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RC TOM Challenge 2018

November 13, 2018

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The TOM Challenge provides an opportunity for you to continue exploring organizational learning and innovation through the lens of process improvement and/or product development, the focus of RC TOM’s second module. In this challenge, you will investigate how an organization is grappling with machine learning, additive manufacturing, or open innovation. These megatrends are likely to significantly affect how organizations manage process improvement and product development in the coming years of your career. The TOM Challenge requires you to (1) conduct research and write an essay that examines how one organization is facing a particular aspect of one of these megatrends, and (2) write six comments that share your reflections on some of your section mates’ essays.

Your essay should address four questions in the context of the organization you choose:

  1. Why do you think the megatrend you selected is important to your organization’s management of process improvement and/or product development?
  2. What is the organization’s management doing to address this issue in the short term (the next two years) and the medium term (two to ten years out)?
  3. What other steps do you recommend the organization’s management take to address this issue in the short and medium terms?
  4. In the context of this organization, what are one or two important open questions related to this issue that you are unsure about that merit comments from your classmates?

Your essay should convey facts, analysis, and your recommendations. It should focus on a single organization (e.g., a single company, non-profit organization, or government agency) and a concern related to one megatrend. It is fine if the concern you choose relates to other megatrends that the organization is facing, but that’s not required. Roughly a third of your essay should be dedicated to each of the first three questions, with just a few sentences dedicated to the fourth question. Your essay should be at least 700 words but no more than 800 words, and must conclude with a word count in parentheses (such as 778 words).

When posting your essay to Open Knowledge, be sure to enter “Machine Learning”, “Additive Manufacturing”, or “Isolationism” in the Topics field.

More details on research, sourcing, deadlines, and other matters are provided in the RC TOM Challenge: 2018 noteFor assistance with the Open Knowledge platform during business hours (9:00 am – 5:00 pm M-F), email A short video with instructions on how to post an essay to this platform is available at

Submitted (926)

