Thanks Ricardo – I’ve been thinking about the talent pipeline problem in the context of other service-based businesses as well. For example, as more smart analytics startups take over the roles that junior consultants have traditionally played what opportunities are there to understand the building blocks of analytics? I can’t tell how much of this is a “we suffered through it so you should too” kind of problem, but I would be interested to understand how on the job training changes when teams become more top heavy and younger talent is asked to take on responsibilities without having to roll up their sleeves and do thinks like basic research.
In response to Jeremy’s point I’d second the fact that movies are more accessible for women, and add in the possibility that the content “universe” Marvel is creating builds high walls to preserve earlier cultural norms. When we move to new media there’s an opportunity to welcome new populations – women, underrepresented minorities – in story lines that will be missed if the same group of people continue to create content across new media. I like the idea of using a platform like Pinterest to welcome new readers, but I’d also want to see an effort to include more kinds of creators.
It seems like there’s an opportunity to democratize something like VR and make it open to more of the population, but it will require companies like Marvel to take risks and invest in new staff when they launch their first products on the new platform. This unfortunately seems unlikely, and the success they’ve had continuing to create new products out of old comic story lines just reinforces the idea that they can win with the same audience they’ve had for the past 20-30 years.
I’d also be curious to see if a larger number of entrants will actually give the “smart pen” traction. This seems like an area where the cost difference between existing and new technology is so great that it will take a while for new technology to catch on.
The difference between losing a $60 pen and $.6 pen is pretty high, so if you’re able to find a way to work the existing tech into a new framework you may be able to give consumers the benefit of smart notes without a major infrastructure investment. Moleskine and Evernote have partnered to create a smart notebook that can translate ink notes into a digital form, and I’d be curious to see if this is able to gain market share more quickly.
Beaups – I agree with TOM on this one. It’s a very cool idea, worth checking out this design podcast about past efforts to build concrete dome houses. It’s a great idea, but from a cultural and artistic perspective it can be hard for people to adjust to such a different shape of residence.
I’d suggest targeting areas where there are traditions of similar types of houses first to build a set of use cases. I’d also be curious to hear about how the company solicits input from local residents about their needs from a design perspective.
I’m excited about the opportunity for more personalized learning through the tools Pearson has to offer. I do wonder, however, what the impact of extreme customization will have on the kinds of skills kids pick up at school. Non-testable skills like “grit” and empathy (although maybe Pearson can figure out a way to get after these ephemeral elements) may be harder to pick up when students aren’t collaborating around similar material. Part of the reason I assume the case method is set up around a core curriculum is to force our HBS class to collaborate on a shared set of problems. If each student in a classroom is working on something different and receiving Pearson’s personalized learning services, will they have the shared vocabulary to learn from each other?
It’s great to hear that Omada is now covered by plans – this is one of those rare win-win-wins in healthcare where you can save money for payers and improve patient outcomes.
A macroeconomic trend to watch out for in our new political climate is the potential impact that rolling back health coverage may have on programs like Omada. As general reimbursement policies shift for health plans I’m afraid that willingness-to-pay for preventative care may go down, even if the longer term benefit is great. The more that people are shifting between plans and employers, the less an individual plan cares about the future costs.
As the other commenters mentioned, mental health is a good opportunity if Omada can get the right clinical evidence to back their efficacy claims. I’m hoping that health insurance companies will make the sustainable choice and continue the trend in investing in preventative non-pharmaceutical care for their patient base.
I have mixed feelings about Tyson’s investment in Beyond Meat. While I’m happy to eat meat substitutes, one of the exciting opportunities that comes with being vegetarian is exploring the diverse family of edible plants that are more sustainable than water & energy intensive meats. If Beyond Meat will get traditional meat-eaters bought in I can see a value, but from a longer-term green perspective it may be easier to just grow protein-rich plants that also help create clean air and health soil. As A mentioned, it seems like there may be a lot of challenges that come with scaling lab-based meat manufacturing. I’m a bit biased, but even if it’s green and animal-safe I think I might still take a lentil-burger over a Petri-dish one. I’ll be curious to see how people purchase as lab grown meats get closer to the prices of non-meat products.
Thanks for flagging a potentially very serious problem. I’m really hopeful that Mars can mitigate the effects of climate change on their cocoa crop, and would be interested in seeing the way they use technology to create more genetically robust strains of cocoa. Despite the bad press here in the US, I think this is an instance of a time when the right lab-produced GMO could make a big difference. My hope would be that Mars starts setting up cocoa bean tests where it can develop drought resistant plants more quickly than a simple genetic analysis might allow. Sounds like they’re being a bit cagey about how they design new strains, but in my opinion we can’t get a stronger bean fast enough – I’d be hard pressed to survive a long chocolate shortage.
This seems like a creative way to ride the rising tides of climate change and find ways to make existing practices more efficient. As Ricardo said, however, it seems like there are several risks associated with moving too early. My big concern here is around ships that end up stranded or trapped if weather conditions turn south quickly – ice sheets and bergs pose huge potential problems for a large fleet navigating north. Are there strategies Maersk could employ to avoid or manage these issues? I’m not sure about ice breaking technology, but developing predictive temperature models seems extremely important if you want the company to pursue this strategy. Hopefully you’d be able to get things pretty close before launching the fleet into potentially treacherous arctic waters.
As an individual who consumes relatively large volumes of tofu, I’d be curious to hear about whether American tofu producers are utilizing the same techniques. While it’s heartening to hear that regional producers are implementing these changes, I’d be curious to know if large-scale tofu production facilities have adopted the same best practices. I’m also interested in understanding more about why international organizations like Nestle are investing – are these strategies Nestle is already implementing in their own plants, or techniques that are considered limited to “emerging markets”?
This was an interesting article, as so much of our perception of wine is grounded in things like the terrain and growing characteristics of a given grape. I’ll be curious to see whether Leap Frog’s early investment in sustainable grapes pays off over the next 15-20 years as more and more vineyards face issues around water and rising temperatures. Do you think that the pricing of older vintages will increase as wines become more concentrated around species of grape that can thrive in a dry climate? And are other growers in more traditional areas exploiting the same techniques?