It is apparent the advantage that 3D printing can bring to an industry where demand can be hard to predict and excess supplies can quickly build up, so the attraction of Safilo to 3D printing is easy to understand. I am concerned with the low volume that is able to be manufactured through this process and wonder if it will be able to get to the level needed for a company like Safilo to properly utilize it. I am also concerned about the high amount of time and labor that will go into finishing touches after the product has completed the printing process and if there is really an advantage to be gained at this point in time. As the technology gets more and more sophisticated perhaps it will be possible to have the machine perform all of these processes for Safilo, but I think this might also present a different issue. Since Safilo is producing a CPG, as the machines get better and are more common in the world is there a risk that people will take their designs and make their own glasses rather than purchasing them?
I like your point about how this process could potentially lead to a simplified supply chain by reducing the number of manufacturing sites required. As far as the challenges that GE should take on first it sounds like they are already addressing one of the biggest ones with the government, which could be a huge advantage down the road. I would also like to see if they are going to take on a role of working hand in hand with their suppliers in order to increase their capabilities in additive manufacturing or if they will instead start producing more parts in house as they begin to gain expertise.
I find the application of Amelia to be incredibly interesting. The fact that they are able to use machine learning in a part of their business that is so integral to the overall company is extremely advantageous. I do think that eventually Allstate will have a moral dilemma on their hands, but from a business point of view it is a good issue to have. As long as Amelia is able to continue to leave customers more satisfied than a customer service rep, and Allstate is then able to use this as a way to lower overall cost to the customer, I think the Allstate will remain a large player in the insurance game for years to come.
I think Walmart has a lot to gain when it comes to machine learning, but it also seems like Amazon has a bit of a lead/advantage. I think partnering with Microsoft is huge for them and makes them a much more credible threat to Amazon’s livelihood, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I am also interested to understand how the perception of Jet.com and Walmart as a brand factors into the overall success since their image is seemingly very different from that of Amazon’s. Well written piece and a good read!
Going to the Food Dev meetings sounds like a great experience! While you may be right, and these may mostly function as a “show” to customers, it sounds like the ideas that employees bring could be very valuable. Since they are working with products every day, and potentially have the ability to bounce ideas off of customers and other employees, they might have a better grasp on what people are interested in when compared to the executives of the company. Also, since you mentioned that customers have the ability to submit a product with the Champion Form it sounds like the open innovation process is doing its job and allowing anybody to submit their idea. Even if this is more of a formality, it would only take one customer getting an idea correct in order for it to have been worth it.
I think the way I see something like this scaling is more as a funnel towards a meeting that would then involve the key decision makers. However, the issue with this would be that it would take longer to complete meetings and get products into stores, which seems to be important to that process. I am curious to see if they are able to accomplish scaling this aspect of the business or if they feel that continuing it at only a few location is adequate to get the results they need.
I personally love LEGO and feel nostalgia simply from reading through your essay. I think that both platforms, LEGO Ideas and LEGO Life, have a place in LEGO’s future, but I am not sure how big of a role they will be able to play. I don’t see many concerns with privacy or reputation, since I imagine the majority of the people who will use the websites already hold LEGO in high regard and won’t have that image changed based on what other, non-affiliated people post.
My concern for LEGO going forward would be its ability to stay relevant in a digital world when so much of its value is tied to a physical product. Without having played with LEGOs as a young kid, I don’t think other products, such as video games and movies, would have had much value to me. It seems like the only way that LEGO can truly succeed is if they widen the funnel for their open innovation platform beyond super-fans and children in order to get more people bought into the creation of the brand, which would hopefully generate additional sales after the products are developed and work to create further brand awareness.