Latest Assignment

RC TOM Challenge 2018

November 13, 2018

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The TOM Challenge provides an opportunity for you to continue exploring organizational learning and innovation through the lens of process improvement and/or product development, the focus of RC TOM’s second module. In this challenge, you will investigate how an organization is grappling with machine learning, additive manufacturing, or open innovation. These megatrends are likely to significantly affect how organizations manage process improvement and product development in the coming years of your career. The TOM Challenge requires you to (1) conduct research and write an essay that examines how one organization is facing a particular aspect of one of these megatrends, and (2) write six comments that share your reflections on some of your section mates’ essays.

Your essay should address four questions in the context of the organization you choose:

  1. Why do you think the megatrend you selected is important to your organization’s management of process improvement and/or product development?
  2. What is the organization’s management doing to address this issue in the short term (the next two years) and the medium term (two to ten years out)?
  3. What other steps do you recommend the organization’s management take to address this issue in the short and medium terms?
  4. In the context of this organization, what are one or two important open questions related to this issue that you are unsure about that merit comments from your classmates?

Your essay should convey facts, analysis, and your recommendations. It should focus on a single organization (e.g., a single company, non-profit organization, or government agency) and a concern related to one megatrend. It is fine if the concern you choose relates to other megatrends that the organization is facing, but that’s not required. Roughly a third of your essay should be dedicated to each of the first three questions, with just a few sentences dedicated to the fourth question. Your essay should be at least 700 words but no more than 800 words, and must conclude with a word count in parentheses (such as 778 words).

When posting your essay to Open Knowledge, be sure to enter “Machine Learning”, “Additive Manufacturing”, or “Isolationism” in the Topics field.

More details on research, sourcing, deadlines, and other matters are provided in the RC TOM Challenge: 2018 noteFor assistance with the Open Knowledge platform during business hours (9:00 am – 5:00 pm M-F), email A short video with instructions on how to post an essay to this platform is available at

Submitted (926)

A Machine Learning Pioneer in Grocery: You Guessed It Kroger
Noah Bricker
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 11:24 am
Kroger is paving the future for grocery shoppers through innovative, practical applications of machine learning, robotic process automation, and data analytics. The fact that a 125-year-old grocery chain based in Cincinnati, Ohio is helping lead the way may elicit raised [...]
Machine Learning at the heart of JP Morgan’s growth strategy
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 10:44 am
Although markets have largely recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, significant increases in regulatory burden have affected the profitability of most, if not all, financial institutions. To cope with these rapidly changing regulations, the growing need for high operational efficiency, [...]
Treating Soldiers with Tech
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 8:48 am
Exploring the Department of Defense's bio-additive manufacturing gambit to address mounting soldier care shortcomings
Does Additive Manufacturing Pose a Threat to Gun Control?
Billy Tabrizi IV
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 5:08 pm
The rise of Additive Manufacturing has been lauded as the next industrial revolution for the many efficiencies that it delivers over traditional manufacturing processes. However, increased access to and sophistication of AM technology also presents potential dangers, including interference with [...]
Roche: Improving Drug Discovery and Development with Machine Learning
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 10:08 pm
Machine learning has been touted as a potential cure-all for high drug prices. A number of leading biopharmaceutical companies like Roche have made some large bets in using artificial intelligence tools to improve drug development, but it remains to be [...]
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