Eric C

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Great essay – thank you. I agree that this is a perfect example of where Open Innovation can make a huge difference: a large, slow-moving organization trying to compete in a rapidly developing market. Unilever should continue to employ these strategies in new markets, as should other large multi-national corporations; otherwise, it’s likely that they will lose market share to nimble start-ups that do not have the same organizational barriers to innovation.

This is an awesome example of open innovation. I’ve been to iFLY before and completely agree that they needed to improve the experience in order to drive same-store sales growth. I like your idea of creating a customer portal, although it’s unclear to me if people have enough brand loyalty to iFLY to spend time on it and help them innovate. I think iFLY should consider partnering with extreme sports organizations like the X-Games to create more diverse VR experiences for a wider range of customers (e.g. snowboard half-pipe), which would grow their TAM while generating more brand awareness.

I think your question around data-driven decision making vs. creativity is critical for the entertainment industry, but I don’t think they necessarily have to be at odds. As studios’ machine learning capabilities continue to increase, I think they’ll be able to identify the high-level factors that make a movie successful (e.g. story line construction, types of actors/actresses, etc.) while still leaving plenty of room for creativity in the scripting and production processes.

As you mentioned above, there’s such a massive range of financial outcomes for movies today, and I think machine learning can help studios avoid negative returns while still leaving room for the creation of hugely innovative movies like Avatar.

If Kraft Heinz is smart, I think they can continue to grow even as private label becomes a larger percentage of total CPG spend. As you suggest, Kraft needs to innovate internally or acquire compelling CPG start-ups, and leverage its enormous scale and distribution capabilities to generate strong returns. I think Kraft should view its existing staples (ketchup, mustard, etc.) as annuities given the long-term threat from private label, and use their significant cash flow to invest in (or acquire) products in innovating categories, which their machine learning platforms can help them identify. If they don’t move quickly, they will continue to lose share to private label and Amazon.

On November 11, 2018, Eric C commented on GE: Paving the Way in Medical Technology Using 3D Printing :

This is fascinating – I had no idea GE Healthcare was so far along with 3D printing.

There’s no doubt that additive manufacturing can be hugely beneficial to healthcare, but I wonder what GE needs to do to gain widespread adoption within the medical community. Doctors tend to be risk-averse, which makes it difficult to sell them revolutionary products. Should GE be partnering with top medical schools to help integrate additive manufacturing into the medical vocabulary? Should they pilot these products within large, well-known hospitals? It’ll be interesting to see which go-to-market approach GE chooses.

On November 11, 2018, Eric C commented on Future of Footwear? Additive Manufacturing at Adidas :

This is a great essay. It’s interesting that you think Adidas should hold off on releasing Futurecraft to the mass market. My inclination would be for them to advertise this shoe as widely as possible in an effort to become known as the pioneer in 3D printed sneakers. This would be accretive to Adidas’ brand, and make Nike look like a laggard in the category. Regardless of their marketing strategy, I agree with you that highly customized 3D printed sneakers will become very common in the future and will revolutionize the way we shop for shoes.