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On November 20, 2016, student12 commented on Payments in Africa’s largest market :

Dear TOMchallenged, I found your article very interesting. It is great to see how a Nigerian company focused on payments has grown so fast and defeated competition in such an efficient way. The question however is how they will make that growth sustainable. I would love to hear about the company business and operating model and all the steps they have taken in other to enable such a rapid technological disruption. As you mentioned in the post, the company tend to have an entrepreneurial spirit, which enables innovation. Also, researching on the theme, one of the things that I found interesting was the fact that most of Nigerian’s banks were supporting Interswitch activity. That is such an important partnership for the company, as it makes the banks move away from being potential competitors to become partners. IN the article wrote by Raheem Akingbolu (link below) he highlights how government agencies, ministeries and public departments have also partnered with Interswitch, widening is network. As Akingbolu mentions, Interswitch’s tentacles in the area of e-payment have also taken root in the sectors of healthcare, education and community life, generating incremental revenues and showing a positive sign that the company its finding its way to grow sustainably.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201512170348.html

On November 20, 2016, student12 commented on Football on your phone :

AJR thank for you post. I agree with you that sports teams can leverage their brand by using digital channels to reach all of its fans. As you pointed out, the strategy used by the NFL to reach a broader audience was to partner with key companies with digital expertise, like Yahoo and Twitter. However, alongside with partnering with those companies, NFL could invest in creating its own digital platform to better connect with its clients. As we saw in Nike’s case on our marketing class, by creating its own online platform, a company can better understand its customer’s needs and tailor its products and offerings. So, that may be an alternative for NFL. By doing that, the company will be able to found out which kind of players and plays customers value the most to focus on and adjust its process.

Also, as Billy mentioned in his/her post, NFL can also benefit from introducing technological tools for game tracking and analysis. NFL fans tend to value a lot their view experience in a way that every additional feature that contributes to increasing view quality may be valuable. So, investing in technology for that may prove to increase views and therefore result in more profits for NFL

Josue, thank you for your article! It is really well written and addresses the main issues involved in the digital banking movement in a clear and illustrative way. As I mentioned in BAH’s post, I believe that digital banking has disrupted with the traditional banking model and will drive the innovations in the banking industry from now on. As McKinsey pointed out in their article (link below), banks who fail to follow the digitalization trend will probably lose a lot of market share. However, I think the process of digitalization must be something implemented slowly, in order to include all bank’s customers. In fact, my only concern with the digital banking model is inclusion. In order for someone to be able to use the app, he/she needs to have access to a smartphone, which in South America is not always true. So, in order for the business model to succeed, Bci will need to promote digital inclusion initiatives aiming at developing digital skills and increasing its customers’ base. For doing that, Bci can replicate some initiatives found in banks around the world. Lloyds Banking Group, for example, has created a position called “head of digital inclusion” which Bci could consider including in the current corporate structured. Below there is the link to an interview with Lloyd’s head of digital inclusion Leigh Smyth that highlights how a bank can profit from increasing its customers’ digital skills.

http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/strategic-choices-for-banks-in-the-digital-age

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/450295841/Interview-Leigh-Smyth-head-of-digital-inclusion-Lloyds-Banking-Group

On November 20, 2016, student12 commented on Can Technology Transform Education? :

HI e-TOM, thank you for your article! I really enjoyed reading it and finding out about AltSchool. I totally agree with you that technology and social media are shaping how the next generation of students understands the world and learn. In my opinion what makes it particularly important is that it shifts the focus from content to connections (to how to find the right content). In fact, in the future students will not be required to know everything, they will be required to know how to get the information needed, in the least amount of time. Deloitte has recently published an article (link below for reference) that focus exactly on that. According to the article, digital education can address three goals; (i) fortifying student skills, (ii) increasing education’s ROI, and (iii) enabling students to be innovative and entrepreneurial. In that context, AltSchool efforts will be of great help.

You mentioned in your post that there are three main parties involved in the education process (i) students, (ii) teachers and (iii) parents. However, as you will see in Deloitee’s article, maybe it is desirable to expand that network, to create an integrated digital education ecosystem composed of parents, teachers, peers, and administrators, as well as individuals outside the formal educational system such as mentors and potential employers, to form a collaborative network to deliver instruction to and guide the student at the center of the ecosystem. Also, it could also be desirable to integrate students with the real life in order to make the learning experience more meaningful for students. Finally, it would be good for AltSchool to reach as many students as possible (specially those underprivileged). However, for that, the cost of the access to AltSchool (today at USD 21,000) needs to be reduced. That reduction should also happen fast, as other competitor in the market (like Coursera) are offering educational content for free and might kill the market for AltSchool.

