Awesome essay, Jaclyn! As a huge Lego fan, I found it very intriguing to see how Lego is trying to interact with the new generation of children. On your first question, I really liked your recommendation that they partner up with retailers and suppliers for further idea generation and product prototyping. That didn’t even cross my mind as I was reading this as I was so focused on the consumer. I think it would be extremely interesting to hear from toy retailers (maybe a store like Target) as they are seeing the daily reactions of children to toys and are also seeing what parents are pulled towards in the aisles.
To your second question, I worry about Lego venturing into VR for children because, as you mentioned, parents want Legos so that their children stay away from screens. Would they lose their current customer base if they moved towards VR? I think a crowd sourcing platform to hear from parents would be critical to ensure they are not losing any part of their customer base to keep up with new technology. One idea that I think could combine the best of Legos and new technology is for children to build a scene with physical Legos and then be able to explore the scene with a VR experience. I won’t lie, I am not sure if or how this is possible, but open innovation is supposed to draw out even the craziest ideas!
I love the idea that Gantri is connecting consumers with designers that don’t have a platform or physical product but do have many great ideas! When I was reading this, I wondered if this could become some version of a site like Etsy where designers could post their designs online for a wide range of products, but then Gantri would produce and ship the physical product. Do you think 3D printing is moving in the direction to support a wide range of products (i.e. products not made of plastic)?
While I do find their business model replicable, I wonder if the significant up front costs of buying 3D printers would prevent smaller entrants to enter into the market. I am concerned that a large corporation, such as Etsy, could take this on…or maybe they would buy Gantri! One additoinal idea for Gantri is customization. I am very intrigued by the idea I could easily connect with a designer who could produce a light specially for me. It could be extremely powerful to have a platform for these kind of connections to take place for designers and consumers alike!
Thanks for sharing this! It is extremely interesting to learn more about UNICEF’s use of open innovation and how it is driving their development of technology and impact. As you noted, there are some key risks such as exploitation that I worry about. While I love the idea of being able to share data and key learnings to generate more ideas, I wonder if at this point the data sharing would be “dangerous” to the volatile communities served by UNICEF because of the sensitive information collected. While I would hope the people using this information are well intentioned, I do worry about companies using the data for exploitative reasons. I wonder if there is some way to monitor the use of the data to keep track of its uses and over time expand the repository if it is driving positive change.
Additionally, as mentioned in the above comments, as this practice of open innovation grows at UNICEF, I hope they continue to include local voices in the conversations to ensure that they are capturing opinions and suggestions of experts and people who are on the ground of the populations they are servicing. By including local experts in the conversation they will have deep know how which can only advance the conversations and implementation of ideas.
I really relate to this article as I just went through the experience of furnishing my apartment. I wish I had known about Wayfair’s “Search with Photo” and “View in Room 3D” initiatives!
I definitely think that this industry is a challenge for online-only stores as furniture is something customers want to feel/touch. Because of this, I think that it is very smart for Wayfair to think about opening a store – partly to help their machine learning and partly to give customers piece of mind. What I mean by this is that if customers are buying the same product over and over after visiting a store, but not when they see it online only, it probably has a certain quality (i.e. comfort) that is drawing them in. Knowing this could lead the store to promote this item and push it to more people to see. Also, by having a storefront, and noting items online which are in stores and selling well, customers might feel relieved that other customers are testing the items out. I also see issues with an online-only model because furniture is very hard to return if a customer doesn’t like it. With this in mind, I think gathering the maximum amount of information through an omnichannel strategy and using machine learning can only help Wayfair to become more successful.
This is an extremely interesting topic! I can’t imagine a world without cooking, but it seems like it might be possible, and sooner then I would have ever thought. While I do believe that this technology has the potential to have a huge impact on our daily lives, I do wonder whether it is truly possible to remove cooking from the equation in all households (excluding the people who cook because they enjoy it). Could a 3D printer make a smoothie? It is instances like this where I think it might still be useful for someone to make something on their own.
One thought that came to mind while reading this is the potential for Natural Machines to pair with IoT technology. I imagine a day where I send a signal to my 3D food printer that I am on the way home and dinner is ready for me when I get there. Another company that Natural Machines might look to work with is Suvie (https://www.suvie.com/). I found this company fascinating as they too are trying to eliminate complicated cooking in the home. While you still have to buy the inputs, the Suvie machine knows the time it takes to cook and will have your meal ready at your requested time.
Like Christie above, I too am a long-time Fitbit wearer and am constantly checking my sleep and steps to ensure that I am “healthy”. The problem I have is that healthy is a metric I define and the conclusions I make are essentially my opinions (i.e. I don’t sleep enough, I should be more active). I really like the above thoughts on using machine learning to understand health conditions. If it was scientifically proven that if I took 15K steps per day I had a better chance of avoiding disease, I’m sure I would make the time. The one issue I do see is people being okay with their data used in this manner. I as a consumer would be concerned that you were pairing my medical records with my Fitbit patterns. Though you said “Unsupervised Machine Learning” as an everyday consumer I am not totally sure what that means and how private or unsupervised it truly is.
I am also quite intrigued by your fun question above. While I am not sure how you use machine learning to see how people with unhealthy habits live long lives, I do wonder if there is any common factor in these people besides genetics. Maybe that is something that machine learning can look into!