management thinkers in the world.”


From left: L. Felipe Monteiro, Affiliate Professor of Strategy at INSEAD; Mr. Zhang Ruimin, Chairman and CEO of Haier Group;
and Peter Zemsky, INSEAD Deputy Dean and Dean of Innovation

How Businesses can Disrupt with the Rendanheyi Model

During his lecture, Mr. Zhang elaborated on three important ways where businesses can disrupt with the Rendanheyi model.

First, the radical disruption of concepts where employees are treated as autonomous individuals and employers are the nodes of a network. By adopting Rendanheyi, Haier has fostered great entrepreneurial talent and achieved significant financial performance. Haier’s incubation, investment and acceleration platform, HCH Ventures, had gathered 2,483 entrepreneurship projects by the end of 2017. 256 projects had moved on to incubators and 4,325 entrepreneurship and innovation incubation resources were available on the platform. Haier has established 24 incubators in nine countries around the world, providing rich, innovative resources for entrepreneurs.   

Second, the disruption of traditional models such as the bureaucratic management model, marketing model and revenue model. In Haier, the administrative organisation was transformed and the middle management level was removed. The number of registered employees has decreased by 45% since its peak, and the Haier ecosystem now creates more than 1.9 million work opportunities. The company has become a networked organisation where there are only three types of people: the platform owner, the microenterprise owner and the entrepreneur.  

Third, the disruption of linear management where the new modus operandi is based on a self-driven, non-linear network and aims for a “3-zeros” goal that includes zero distance to users, zero delay in experience and zero-signing within the process.

He concluded, “Organisations are similar to gardens with beautiful walls but these boundaries must be ever-expanding. Employees must stay relevant with the times and constantly renew their abilities to create value for their users (customers). At the same time, they should view the customers as co-creators and use the customer feedback to drive their goals. The pre-requisite is that employees must have the space and opportunities to unleash their full potential.”


Mr. Zhang Ruimin, Chairman and CEO of Haier Group, delivering a speech at the INSEAD Europe Campus in Fontainebleau, France, which is live streamed to INSEAD Asia Campus in Singapore

The Winning Formula: From Products to Eco-brands

Mr. Zhang also introduced his ideal of the eco-brand based on the Rendanheyi model and his strong conviction that the age of Internet of Things (IoT) would bring an even greater economic impact than that brought by the Internet age. During the lecture, he shared the guidelines of creating an eco-brand based on the “3E” model – Ecosystem, Ecosystem Revenue and Ecosystem Brand.   

Partnership between INSEAD and Haier

The visit of Mr. Zhang has deepened the relationship between Haier and INSEAD, where several collaborations are ongoing, including joint research and an upcoming case study and academic paper on “The Internationalisation of Haier’s Rendanheyi Organisation Innovation Model” led by Professor Monteiro.  

Haier will also contribute a full chapter on entrepreneurial talent for the upcoming edition of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2019, which will be launched by INSEAD at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019.

About INSEAD, The Business School for the World

As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to develop responsible leaders who transform business and society. Our research, teaching and partnerships reflect this global perspective and cultural diversity.

With locations in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore), the Middle East (Abu Dhabi), and now North America (San Francisco), INSEAD's business education and research spans four regions. Our 162 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our Master in Management,  MBAGlobal Executive MBA, Specialised Master’s degrees (Executive Master in Finance and Executive Master in Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 10,000 executives participate in INSEAD Executive Education programmes each year.

INSEAD continues to conduct cutting-edge research and innovate across all our programmes. We provide business leaders with the knowledge and awareness to operate anywhere. Our core values drive academic excellence and serve the global community as The Business School for the World.

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