On November 20, 2016, student12 commented on Digital Banking: Cut the Lines and Human Interaction :

BAH, thank you for your post. Like Josue I also wrote a post regarding digital banking, which I think is something that banks will need to invest in order to remain in the market. Recently, McKinsey has published an article (link below for reference) stating that banks have three to five years to become digitally proficient, and if they fail to take action, they will probably enter into a spiral of decline. I personally agree with these statement and also with your conclusion that BofA needs to be alert with the threat imposed by new emerging apps.

Itau, for example, which is the bank I analyzed, created an app to enable consumers to directly transfer money to each other, which is very similar to what Venmo does. Maybe due to that, Venmo is not yet in Brazil and is not competing against Itau. This strategy of anticipating the competition is veru important and, as Siddhart mentioned in his post, can also have other advantages, like the elimination of the need for branches. So, in fact, there is still a lot of room for innovation in banking and BofA should look for that.

http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/strategic-choices-for-banks-in-the-digital-age

On November 6, 2016, student12 commented on Walmart: Save Money. Live Worse? :

MSaggioro, I particularly enjoyed the contradiction that you raised in your article. In fact, its seems interesting that Syngenta is trying to increase sustainability by promoting its own products and therefore driving their sales and revenue. Historically sustainability has been seen as something that costs the company a lot of money to invest in and that, at the best, could potentially save them some money on energy and water bills. However nowadays companies are seeing sustainability as a driver for profit. So, the question that relies is whether it is ok, or morally correct, to leverage on sustainability. Althought Syngenta is going in the right direction, trying to drive its revenue by their sustainable practices I agree with you that they shouldn’t do that by promoting their own products. Instead, they could adopt some alternative practices that could be more morally correct, like (i) procure more renewable energy for their operations, (ii) put an internal price on carbon for their products so that their customers could be more conscious about it, (iii) implement some land-use practices that conserve natural resources and at the same time can make crops more efficient.

Walmart: Save Money. Live Worse?

Dear Petey-S I agree with Erica that you brought up an excellent debate to the table. I am just not sure if sustainability necessarily need to come at the cost of profitability. As I mentioned in another post, historically sustainability has been seen as something that costs the company a lot of money to invest in and that, at the best, could potentially save them some money on energy and water bills. However nowadays companies are seeing sustainability as a driver for profit. In that context, I agree with you that Walmart initiatives maybe questionable in terms of their motivations, but I think the company is actually making good improvements to convert sustainable practices into profit. To give you one example, Erica Plambeck mentions is her article that Walmart is profiting from its actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and supply chain. As she pointed out, the company’s efforts to reduce emissions have opened up many sources of new revenue. For example, improved public relations stemming from its environmental stewardship initiatives helped the company to open stores in communities where they would otherwise face greater resistance, and also helped Walmart to attract more customers to its existing stores.

Also, by selling more energy-efficient products Walmart helps its customers (who have little disposable income and shop almost exclusively at Walmart) to save money on water and energy bills which therefore leaves more money to them that can be used again at Walmart (driving revenue increase).

Finally, even in product categories where Walmart cannot charge a premium for “green,” it may gain market share (and create buzz) by labeling products with environmental impact information. That results in increased market share and the trust of consumers, which is a driver for profit.

MSaggioro, I particularly enjoyed the contradiction that you raised in your article. In fact, its seems interesting that Syngenta is trying to increase sustainability by promoting its own products and therefore driving their sales and revenue. Historically sustainability has been seen as something that costs the company a lot of money to invest in and that, at the best, could potentially save them some money on energy and water bills. However nowadays companies are seeing sustainability as a driver for profit. So, the question that relies is whether it is ok, or morally correct, to leverage on sustainability. Althought Syngenta is going in the right direction, trying to drive its revenue by their sustainable practices I agree with you that they shouldn’t do that by promoting their own products. Instead, they could adopt some alternative practices that could be more morally correct, like (i) procure more renewable energy for their operations, (ii) put an internal price on carbon for their products so that their customers could be more conscious about it, (iii) implement some land-use practices that conserve natural resources and at the same time can make crops more efficient.

On November 6, 2016, student12 commented on Making Beer Green :

Siddhart, I agree with you that many of the highest-impact processes are far upstream in the supply chain. However, just to identify upstream suppliers is a challenge and takes time. For these reason, many times companies tend to start by changing their internal processes, which has an immediate impact and is completely legitimate. As AJR post indicates, AB Inbev has engaged with its suppliers in order to reduce water waste. That effort is particularly important, since collaboration among the supply chain is particularly attractive for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector, especially when we are talking about beer.

