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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)

Shiseido: How a 150-year-old responds to digital transformation
Betty Smith
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 10:52 pm
With online DTC newcomers already taking up a considerable market share, traditional beauty giants try to stay ahead. Shiseido invests in data and digital research and machine learning for product development, acquisitions of AI startups and launched their own Venture [...]
How Stryker is using 3D printing to bring personalized medicine to orthopedic surgery
Anonymous elephant
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 2:29 pm
Riding new waves of additive manufacturing and personalization in medicine, Stryker could be poised to offer custom orthopedic implants such as hip replacements and spinal disks. Stryker, a Fortune 500 Michigan-based medical device manufacturer that specializes in orthopedic devices, is [...]
Machine learning and Tencent
Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:25 am
Data analytics has changed the world in many ways and it is becoming more important in the digital era. However, with the increased size of data available, human race starts to produce more mistakes and incorporates more biases. Machine learning [...]
Crowdsourcing improvements to America’s security: Bug bounties and open innovation in the U.S. Department of Defense
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:18 pm
How the DoD is using open innovation to improve America's security
Machine Learning: Dating’s Saving Grace?
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 8:02 pm
Romantic Unemployment Over the past ten years, the phrase “online dating” has undergone a social de-stigmatization. Once dubbed socially unacceptable and reserved for older “untouchables”, it is now 61% of Americans aged 18-29 and 44% of Americans 30-59 are currently [...]
Are Machine Learning Benefits Worth Cyber-Security Risks at Chevron?
Tobias Harden
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 1:08 pm
Machine Learning can provide immense value in plant maintenance and turnarounds but can a traditionally conservative industry lead in this space?
The ugliest bridge in the world. 3D printing in Acciona…
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 2:33 pm
3D printing seems to be a natural fit for construction. It can potentially fix some of the most burning operational problems in the industry. But attempts to approach the trend are rather clumsy so far...
The Rise of 3D Manufacturing in Footwear: What it Means for Nike
Jon Snow
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 3:13 pm
Additive manufacturing within footwear and apparel has the potential to completely alter the customer retail experience as well as supply chain design for the largest players in the industry. How are Nike and Adidas deploying resources to capitalize on this [...]
Nike’s 3D Printing: Just Do It
Alex Attard-Manche
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 9:31 pm
One of the world's leaders in sport innovation reveals their latest additions to 3D printing
Translation for tomorrow: Understanding the impact of Neural Machine Translation on Language Service Providers
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 4:38 pm
This paper explores the impact of machine learning on the Language service providers, which provide translation and localization services for businesses.
Flying High: GE’s Billion Dollar Bet on Additive Manufacturing
Tom Riddle
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm
GE is investing heavily in additive manufacturing and has achieved early success in the aerospace industry. Will these early successes help to revolutionize conventional manufacturing?
“Creepy”: When Big Tech Personalization Goes Too Far
Dominic Marrone
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 6:21 pm
As machine learning drives advances in personalization, do firms have the controls in place to protect consumer privacy? Can this be done without stifling innovation?
Partners Healthcare and Machine Learning: Building Efficiencies in Diagnostics and Data Interpretation
Kira Seiger
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:16 pm
How can hospitals better utilize patient data by applying machine learning technologies to augment diagnosis and clinical decision making? Partners Healthcare has launched the Clinical Center for Data Science to lead the charge.
Taking to the Skies with 3D Printed Jet Engines? GE Aviation Already is
Posted on November 10, 2018 at 10:22 pm
GE Aviation gains efficiency while reducing weight and complexity on its way to proving that widespread additive manufacturing is viable with critical jet engine components.
3D-printed razor handles – the best a man can get?
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 3:11 am
With Razor maker, Gillette is one of the first brands of big FMCG companies that bets on mass customization through 3D printing. It’s a bold but much-needed move to revert the trend of losing market share and declining brand loyalty.
Digital Oilfield: Paving the way to solving the imminent global energy crisis? Is it ready?
Mohamed Elshorbagy
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 3:58 pm
Exploring the potential of the Digital Oilfield in revolutionizing the oil & gas and energy industries.
No More Blackouts: How PG&E is using machine learning to strengthen the power grid
Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:25 am
As society’s reliance on constant energy consumption continues to increase, Pacific Gas and Electric is investing in deep learning capabilities to enhance grid reliability and to integrate distributed energy resources at massive scales.
Additive manufacturing of hearing aid requiring anatomical precision
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 12:02 am
Earlens, a innovative hearing aid maker, used additive manufacturing to make anatomical precision hearing aid a possibility
Prellis Biologics: Manufacturing Life
Emma Betzig
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 8:30 pm
Prellis Biologics' holographic 3D printing of biomaterial and ethical considerations surrounding manufactured organs.
Wayfair is using data and pictures to furnish your home, as only you can.
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 8:04 pm
The home furnishing market has long been dominated by brick and mortar stores. Wayfair is using machine-learning and artificial intelligence to change your buying experience and ensure that you buy furniture that uniquely fits your style and personality, at a [...]
AI-powered “Accessibility by Design”: Using Microsoft Cognitive Services to empower people with disabilities
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 4:24 pm
How Microsoft and its partners are harnessing the power of AI and Machine Learning to empower 1 Billion people in the world living with a disability
Open Innovation at Lego – The Back Beat in “Everything is Awesome”
Jaclyn Markowitz
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:33 am
After avoiding bankruptcy in 2003, LEGO has effectively used open innovation to align with customer demands and to become a global leader in toy innovation. Now, can LEGO’s use of open innovation maintain its growth with increasing digital competition?
The future of energy: forecasting the weather?
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 7:45 pm
NextEra:utilizing machine learning to increase reliability and integrate renewables into the grid
Moley the Robotic Chef: The Future of Cooking or An Expensive Toy?
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 10:48 pm
Moley Robotics has launched a robotic chef that can make dishes resembling the skills of a MasterChef. Is Moley starting a revolution in the kitchen or is it an expensive robot with limited usability?
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