Great essay Kimia! I have been to many Cirque du Soleil shows but never really realized how unique the talent of individual artists was and how individual productions could now suffer from the recent isolationistic tendencies. Also, it is fascinating to see what Cirque du Soleil has done so far to streamline the visa process and mitigate potential risks that such a global show is exposed to.
However, I believe that there is little that the management could do at this moment to further reduce risks here in the US, as the current administration has declared immigration to one of its priority topics. Consequently, I do not see any path to success using increased lobbying, given that there are companies that suffer significantly under the current political climate but haven’t been able to influence the administration in spite of large investments (Silicon Valley Tech companies in particular: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/03/06/trumps-new-travel-ban-raises-the-same-silicon-valley-objections/?utm_term=.b574e3fe7ed6).
Instead the focus, especially in the short-term until there is a more favorable political climate, should be on domestic productions – ideally with artists that will most certainly not face any visa issues – and further diversification into less “labor-intensive” entertainment products. Given the international network and the breadth of relationships, I see enormous potential in either shows that do not depend so much on capable artists or business models that are adjacent to the current entertainment focus of the company. This could also lead to opening up new market segments and new customers for Cirque du Soleil, who prefer different kinds of shows than productions that are mainly focused on acrobatic acts.
Madeline – great essay, I always love to read about innovations in the airline/airport industry.
Given how often I waited for my luggage to arrive or even worse spent several days without my clothes, there is a definite need for innovation/change in this area.
I find the idea of having your luggage picked up from your home very intriguing, however, I imagine that this might not be so much a tracking-related issue as more a logistical coordination issue. Nevertheless, a few years down the road with the introduction of self-driving cars, there might indeed be an opportunity.
With regards to new luggage technology, there are some innovations that might be the first step towards your vision. Recently Rimowa introduced a piece of luggage with an electronic tag (a display that shows the destination incl. barcode) – see links:
This reduces not only the need for human interaction as there is no physical tag on the bag but also helps to avoid complications that arise when the paper-based luggage tag is lost. Of course, this can only be considered a very early step, but it shows that the luggage manufacturers are definitely in line with your thinking of your operations can be further smoothened.
Great essay – really interesting read with a very relevant geographical focus. From my perspective, it seems that LATAM Airlines has already done a lot to reduce its emission. For example, the fleet age of around seven years would place them in the second spot of all American carriers, only beaten by the new incumbent Spirit Airlines (https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/07/03/average-fleet-age-of-the-10-major-us-airlines.aspx). Consequently, I believe that there is little room for improvement for now and LATAM should in turn rather focus on other parts of the business.
Moreover, I see the investment in alternative fuel developments very critical. From my perspective, alternative fuel sources, especially biofuel, have faced some recent backlash as the production causes several negative externalities and side effects. First and foremost, production of biofuel could lead to increased pressure on food production as it takes farming land and yield away from areas that could also be used for growing wheat or corn (https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-biofuels.php)
Nevertheless, in general, the aviation industry should be at the forefront of innovation to further limit its contribution to global warming and especially the in-flight measures offer some additional potential for CO2 savings.
It is horrible to see how such a beautiful country suffers and faces an uncertain future because of climate trends that they have no influence over. However, while the former president Nasheed was a great advocate for the Maldives on an international stage (he founded the Climate Vulnerable Fund – later to be known as the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) group of nations, recent political developments have certainly lost some focus.
The relief programs targeted at providing new locations for inhabitants to live, neglecting all standards of sustainability (https://www.euromoney.com/article/b14qq2dslcm1zd/climate-change-mixed-messages-on-the-maldives-waterfront). The government takes money from Chinese development banks (instead of using funds available from the several climate funds), begging the question if the focus is really on long-term survival or instead on economic development for tourism.
In general, the United Nations should feel obliged to commit to concrete and measurable goals of emissions that would keep the temperature increase at below 2 degree Celsius. However, at the moment I believe there is little hope given the beliefs of the current US administration and the fact that a country with a population of less than half a million inhabitants does not play a significant role in world politcs, regardless of how beautiful the beaches are.
After reading this essay, I am definitely craving for a burger! Although being a fancy gimmick, I do not see the automated kiosks as a useful initiative to reduce wait times. As you pointed out in your essay (and from my own experience), the order process is hardly the bottleneck in the operations of Shake Shack as the order fulfillment usually causes the majority of the waiting time.
Additionally, I believe there is a debate whether these kiosks, in fact, reduce labor costs through layoffs. For example, McDonalds stated earlier this year that the introduction of the automated-ordering kiosks would not reduce in significant layoffs, as workers would be moved to other parts of the restaurants to improve service quality (http://www.businessinsider.com/what-self-serve-kiosks-at-mcdonalds-mean-for-cashiers-2017-6).
Moreover, I am critical when it comes down to the extension of the delivery business going forward. While there are some foods that are predestined for delivery (such as sushi or pizza), Burgers are definitely not one of them. Every time I ordered a burger, the fries were soft and soggy while the burger was cold and unsatisfying. Hence, I believe that Shake Shack would compromise on its otherwise superior quality when it focuses more on their delivery operations going forward
Personally, I also value human interaction as a key part of the restaurant experience. Consequently, I am not convinced that the introduction of kiosks will contribute to the brand perception/value for customers.
Well researched essay Katie! Really exciting to see how Trump will decide on this matter (maybe you should send the essay to Pennsylvania Ave).
It is fascinating to see how an industry that was “hot” only a few years back now struggles with staying relevant both in terms of relevance and domestic production. The problem you described seems to be a global issue as there were also many German solar panels producers that had to file for bankruptcy, mostly blaming Chinese imports for their faith. However, from my perspective, the German government is partly to blame for that as they promised significant subventions for households to install solar panels in order to reduce the overall dependency on coal. As a consequence, price dumping from government-backed Chinese suppliers became common and domestic manufacturer could no longer sustain their R&D focused business model.
I wonder if Tesla can turn the ship around for Solarworld, given the typical Tesla-approach of promising society-changing paradigm shits but struggling in the implementation phase of these ideas. As investors have become increasingly critical on Tesla’s future outlooks following a wave of complaints on the quality of the Tesla Model 3, I am a little worried that Musk and his management team will not have the time and focus to turn around Solarworld. The ultimate success on the solar industry also hinges on the overall government point of view of renewables, as increased focus on “cheap” coal could make investments in solar technology less attractive.