As a consumer, one additional concern that jumps out at me is the potential use of an individual’s genetic information in a discriminatory fashion. For example, insurance companies may in the future ask consumers to report outcomes of genetic testing in order to assign health-care premiums. I find it alarming that 23andMe data has already been used in law enforcement matters and that the company allows pharmaceutical partners to access its database. I am also interested to learn more about what 23andMe doing on the cybersecurity front and what measures they have in place to protect their customers privacy.
One regulatory hurdle that you aptly addressed in your additional questions is the technology’s potential to displace over 700,000 construction laborers and carpenters within the construction industry in the US (https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag236.htm). When reviewing this technology, the government will be faced with competing priorities – improving accessibility of affordable housing versus aiming to maintain full-employment across the US. As this technology continues to develop it will be interesting to see how the government weighs these competing priorities and how they engage with labor unions and industry lobbyists.
Jewelry is often viewed as an emotional and sentimental purchase, including the purchase of an engagement ring, wedding band, graduation gift, etc. High-end jewelry retailers have focused advertising on the purchase as an experience, justifying the price by highlighting hand-crafted detailing and the use of rare and luxurious materials. Even in the low and medium-end jewelry markets, consumers are still wooed by the traditional allure of artisan products that are handcrafted. As you mention, I think that companies seeking to employee 3D printing technologies to jewelry development will need to focus their attention on changing consumer perceptions of what it means to buy jewelry. One potential avenue is target individual who purchase and wear jewelry as a form of self-expression highlighting the ability of 3D printing to create more complex and unique designs.
I would be interested to understand why women are unsatisfied with the financial service offerings currently available. Is it related to the way that women consume financial services or that women include other factors outside of traditional return-risk analysis into their investment decisions? Do women consider the social-impact of their investments more important than men? It seems like Ellevest’s challenge will be to sustain differentiation of its offering, since at its core it is identical to other robo-advisors, seeking to generate high returns, while minimizing risk. I also think that Ellevest is uniquely positioned as family composition in the U.S. and globally changes. As divorce rates and single-parent households increase, more women will be making their household investment decisions and will look for an investment advisor that provides them with more flexibility to address their unique life events.
In the IBM Watson case, we saw that the “promise of AI lies in the combination of man and machine”(https://www.ibm.com/blogs/think/2017/05/deep-blue/). IBM’s Deep Blue highlighted that teams with both machine and human performed better in chess games as compared to exclusively human or machine teams. I would be interested to understand how, if at all, Google will approach integration of The Machine with human investment committee members. Will investment committee members only discuss opportunities given a green rank? Will The Machine’s recommendation be given the same weight as other committee members? How will Google structure the investment committee going forward (ie. Does The Machine sit on the investment committee and actively vote, or does simply recommend opportunities for them to discuss)?
I would be inclined to take an even harsher stance on Glossier’s approach to open innovation. It seems that Glossier is promoting the false promise of democratization of beauty – they are providing a forum through which they can ‘listen’ to their customers, but there is no indication that they are actioning or incorporating their recommendations. Listening to your customer is not a new phenomenon, nor is it a unique business practice or aspect of the beauty industry. As you mention above, Glossier maintains control over both the scope of idea generation and idea selection. This sounds less like an example of open innovation and more of a strategy to engage consumers. I agree with your recommendation, that if Glossier is truly committed to the ‘democratization’ of beauty they need to extend true decision making-power to consumers.