Haoran, this was a very interesting article about Unilever was able to dramatically reduce their product development cycle through open innovation. This was especially eye-opening to me because I had been under the impression that open innovation always came from external consumers – I loved seeing how different parts of the organization and external consultants came together to completely rethink how the process was done. It felt very similar to IDEO where previous notions about what could or could not be done were ignored!
I am curious to know if this approach would work against Unilever in other countries where they are potentially not competing against smaller companies. Does this also work against large companies? And how easy is it for larger companies to repeat this?
Fascinating read! I was very surprised that NASA, an organization that in my mind stood for creative thinking, (how else could they have gotten to the moon??) is known instead for rigid thinking. For all the more, it was very interesting to see how they have used 3D printing on the ISS and how NASA hopes to use it in the future. I can see how transportation logistics, repairs, and astronaut safety can be improved if this type of technology were perfect to work in zero gravity. Seeing the habitat challenge made me think of all of the things that could be built once that was perfected! (Cars, appliances, maybe even food!?).
In response to your question about balancing innovation in a safety-driven organization made me agree with the above comments that partnerships and outsourcing innovation is critical to this mission. The more that new ideas can be crowd sourced and developed externally lessens the risk on NASA. As mentioned by Mark Walport, the Government Chief Scientific Advisor of the UK, sharing risk and funds between the government, private companies, and R&D competitions is critical to finding proven and scalable innovative technologies (https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/reports/14-1190b-innovation-managing-risk-evidence.pdf). In addition, maintaining a quality- and test-driven product development cycle is crucial to ensuring that new innovations go through the proper checks.
How can and should NASA maintain its pursuit of innovation in their product development processes as a large federal organization whose core mission revolves around safety critical systems?
When I first looked at the title of this post, I got really excited to think about using AI such as IBM Watson in a developing country like India. However, not only did you raise the point about unproven efficacy of Watson in diagnosing cancer compared to oncologists, but it also raises the question of what India truly needs and is ready for. To your point, EMRs are only just being used, which brings into question the type of data that an Indian population would have in comparison to a more developed healthcare infrastructure. Watson would most likely need Indian-specific data to train itself on since Indian populations are usually genetically susceptible to different diseases compared to white Western populations, meaning that it might not be ready to diagnosis in India.
This also reminded me of something an old boss of mine once said when talking about a small nonprofit that wanted to purchase an overly expensive and complicated IT solution for their organization – “They want to buy a cruise ship, but they’re swimming in a pond. They only need a rowboat”. Similarly, despite the enormous power of Watson, I am not sure it would have the most impact in India. An article in BMJ Global Health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6135465/) explores the implications of using AI in developing countries; while they clearly outline the huge potential for clinicians to be able to do more for patients, it also mentions that while diagnostic algorithms are useful, they may be irrelevant because some countries may not be equipped to care for patients even if they are diagnosed. While this may not be the case in all parts of India, I think it is important to think about the lower hanging fruit that exists (diagnosing other more commonly treated conditions, improving access, etc) that could be applicable in developing countries.
P.S. Spangler – please server better food on the weekends 🙂
Found this article about insurance in South Africa very fascinating! It was interesting to see all of the parallels between the insurance system in the US and in S. Africa – machine learning is used for similar reasons and fight a similar problem wherein a small percentage of the cared-for population contributes to the majority of healthcare spending. Because of this, I feel like Discovery definitely needs to begin to invest in their own in-house machine learning / AI capabilities. If healthcare trends are similar in SA (rising healthcare costs and an aim to be more accessible) then it is all the more reason to utilize this technology to target and intervene in the right populations efficiently.
A report by Accenture says that most insurance companies use 10-15% of the data they have access to (https://www.accenture.com/t20180822T093440Z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/PDF-84/Accenture-Machine-Leaning-Insurance.pdf). Machine learning / AI can allow these companies to better target patients, design personalized marketing and interventions, and have more strategic pricing and risk assessments. If Discovery can leverage this megatrend, then this means that they should be able to better serve low-income groups, so long as the low-risk groups continue to be a part of the risk pool.
This was a really thought-provoking article! As someone who has not been very knowledgeable about high fashion (or regular fashion for that matter), I was fascinated to see how 3D printing could change the perception of fashion. I was especially intrigued by the concept of in-home 3D clothes printers and the longer-term implications for how this may change how a buyer interacts with a brand. I wonder if this will also lead to a future of more sustainable, eco-friendly clothing; because materials for 3D printing can be sourced differently than traditional fabrics, hopefully this can be an opportunity to ease into my recyclable options.
I am also excited for the possibility this will bring to smaller, lesser known designers. Historically, 3D printers were inaccessible to emerging designers, costing between $50k and $100k (https://www.forbes.com/sites/traceywelsonrossman/2018/02/07/3-d-printing-poised-to-revolutionize-the-fashion-industry/#4039c74b170f). Now, these machines cost less than $5000, which opens it up for emerging designers to take a foothold in the fashion world. Not only will this provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs, but it could bring about a new world of creativity in technology-enabled fashion and clothing.