Thanks for the interesting read! Thus far, it seems that wearable tech has been limited to the bracelets/watches that serve as fitness trackers. I wonder if companies like Nike can take wearable tech to a new level and apply technology to their shoes or clothing lines to offer value to customers. Can clothes be adjustable based on the amount of heat you’re generating or how cold it is outside? Can sneakers adjust to provide better comfort based on the surface you’re walking on? How can Nike reorganize its staff to get more collaboration between core product development teams and digital technology teams to push the envelope on innovation?
Really interesting read! As players become dependent on offering and recommending multiple business services, however, I wonder how they will control the image of their company. A few questions to consider are: (1) How can companies ensure that their partners are reliable? (2) When partners do turn out unreliable, how does a brand disassociate itself so that they don’t face the customer backlash/damage to customer trust? Reliability is especially important in countries like China that have historically had fake businesses try to take advantage of the most recent trends. Additionally, if these issues prevent the rise of other O2O startups (who have a harder time gaining a foothold because of trust issues), how do we ensure a strong, competitive environment to companies like WeChat so that the recommendations provided by these large companies are balanced with consumer interests (as opposed to making recommendations simply for the greatest monetary gain)?
Data is definitely a key component in improving operations, but FedEx needs to think beyond shipment information to compete in today’s technologically advanced world. As tech companies experiment with new shipment methods such as drones and driverless cars, FedEx needs to find new ways to leverage technology and stay ahead of the curve. One issue I’ve seen with FedEx is their weariness and dismissal of disruption to the actual shipment method which seems naive given the large amount of experimentation taking place. To retain their status as a top shipment company, they need to change the culture of their firm and challenge themselves to try new types of delivery.
Hourly Nerd has an interesting value proposition. However, it may be at risk as consulting firms come under increasing pressure to provide better work-life balance to retain top employees. If consulting firms are able to better negotiate hours or staff larger teams of consultants, they may continue to have a competitive edge. They are able to offer compensation packages that are more stable and competitive than freelance consultants. Additionally, consultants through Hourly Nerd may actually have to work longer hours to ensure a “satisfied client” whereas consulting firms can better ensure payment for its employees.
Finally, as consulting firms focus on developing their digital capabilities, they may hold a competitive edge over freelance, siloed consultants who can’t provide best-in class services because they aren’t part of an organized network.
I totally agree that the problem of cracking the issues facing news is a critical one. While researching the NYT, I had similar concerns about how news can adapt to the digital age. From a business perspective, I think Bezos’ leadership has been incredible – both for helping to recruit top talent and finding new revenue streams (ex: selling software to other publishers). However, I can’t help but think Bezos and the obsessions with data in publishing news is feeding a vicious cycle of sensationalism in news. Many practices in digital are in tension with the standards necessary for integrity in journalism. Unbiased, quality reporting is not only about building trust with the population but also about educating the masses and promoting intelligent discourse in society. It is arguable that the news’ obsession with the most attention grabbing headlines, most viral content, and ‘simple’ presentation are contributing to less critical thinking among people and normalization of apathy for serious issues facing the world. It will be interesting to see how creative news providers can be to elevate standards of integrity in journalism while still using technology to promote sales of their content.
I wholeheartedly agree that the government should issue hospitals carbon credits. At the end of (at least one) “food chain” in healthcare, their behavior can impact market behavior. Hospitals have a difficult time changing practices because of their complex systems and the high risk of compromising quality care. Their current needs are also (mainly) driven by the need to improve patient outcomes — and you see most innovative products in healthcare focused on this goal alone. While these outcomes need to remain priority, hospitals need to consume less energy and produce less waste. Hospitals should push healthcare businesses to innovate on products, including technology/machinery, to help hospitals reduce consumption. Carbon credits can provide hospitals with incentive to buy the newest products that help them achieve these results.
Unga isn’t the only one who should be selling at premium prices (see comment above). It’s interesting that Unga is willing to provide “attractive compensation” to farmers – what does this compensation look like? Unga itself should certify farming practices that are sustainable and be willing to pay premium prices for the corn and flour that they source from farmers. By setting standards for water, fertilizer, and energy use, Unga can drive the changes it wants to see in farming practices while investing in its own future yields of corn. In 2009, McKinsey identified practices that farms can engage in to reduce their carbon footprint. 90% of these opportunities lie in developing nations like Kenya. Unga should ensure farmers have sustainable practices in each of these categories:
Sub-categories Identified as Terrestrial Carbon
Crop nutrient management
Reduced slash and burn agriculture
Reduced pastureland conversion
Reduced intensive agriculture conversion
Organic soil restoration
Source: Adapted from McKinsey (2009)
With 68% of GHG emissions occurring after they reach consumers, Unilever has an important role to play in changing consumer behavior. The natural question is: what are all the ways in which consumers behave unsustainably with these products? Water consumption was named as one. With the amount of products that Unilever produces and sells, I wonder how much poor recycling contributes to the environmental harm. What role should Unilever take in helping consumers change their habits? After using Unilever products, my personal instinct is to throw them out because I assume that their packaging is not recyclable or compostable. Unilever should create more obvious packaging guidelines on its products as well as invest in compostable material. It should also run campaigns to ensure that consumers are educated.
The existence of Waikiki itself is at threat because of climate change. Given it’s contribution to Hawaii’s GDP, the population of 160,000 (in addition to the 71,000 daily visitors), and the immense ecosystem that exists in the oceans adjacent to the beach, the results of Waikiki being displaced underwater would be devastating. Despite Hawaii’s dependence on imports and air travelers, Hawaii has been dedicated to environmental stewardship. They offer several ferries for inter-island travel, the majority of their hotels have “green” practices, and they have adopted the “Be Reef Safe” program. The country will need its tourists to act responsibly and sustainably to continue reducing Hawaii’s negative environmental impact. There are several ways tourists can contribute, a few of which include:
1. If you need to drive, be conscious of selecting cars with lower gas mileage
2. Don’t disturb marine life
3. When going hiking, stay on the trail
4. Don’t litter
5. Practice catch and release fishing
More can be found here: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/hawaii/793875
Juan’s assessment of Airbus’s future is insightful – it’s true that aircraft makers will need to create new designs in order to meet the challenges of the next century. Time is also a critical factor, as Airbus may face challengers like Tesla’s electric airplane. The question I’d pose is: are innovations in fuel alternatives or energy utilized by the aircraft enough? As aircrafts face increasing problems caused by heat, flooding, turbulence, and route changes, what are the additional design enhancements that can improve the experience for travelers?