Spring 2021

Machine Learning

Current Prompt

Please pick one company that deploys machine learning or other aspects of deep learning. Amazon uses AI to anticipate when an ad has value. Google uses natural language processing to automate Translate. For this assignment, please choose a company that uses AI in a creative way to drive value creation, value capture, or its operating model.

You may focus on the use of AI as a service, or you may focus on the use of AI as an enhancement of a process of some part of its business. In other words, please describe how the organization deploys AI as a free-standing service around which it develops a business, or as a complement and improvement into its process.

Describe the current challenges and opportunities the company faces in this deployment. Then assess the recommend changes the company needs to make to address these challenges or take advantage of these opportunities. In your post, please consider any organizational changes the company needs to make to achieve its aspirations. While you should devote most of the space to value creation, please make some observations about aspects of the value capture strategy.

(Once again, to make it interesting, please stay away from big data use by the big five – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.)

Create an approximately 800-word post by Wednesday, April 21, at 6 p.m. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts by April 22, 8 a.m. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before class.

Competing with Data

March 23, 2021

Many organizations use large data and data analytics as an essential asset in their business. Think about how Waze collects and analyzes millions of queries every day to estimate traffic flows, or UPS uses hundreds of thousands of sensors to track millions of packages each day to feed users information about the progress of their shipments.

For this assignment, please choose a company that uses large data or data analytics to enhance its business. In other words, big data can be valuable in the context of offering a service or as a complement to another business process. What type of processes generate and renew that asset? What type of investments and process put that asset to use, and creates value for the company? How does the company capture value from large data and analytics? What challenges did the company have to overcome to make use of the assets? What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for the company in the near term?

Devote most of the space to value creation, but feel free to make observations about aspects of the value capture strategy. (Once again, to make it interesting, please stay away from big data use by the big five – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.)

Create an approximately 750 word post to make your contribution by March 23 at 6 p.m.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts by March 24 at 8 a.m. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before class.

Platform Variety

March 02, 2021

Digital technologies give rise to a variety of platforms. Think about how iTunes makes apps available for iPhone users or Match.com helps those seeking partners.

For this assignment, please pick ONE of the following two options:

1) Identify a platform firm, describe how it creates and capture value, and evaluate its scalability and sustainability.  To make it interesting, please stay away from well-known platforms such as those owned by Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.

2) Identify a firm that tried to work with a platform (e.g., Australian banks or X-Fire) or tried to become a platform (e.g., Lexoo). Describe the opportunities and challenges in its journey.

In both cases, stress the strategy for value creation, but feel free to make observations about aspects of value capture.

Create an approximately 750-word post. Make your contribution by 6pm on March 2.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts by 8am on March 3. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before class.

Digital Winners during the Pandemic

February 10, 2021

Digital technologies were already upending many industries and companies before the pandemic. Covid-19 has accelerated those trends. Think about the impact of Door Dash on restaurants, or Shopify’s and Amazon’s impact on the ability of retail stores to develop a new channel.

For this assignment please identify companies/organizations that you think are winning during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please focus on just one organization, and not an entire category of organizations, entrants, or firms. Tell us why they are a winner in this environment. If it is useful for illustrating or explaining their winning approach, you may also refer to losing organizations, entrants, or firms, but these should not be the central feature of the post.

Please place most of the emphasis on how the organization creates value in the short run from its products, services, actions, and strategies. You also should summarize how it captures value. Finally, you may allude to how it is positioned to create and capture value as the pandemic declines. Why do these products, services, actions, and strategies lead you to call them a winner or loser?

Create an approximately 750-word post. Make your contribution by 6pm on February 10.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts by 8am on Feb 11. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before class.

Spring 2020

Digital Innovation and Transformation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 02, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak is a tragedy that will have long-lasting implications for our global economy. The pandemic has showcased the value of digital operating models and is likely to force many companies to speed up their digital innovation and transformation.

For this blog post assignment, please consider ONE of the following questions:

  • Identify an organization that was under significant threat from the COVID-19 outbreak but quickly innovated its operating model to mitigate the impact during the crisis. Please describe the capabilities and processes that enabled these changes and any generalizable lessons for other organizations.
  • Identify an organization that has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and recommend how it can leverage digital innovation to grow again.
  • Identify an organization that has experienced significant growth during the outbreak because of its digital operating model. Discuss whether this growth is short term or not and what actions the organization can take to sustain its growth.