In an industry were price is constantly under pressure, the temptation for retailers is to transfer the pain upstream to their suppliers by forcing them to bear an increasing share of costs. The suppliers, by its turn, have less and less room to absorb additional costs, since the volatility in input prices put the squeeze on margins and require expensive marketing campaigns to differentiate the product. In that context, CPG players must look at collaboration initiatives as a way out of the damaging spiral of antagonistic relationships. I that regard, I believe that AB Inbev has done a great job, as described by AJR. By applying the right amount of water, at the right time, AB Inbev is making its supply chain more integrated and efficient. However, I agree with AJR that in order to me more impactful AB Inbev must scale its initiative.

One way to do that would be to reinforce collaboration in the chain. Historically, AB Inbev has had a reputation for squeezing its suppliers and for transacting with whoever offers the lowest price at any given time. That practice may be risky as it makes harder for the supplier to invest in water efficiency processes that are costly and increase the supplier’s fixed costs (therefore reducing its competitiveness). However, if the supplier has the guarantee that AB Inbev will purchase and promote environmental friendly products it would be more willing to make such investments and sell their products to AB Inbev. Therefore, to motivate suppliers to improve environmental performance, AB Inbev should begin to make long-term purchasing commitments. For that, AB Inbev should try to commit to purchase a larger quantity over a longer period of time, which could result in a lower price per unit for the company in the long run. In addition to making explicit quantity commitments with some suppliers, AB Inbev could also consider to change its overall procurement practices to shift quantity to suppliers with better environmental performance. By doing so, AB Inbev would promote more collaborative practices and reach the upstream of the supply chain in a broader way that is not limited to the company internal processes.

In fact, as AJR mentioned in the post, AB Inbev is going beyond the mere improvements in its supply chain and is taking actions to make sure that there is clean water around its production so that worker and their families (here referred as stakeholders) have a better quality of life. By doing that, the company is actually reaching social targets that are not limited by its business. So, I will respectfully disagree with you that AB Inbev is limiting their selves for only changing internal processes that they have more control. As mentioned by AJR they are actually trying to achieve a broader impact, on all the stakeholders, which is an important step in combating environmental issues.

On November 6, 2016, student12 commented on Cow farts stink – especially for Fonterra. :

Dear JJCW, I agree with you that cow farting is an ongoing concern that should be analyzed. Despite the efforts taken by Fonterra to reduce gas emission, I would like to point out some additional actions that could be of great help and should be considered. The first one is to adjust the cow’s diet in order to increase animal performance and reduce methane emissions. As mentioned by the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Nebraska, cow diet can be used to alter microbial populations in the rumen and in turn increase animal performance and reduce methane emissions. Dietary factors such as type of carbohydrate, fat inclusion, processing of forages and level of feed intake has been shown to influence methane emission in cow populations. Additionally, there are some innovative studies that have been developed in order to genetically understand and improve cow characteristics that may result in lower gas emissions . By relying in such studies, Fonterra could undergo innovative practices that may change the way the industry deals with farming cows.

On November 6, 2016, student12 commented on Can Procter & Gamble really improve people’s lives? :

Sebastian, I completely agree with you that sustainability is not necessarily contrary to business growth and that is possible to achieve significant results while be committed to sustainable practices. In the case of reducing absolute GHG emissions, I think that Procter could have included a lot more efforts that could be of great help.

I believe that companies must take a global supply chain perspective in order to identify the most profitable means to reduce overall emissions. For that purpose, they must find ways not only to reduce emissions under their direct control but also to influence emissions caused by their suppliers and customers. You mentioned in your post two policies in that regard, namely (i) investing in recycle education for communities and (ii) increasing the investment in R&D to develop new formulas that have less environmental impact. Although those policies are good options, it is important to also consider some alternative approaches.

Procter did a great job in the area of cost reduction. However, I think they could also have approached revenue increase. For example, improved public relations can help Procter built its brand while associating it to a sustainable business. Also, the company could consider starting selling organic products as consumers are more inclined to pay a premium for “green” products when “green” is associated with a clear benefit for the environment. If Procter does that, it will be able to gain visibility in the market and reinforce its brand. The reason for that is that nonprofit organizations monitor and certify each stage in the supply chain for an organic product. That gives Procter (and other buyers) unprecedented visibility of the entire supply chain, which enables rationalization of the supply chain to reduce emissions and production costs.