The shift towards the mobile era definitely poses a significant challenge for the print news industry. I wonder if the NYT will ever get rid of print altogether — or perhaps only deliver printed copies to those with personal subscriptions (rather than stores for sale). If that were the case, they’d have a lot of equipment they’d need to find a way to sell. I also wonder how the NYT will remain profitable as people develop expectations that online media content should be free. You’ve mentioned a few different strategies that they are pursuing. I’m just not confident that a subscription service will be a feasible source of revenue generation in a world where there are so many easy online work-arounds.
I found Sears’ dedication to improving customer service / appliance failure troubleshooting very interesting. You mentioned that their goal is to reach a 95% resolution rate on the first diagnosis attempt, versus an industry average of 75%. I wonder what steps they’re taking to help reach this ambitious goal. You mentioned that they’re using data collection to help with troubleshooting. Are they using data to identify the most common problems, which they will then invest in training their repairmen to better address? Additionally, are they investing more in general training up front, are they hiring more experienced repairmen, or are they being more selective when determining their product line in order to best position them to reach their goals?
This is a great example of how a company has made a business as an intermediary by providing value across the entire supply chain.
I was surprised to see that only colleges are currently being charged for the company’s services. To me that pricing structure seems to leave Handshake vulnerable to colleges developing their own in-house platforms in an effort to circumvent a costly middleman. I think colleges could relatively easily develop a platform like this themselves and have employers want to communicate through it. On the other hand, employers wouldn’t be able to make a platform like this themselves, so charging them wouldn’t push them towards developing their own technology. Consequently, I agree with your suggestion to “implement supplemental pricing model for employers.” And I’d potentially push that a bit further and recommend that Handshake shift almost all of the burden away from the colleges and onto the employers.
Much of the digitization you mentioned makes a lot of sense — the tech-enabled info systems allow for significant cost reduction, the online shopping improves access, and the self check-out reduces lines and potentially a need for human labor. However, efforts to increase digitization don’t all necessarily make sense. In particular, I was surprised by the “smart carts.” Unless Whole Foods is having problems with overcrowded stores, I don’t see why it would be in their best interest to help customers shop more efficiently. As we saw with Ikea, the maze-like layout can help increase sales. I’d imagine Whole Foods would want people to wander, to find things they had forgotten to put on their shopping list, to sample foods they might not have otherwise considered buying, and to add random items that pique their interest along the way. So, in general, I’d just warn against assuming that the use of more digitization is always better (not that this is something you had implied in your post).
I agree that it would be unwise to base all predictions on voter’s historical decisions. However, I worry that you also run into a significant bias when people are asked to report who they plan to vote for: if a person lives in a community where one candidate is more socially acceptable than another, they might report a preference for that candidate, but actually vote in private for the other. Therefore, I think a combination of the two is needed. And I’d argue that rather than “go back to the basics,” companies like Civis should strike a balance by using both methodologies.
This is a great example of a company spurred by climate change to develop innovative technology to reduce waste. I imagine saving 2 million pounds of waste has translated to cost-savings for Nike as well.
Going forward, I am curious to see how Nike will market its sustainable products. Will these features be communicated to the customer or will they be hidden as to not cause concern about a quality trade-off? It seems like if Nike is committed to developing a variety of sustainable products going forward, it would be in Nike’s best interest to educate its consumers on the benefits of sustainable technology and allay their concerns about sacrifices to quality. I would hope Nike’s dedication to sustainability will encourage other retailers to follow its lead.
It definitely looks like Coca Cola is taking a leading role in water stewardship: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/sustainabilityreport/world/water-stewardship.html#section-mitigating-riskfor-communities-and-for-our-system. Which initiatives seem the most promising / impactful?
I wonder what role competitors have played in encouraging Coca Cola take this initiative. Is Coca Cola the first mover, or has Pepsi pursued similar initiatives? As you’ve alluded to, one incentive for Coca Cola to invest in sustainable practices is to avoid negative PR. But if Pepsi is doing the same thing, is negative PR a real threat?
It definitely seems like Partners is on the right track with its sustainability initiatives.
But I wonder what, if anything, Partners could do to reduce waste. When I think of hospitals, I think of a lot of one-time use supplies (e.g. gloves, gauze, etc). I understand that, first and foremost, the hospital is concerned with the efficacy of such supplies. But I wonder if Partners and other hospitals have applied any pressure on their suppliers to create environmentally friendly (similarly effective) products. Or if there are any recycling initiatives undertaken by these institutions. Maybe such initiatives wouldn’t have a large enough environmental impact to justify the additional costs?
I want to echo Drew’s comment above. After reading this post, the first thought that came to mind was is there a viable substitute? If harvesting palm oil is so deleterious to the environment and Unilever’s sustainability efforts have failed to meet their set goals, could Unilever reconsider its use of palm oil altogether?
I did a bit of googling and found this article, which discusses this exact issue (see link below). It sounds like palm oil has “two main stellar properties: an exceptionally high melting point and very high saturation levels” — a characteristic not shared by any other vegetable oil. However, research suggests that yeast, which would require 10-100 times less land for production, may be a viable alternative. I hope this is something Unilever is looking into!
I was struck by the “Egg” invention. Although, from your description, it does not sound like the “Egg” mitigates the long-term effects of climate change, it is certainly an adaptive solution to a challenging problem, which MH faces. Are other fisheries coming up with similar technology of their own? If not, do you think MH would ever go into the business of selling the “Egg” to other companies?
As you’ve stated, snow-making requires a significant amount of energy, which is is both costly for the resort and bad for the environment. An initiative Vail Resorts could take to reduce the need for snow-making is to either shorten the season or to close more slopes. I doubt Vail would want to shorten the ski season, since that would lead to a significant loss of revenue, but perhaps Vail would be willing to close more slopes in the beginning and end of the season. Even if Vail weren’t able to offer great skiing in the beginning and end of the season, perhaps they could focus on developing other activities around the resort to keep customers satisfied (and to potentially earn additional revenue). For example, if Vail were to host major concerts or film festivals (like Sundance) during those warmer weeks, perhaps Vail could continue to attract skiers who would buy ski tickets but wouldn’t require excellent conditions to have a good time and want to come back.