OpenIDEO’s approach to crowdsource the best ideas from the cloud—engaging the public to tackle the world’s most challenging problems.
Viria Vichit-Vadakan
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 6:43 pm
“Today’s challenges require the creativity of entire networks.  Open innovation allows people to collaborate at scale, and that’s changing how the world solves problems” (IDEO CEO Tim Brown).  IDEO makes its mark on the world as a global design and [...]
A Machine Learning Pioneer in Grocery: You Guessed It Kroger
Noah Bricker
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 11:24 am
Kroger is paving the future for grocery shoppers through innovative, practical applications of machine learning, robotic process automation, and data analytics. The fact that a 125-year-old grocery chain based in Cincinnati, Ohio is helping lead the way may elicit raised [...]
3D Printing at Adidas: A PR Scheme to Conceal Mass Production or a Breakthrough Lever to Unveil True Mass Customization?
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 10:03 pm
3D Printing at Adidas in Partnership with Carbon
Redefining the oil and gas industry through machine learning
Electric Sheep
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 8:12 am
Exploring machine learning developments in the oil and gas industry
Salesforce’s Secret Sauce To Stay Ahead of the CRM Market: AI
Tomas Musich
Posted on November 11, 2018 at 11:07 am
In the large and heavily competed market of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, Salesforce is relying on AI to differentiate its product offering from tech giants such as Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. The bet on AI has allowed Salesforce to [...]
Machine Learning at the heart of JP Morgan’s growth strategy
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 10:44 am
Although markets have largely recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, significant increases in regulatory burden have affected the profitability of most, if not all, financial institutions. To cope with these rapidly changing regulations, the growing need for high operational efficiency, [...]
Making the Leap: Can Machine Learning Take Root in Animal Healthcare?
Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:25 am
Can IDEXX successfully bring machine learning diagnostics to market in the animal healthcare space?
General Electric and Nozomi Networks: Defending Industrial Control Systems using Machine Learning
Section J Student
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 6:19 pm
General Electric has partnered with Nozomi Networks, a company well known for its cybersecurity and artificial intelligence capabilities, to protect the energy and industrial sector.
Treating Soldiers with Tech
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 8:48 am
Exploring the Department of Defense's bio-additive manufacturing gambit to address mounting soldier care shortcomings
The Future of Affordable Living – ICON Is Rethinking The Way That We Build Housing Around the World
Bruce Wayne
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 2:12 am
ICON is radically rethinking how we will solve the worlds lack of affordable housing – the company seeks to use 3-D printing to “print” quality houses on the spot faster and more efficiently than ever thought possible.
Does Additive Manufacturing Pose a Threat to Gun Control?
Billy Tabrizi IV
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 5:08 pm
The rise of Additive Manufacturing has been lauded as the next industrial revolution for the many efficiencies that it delivers over traditional manufacturing processes. However, increased access to and sophistication of AM technology also presents potential dangers, including interference with [...]
UPS: Improving Global Supply Chains and Last-Mile Delivery with Machine Learning
Yury Kapko
Last modified on November 12, 2018 at 7:07 pm
e-Commerce caused explosion of home deliveries and gave consumers more power. How UPS employed the AI to solve these issues.
Can Ford survive the disruption in mobility after enjoying Henry Ford’s business model for 100+ years?
Learning Machine
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 5:57 pm
For the first time ever, the future is very uncertain for the automotive industry. The ones who can collect and leverage data to transform their business models will be more likely to survive and dominate the market.
Data is the new oil: Rio Tinto builds new intelligent mine
Gavriel Goidel
Last modified on November 12, 2018 at 10:18 pm
An executive "innovation field trip" to America, marked the beginning of a new era for Rio Tinto. That happened merely a decade ago, and now as data turns the new oil, the company must follow its innovative approach and evolve.
Extra! Extra! Robots help Journalists! – Bringing AI into the Newsroom
Sky Deck
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm
How can news organizations, at a time that they might die at the heels of free media, use machine learning to drive product development and productivity?
Vertiv Not Raging Against The Machine
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:52 pm
How Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is revolutionizing data centers
Vodafone: leveraging Machine Learning in an (almost) 5G world
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 2:44 pm
Vodafone's ability to deploy more predictive analytics given its access to large, global, and varied data pools will be a key competitive advantage as we approach a 5G world.
Will additive manufacturing make space more accessible than ever before?
Johnny Rockets
Last modified on November 14, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Imagine a world where any company can cost-effectively launch a satellite into orbit. With Rocket Labs latest innovation in 3D printed rocket engines, this reality is closer than you think. But can Rocket Labs remain competitive in an increasingly crowded [...]
Machine-learning in insurance is a sweet deal for customers
Ed Arthy
Last modified on November 12, 2018 at 10:20 pm
Tired of being given lemons by traditional insurers, customers are turning to Lemonade
Roche: Improving Drug Discovery and Development with Machine Learning
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 10:08 pm
Machine learning has been touted as a potential cure-all for high drug prices. A number of leading biopharmaceutical companies like Roche have made some large bets in using artificial intelligence tools to improve drug development, but it remains to be [...]
How Birchbox Stays Competitive using Machine Learning
Student E
Last modified on November 12, 2018 at 11:06 pm
Machine learning helps Birchbox stand out from the competition by sending the right products that customers will love and continue to order in an online and offline world.
Autonomous Stock Replenishment at Online Retailer OTTO
J. Jotta
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:57 pm
How a leading German E-commerce player has employed machine learning algorithms to forecast with 90% accuracy what SKUs will be sold over the next 30 days and reduce inventory levels by 20%.
Is the Swedish Biotech Start-up Cellink Revolutionizing the Health Care Industry by Playing God?
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 1:04 pm
There is a large shortage of organs available for lifesaving transplants. As a result medical researchers are turning to 3D bioprinting to address the growing shortage. Swedish start-up Cellink is revolutionizing the bioprinting industry with its innovative bioink, making bioprinting [...]
Open Innovation in the Investment Management Industry: Is This The New Frontier?
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:06 pm
Can the benefits of open innovation in investment management outweigh the costs? In this piece, we quickly examine the benefits of such an approach agains the backdrop of a traditional asset manager and one of the biggest struggles Quantopian, a [...]
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