Create an approximately 1000-word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org by 6 pm on May 2.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per assignment. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Competing with Data and AI Challenge

April 21, 2020

Many companies today use data analytics or AI to create and capture value. For this assignment, please choose a company that uses data analytics or AI in a creative way to drive value creation, value capture, or its operating model.

You may focus on use of data analytics or AI to create new products or services, or you may focus on the use of data analytics or AI within the process of some part of its current business. Describe the current challenges and opportunities the company faces in this deployment. Then recommend changes the company needs to make to address these challenges or take advantages of these opportunities. While you should devote most of the space to value creation, please consider the value capture strategy as well.

Assignment

Create an approximately 750-word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org by 6 p.m. on April 21. (To make it interesting, please stay away from well-known big data/AI companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.)

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per assignment. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class.

Platform Business Challenges

March 24, 2020

Digital technologies give rise to a variety of platforms. For this assignment, please pick ONE of the following two options:

1) Identify a platform firm, describe how it creates and capture value, and evaluate its scalability and sustainability.  To make it interesting, please stay away from well-known platforms such as those owned by Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.

2) Identify a firm that tried to work with a platform (e.g., X Fire or Australian banks) or tried to become a platform (e.g., Qihoo). Describe the opportunities and challenges in its journey.

Materials

“Why Some Platforms Thrive and Others Don’t” (Links to an external site.) HBR January-February 2019
“Products to Platforms: Making the Leap” (Links to an external site.) HBR April 2016

Assignment

Create an approximately 750-word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org  by 6 pm on March 24.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per assignment. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class.

Digital Winners and Losers

February 11, 2020

Digital technologies are upending many industries and companies. Think about Uber’s impact on the taxi business or Amazon’s impact on retail stores.

For this assignment, we would like you to identify companies/organizations that you think are winning or losing. Just work on either winners or losers. Please focus on just one organization. Tell us why they are a winner or loser. Discuss elements of how they create and/or capture value that is leading you to call them a winner or loser.

Create an approximately 750-word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org by 6pm on Feb 11. Please create appropriate tags for your post including if it is a “winner” or “loser.” Please also respond to and comment on three other posts. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class.

Fall 2019

Value Creation with AI

December 04, 2019

Please pick one company that deploys machine learning or other aspects of deep learning. Amazon uses AI to anticipate when an ad has value that others will bid. Google uses natural language processing to automate Translate. For this assignment, please choose a company that uses AI in a creative way to drive value creation, value capture, or its operating model.

You may focus on use of AI as a service, or you may focus on the use of AI within the process of some part of its business. In other words, please describe how the organization deploys AI as a free-standing service around which it develops a business, or as a complement and improvement into its process. Describe the current challenges and opportunities the company faces in this deployment. Then assess the recommend changes the company needs to make to address these challenges or take advantages of these opportunities. In your post, please consider any organizational changes the company needs to make to achieve its aspirations. While you should devote most of the space to value creation, please make some observations about aspects of the value capture strategy.

1000 words max.

Competing with Data

November 13, 2019

Many organizations use large data and data analytics as an essential asset in their business. Think about how Waze collects and analyzes millions of queries every day to estimate traffic flows or airlines organize the requests for seats for hundreds of thousands of users each day to reset their pricing, or UPS uses hundreds of thousands of sensors to track millions of packages each data to feed users information about the progress of their shipments.

For this assignment, please choose a company that uses large data or data analytics to enhance its business. In other words, big data can be valuable in the context of offering a service or as a complement to another business process. How does data serve as an asset in their business? What type of investment are required to build and renew that asset? What type of investments and process put that asset to use, and creates value for the company? How does the company capture value from large data and analytics? What challenges did the company have to overcome to make use of the assets? What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for the company in the future? Devote most of the space to value creation, but feel free to make observations about aspects of the value capture strategy. (Once again, to make it interesting, please stay away from big data use by the big five – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.)

800 words max