Very well written, really liked how Airbnb has incorporated machine learning in its search algorithm so efficiently to personalize recommendation. The deep learning algorithm, explained in your citation  is an interesting read as well.
I agree to your concern and strongly believe that ensuring a highly personalized output without encroaching into the boundaries of privacy is the toughest challenge that Airbnb will face in the near future. Seeking appropriate permissions, using suitable disclaimers, and continuously updating the algorithm to understand which frequently-visited location is the supermarket v.s. which is a weekend-getaway, is key to achieving perfection via algorithmic decision-making. While studying consumer purchase-behaviour, search-behaviour etc by tracking online activities is prevalent, realizing the boundaries of privacy is equally important for sustainable success.
Great read, really liked the process of generative design, and how it allows the designer to generate multiple alternatives in a short duration, significantly improving the development cycle-time. What particularly interested me was the live-performance-monitoring recommendation. Installation of a variety of sensors on critical moving parts can help us analyse a host of outputs ranging from temperature, vibration, stress, speed etc. to send the signal back to the CAD model and update the generative design optimally. I recently read about the impact that real-time data monitoring through Internet-of-things technology via millions of sensors have created in the mining industry in terms of improved productivity. I believe that the same principle can be applied here in the field of ML-augmented design as well. The use of sensors, as correctly identified here, can be extended to enable predictive maintenance as well, thereby extending technical-life of componentry significantly.
Very good read. I completely agree with your recommendation of localized on-the-site 3D printing for construction material, enabling firms to (a) reduce lead times of procuring similar parts from far away and (b) enabling production of highly customised parts specific to the client’s needs. This optimization of supply chain as a key competitive differentiator is what struck me the most. In the mining industry as well, key players are moving to manufacturing of key tools at the site through 3D printing for similar reasons.
I believe the biggest barriers to use of 3D printing in construction will be significant upfront investments and slow rate of production. Based on your citation , to overcome these barriers, larger sized printers at lower costs and significantly higher throughput levels needs to be developed. However I like the idea mentioned in the report (which several startups have started adopting) – having multiple multi-axial smaller and cheaper robot-printers, thus eliminating the upfront cost- and size-barriers.
Very well written, the idea of delivery of vitamins and other nutrients through vapour-based system was an eye opener for me. I like your idea of advising Juul to have open innovation with consumers. In my previous organization, while conducting deep interviews, we met not only loyalists users but also a host of aware-but-non-trialists and particularly, lapsers. Understanding what is not working well is important, but so is understanding what is working well and which aspects to further improve on.
I agree that negative publicitiy is an issue. In order to erase their negative image, the positioning of Juul has to be around the negative effects of cigarette smoking and Juul’s relative advantage, and not around the positive effects of vapour based nicotine intake. A close data-driven tracking of people switching from cigarettes to Vape needs to be publicized, and they should promote only that, not entry of new users (non-smokers) into the category. Advertising should promote that while it is safer than cigarettes, they strongly recommend that non smokers do refrain from using it.
Great essay Haoran, a perfect example of a multinational firm eliminating organizational bureaucracy to shorten product development cycle significantly. While this process streamlines internal functions, I believe that Unilever can also integrate two other aspects viz ‘consumer centricity’ and ‘partnership’ into its open innovation platform. In my previous organization, a ‘breakthrough insights’ program focusing on having deep interviews with consumers helped us unearth key insights in various segments of the personal care and home care industry. Can such an aspect be added to your open innovation cycle, to bring an external consumer-centric perspective into the entire process. For new technology launches, such insights may eliminate the need for large scale researches thus saving time.
Another area is ‘partnership’. I was inspired by Unilever’s Foundry model, whereby Unilever partnered with hundreds of upcoming startups. This program benefitted both parties. While the startups got a platform and funding to scale their technology and test it out, Unilever got access into latest state-of-the-art technologies from these enterpreneurs, gaining significant competitive edge in areas of supply chain, manufacturing, branding, point-of-sale retail.
Great essay, completely agree that 3D printing in shoe manufacturing will lead to highly customisable products suited to the needs to individual athletes. However one question that remains is what will be Adidas’ competitive edge over other major players such as Nike or Puma, who have similarly successfully launched 3D printed shoes as well. While this will expand the industry as a whole, gaining competitive edge over rivals seem difficult.
With respect to your point on counterfeiting, one possible solution can be to integrate RFID trackers within the sole of the shoe, each of which will have an unique identification number that can be verified using an app through the consumer’s smart phone. I know that Salvatore Ferragamo did this some time back, inserting a small tracker in the left sole of women’s shoes. Can a similar approach be taken with 3D printed shoes as well? (Manufacturing feasibility of integrating electronic item during 3D printing needs to be checked)