Great article with thought provoking questions and suggestions.
In terms of the choice between using 3D printing for highly customized experience or to lower supply chain cost, I wonder if both are mutually exclusive at all? To me, the market might exist for highly customized shoes (in a certain segment or certain application or sports) but another market might exist for highly standardized products. To that end, UA should still consider if there’s indeed market for both and how UA can be most competitive.
I also wonder if there’s already a startup trying to disrupt this industry… Is it just a matter of time before we can take scans or our feet using smartphones and sending it to the company to get our highly customized shoes? Or is it indeed that there’s not really a market for such product?
A truly insightful piece, I wasn’t aware of World Bank activities in this area. One hesitation that I have, though, relates to your question about how effective World Bank could be if they themselves cannot fully utilize the process. A question in my mind is whether they are the right organization to promote this. Wouldn’t sector-focused expert bodies (e.g. WHO for health, ILO for labor) be more suited to tackle this so that to bring the clarity of challenges and potential solutions that local governments can bring to financiers like World Bank as they propose their projects? World Bank could potentially incentivize this collaboration by encouraging more project proposal to have come from open innovation sources.
This is a very refreshing take on an industry that’s otherwise often regarded as archaic and slow-moving. However, my sense from reading the article is that there’s so much work to be done to transform the whole industry to be able to take advantage of new technologies and actually increase productivity. Too often, I have seen companies coming in trying to capture value from the lack of adoption and high fragmentation in the construction industry (think about the number of project management systems software promising the latest AI, cloud applications). I think the industry can benefit from bold innovators that truly believe in the deeply needed change and technology adoption, innovators that deeply believe in the power of creating lasting impact instead of merely extracting value, and consequently innovators that do not hesitate to open up, share data, and help create trust and value in this industry.
You articulated very well the promise and yet potential pitfall of open innovation in this sector.
Your question about whether the expert body in the field (e.g. medical) would be better suited to spearhead the initiative, which I think is an excellent one. Should the Gates Foundation work together with expert bodies to develop their own open innovation program instead?
Another concern I have is the over-indexing of investment to solutions from open-innovation. I still think there’s a merit to top-down solution from established R&D organizations. However, open-innovation can play a bigger role in helping to identify emerging grand challenges to ensure solutions that emerge from centralized R&D could be applied in a relevant way at the grassroot level.
This is really cool! Reading your article, in my mind there are several ways the vending machine industry can be disrupted by 3D printing technology:
First, how could you better able integrate the speed and flexibility brought about by 3D printing with the predictive power of machine learning by gathering insights from your customers and adapt really, really quickly to changing in trends and customer behavior?
Second, I wonder how Centimeo makes money? I imagine it’s from the sales of merchandise from the vending machine? If so, I was wondering if rapidly changing product formats or even worse, product type would unavoidably increase the cost of goods sold simply because the company would not be able to leverage the economies of scale of bulk purchases? Alternatively, would Centimeo consider licensing their vending machine capabilities to companies like PepsiCo who will pay flat fee + commission based on sales?
Very insightful review of the state of machine learning usage in the video game industry. Two areas that I would like to comment on:
1. In terms of community moderation, I imagine that machine learning application for the purpose of moderating toxic verbal behavior might include heavy use of natural language processing techniques. Given the potentially heavy use of slangs and how it could evolve rapidly over time, I think developer will play a catch-up game with the community.
2. In terms of microtransactions, I believe simply aiming to extract the most value out of the customers will not work in favor of the company in the long run if they have already charged so much money to access the game. I think one way to alleviate the reputational backlash is to make the video games itself more accessible (i.e. lowering cost or making it free). In effect, game developers make money via microtransactions, which I believe many mobile developers are doing? The question remains whether the benefit of doing microtransactions outweigh the risk of alienating certain users, but I think in the software world, experimentation can be done relatively easily to measure the optimal amount of microtransactions pushed to the users.