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January 11 , 2010

Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations


Great individuals are assumed to cause the success of radical innovations – thus Henry Ford is depicted as the one who established the automobile industry in America. Hayagreeva Rao tells a different story, one that will change the way you think about markets forever. He explains how "market rebels" – activists who defy authority and convention – are the real force behind the success or failure of radical innovations.

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Rao shows how automobile enthusiasts were the ones who established the new automobile industry by staging highly publicized reliability races and lobbying governments to enact licensing laws. Ford exploited the popularity of the car by using new mass-production technologies.

Rao argues that market rebels also establish new niches and new cultural styles. If it were not for craft brewers who crusaded against "industrial beer" and proliferated brewpubs, there would be no specialty beers in America. But for nouvelle cuisine activists who broke the stranglehold of Escoffier's classical cuisine in France, there would have been little hybridization and experimentation in modern cooking.

Market rebels also thwart radical innovation. Rao demonstrates how consumer activists have faced down chain stores and big box retailers, and how anti-biotechnology activists in Germany penetrated pharmaceutical firms and delayed the commercialization of patents.

Read Market Rebels to learn how activists succeed when they construct "hot causes" that arouse intense emotions, and exploit "cool mobilization" – unconventional techniques that engage audiences in collective action. You will realize how the hands that move markets are the joined hands of market rebels.

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