This article raises a very important question on how far do you let crowdsourcing dictate your products. OI is useful to get ideas at the beginning of the funnel, but the filtering has to be done by the brand in accordance to what their product vision and positioning stands. Getting customer input is a great step to really build the right product, and these channels could be enhanced further. Announcing challenges for graduate students to create marketing and product development plans provide great platforms to get more data points on the roadmap and identify the right crowd to recruit innovating thinkers as well.
This concept of engaging the public in decision making is thought provoking and is recently being tried out by various organizations. On a small scale, I have worked with a school that was driving student body decisions the same way and making improvements by getting feedback from students. While this idea works very well in the inception phases for the government, there are limitations on how far this can be scaled. If major policy decisions are to be made about the nation, security plays a huge role in evaluating its success. The more open the information about government plans is (be it about construction projects), there are enough avenues for people to make inappropriate use of it.
This is a fantastic read! Based on the trends in development of 3D-printing, it does seem like it could replace traditional manufacturing for mass-production. To this effect, there are positive and negative implications. This change could help customers get customized designs, patterns, sizes but the cost of designing every new piece would be fairly high (today). This manufacturing process also means that low lost labor would no longer be needed, creating a social issue on unemployment. Also, as 3D-printing becomes more pervasive, many new competitors will emerge that could produce the same shoes as Nike, removing its competitive edge. Innovation will become imperative for any company to survive.
This article does a great job in listing the benefits of additive manufacturing but also highlights its threat in terms of human resources. It is true, as with ML/AI, that these automated technologies with remove the need for labor and would require more skilled employees who can program systems. As the technology advances and becomes faster, more custom needs from the end user can be taken into account, and that is how companies would try to differentiate themselves. This will create a shift in the manufacturing industry from supply-chain focus to mostly design.
Great read! I do believe AR could play a huge role in creating a personalized and unique experience at the brick-and-mortar store. With the advent of HoloLens, MagicLeap and advances being made in the field of AR, there is huge scope for the customer to have a virtual view of the products and carry the experience ahead to the online store. Some supermarkets are also working with this technology to provide a virtual store shopping experience, which Sephora could also work towards. There are many apps that do allow you to apply various products (although limited) on one of your photos and get a sense of how it would look. Although these products have a long way to go, Sephora could consider acquiring these companies and hence stay ahead of the curve.
Very well written article! Having spoken to friends who worked at Walmart, I don’t think brick-and-mortar business is being sidelined by the company, as much as it is being augmented with online (Amazon did the same in the reverse order). Walmart’s USP remains large physical stores, and they should continue with it, but add an element of experience to the stores. Walmart Labs (its research division) is working on a lot of technologies and ML algorithms to improve checkout experience, reducing waiting times in lines, etc. In regard to Q2, Amazon is quite invested and ahead in the competition and it is going to be hard for Walmart to continue competing at this pace (unless they acquire tech companies)