@cah, I agree with your assessment – I think a technology company would have more streamlined processes and better access to talent and innovation. The technology you’re referring to at Sephora is actually ModiFace’s product! Sephora is one of ModiFace’s biggest customers. Similarly to L’Oreal, I don’t think Sephora has the internal talent to develop these types of algorithms and predictive analytics.
Wow – great topic! You raise a good point with regards to expertise being limited to materials used in the printing process. I would be curious to see how GE intends to scale and train its workforce to adapt to technology that would enable mixed materials in the printing process, e.g., metal and plastic. So many of the business units that live under the wider GE umbrella could benefit substantially from mixed materials technology, in addition to the knowledge base to power this technology.
In the same vein as “someone” above, I also wonder if venture arms should / can be considered ‘open innovation.’ While the rest of the CPG market is trending toward acquisitions and positioning themselves as strategic buyers from the early stages of new food brands, these companies are the innovation hubs of the largest brands in the market to date. Very few acquisitions have turned into the megastars of the the brand portfolio. Will Epic ever be the next Yoplait? The next Betty Crocker?
The future of LEGO is most certainly in e-commerce, but the tactile element of LEGO play is absolutely critical for continued creativity and success. Perhaps, in light of the shrinking physical footprint, LEGO should consider more of a showroom model through pop-up locations or smaller scale doors combined with a robust direct-to-consumer platform from which to order new toys. In today’s world, you often see consumer products being sold directly from company websites having a wider assortment of SKUs and better access to customization. LEGO would benefit enormously from letting customers design online (and share their ideas directly with LEGO through digital sketchbooks), but the creative experience needs to happen in some sort of ‘studio’ for kids or adults. I think the nostalgia of LEGO had stuck with the millennial / older Generation Z crowd, reinforced by adult-oriented pop culture references like The Lego Movie, etc.
Great topic! Your question rings familiar to the question raised during the IBM Watson case – do we, as humans, give machines a narrower confidence interval (or perhaps, a span of 0) than we give ourselves? Do we allow for greater leeway in the capacity for human error than we leave machines (in this case, drones) powered by machines? This instance of warfare, especially in the American context, is a tricky one, that will likely play out in the political landscape in the near future. The extent to which unexpected casualties can be minimized and technological advancements can be maximized will only occur in the private sphere. The American government, frankly speaking, does not have the talent or built-in infrastructure to nurture this kind of technological development. Private enterprises, and the innovation incubated within those private enterprises, are the only path forward for the next generation of AI powered warfare.
Like my fellow sectionmates, I question the financial feasibility of Nike’s approach to 3D printing. Based on the data shared above, it feels as though Nike is pretty behind its competitors on commercializing the 3D printing technology and commercializing it at scale. Sure, it was able to unveil its new “FlyPrint” technology on a textile upper, customized for a specific athlete, but it appears to be significantly behind timelines on its actual market launch. In the 2015 article cited above, Nike’s COO projected imminent commercialization over 3 years ago, and it still hasn’t really launched at scale, versus competitor Adidas, who has been able to release a few iterations of the its Futurecraft 4D midsole (https://www.forbes.com/sites/andriacheng/2018/05/22/with-adidas-3d-printing-may-finally-see-its-mass-retail-potential/). Nike has always put innovation first (e.g., the immense success of Flyknit as a single-thread textile upper), but its success hinges on being first to market on new innovation. I wonder if Nike has missed the boat, to some extent, on this particular innovation in footwear.
I’m curious to understand how much of Sephora’s predictive analytics or customization technology is actually powered in-house. For example, you reference Visual Artist, the AR feature on the mobile app that enables users to try on color makeup using their own image. ModiFace is a leading provider of augmented reality technology to the industry, including Sephora (referenced here: https://digiday.com/marketing/modiface-becoming-go-provider-augmented-reality-beauty-brands/). They are the company that’s behind the mobile and web app visualization, as well as many of Sephora’s in-store digital experiences (e.g., ‘magic’ mirrors and the like). I believe the lion’s share of data is owned and collected by Sephora, but I question whether or not the organization hires highly sophisticated engineers with the capabilities to translate that data into algorithms or databases that can be analyzed through machine learning.