RC TOM Challenge 2018

November 13, 2018

Read The Full Prompt

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 openknowledge@hbs.edu. A short video with instructions on how to post an essay to this platform is available at https://digital.hbs.edu/platform-rctom/how-to/.

Responses (927)

Printing the Future of Athletic Shoes at Adidas
Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:28 am
As the speed and quality of additive manufacturing improves, innovative companies like Adidas are bringing 3D printing from the prototyping lab to the manufacturing floor.
Machine learning and Tencent
Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:25 am
Data analytics has changed the world in many ways and it is becoming more important in the digital era. However, with the increased size of data available, human race starts to produce more mistakes and incorporates more biases. Machine learning [...]
Made In Space. Literally.
Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:25 am
Additive manufacturing could revolutionize spacecraft construction, and one company is making it happen.
D.E. Shaw: Double Down or Diversify?
Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:25 am
D.E. Shaw has been a pioneer in quantitative investing since it was founded in the late 80s. Since then, it has focused its efforts on machine learning and other AI-based investment strategies.
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