RC TOM Challenge 2018

November 13, 2018

Read The Full Prompt

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 openknowledge@hbs.edu. A short video with instructions on how to post an essay to this platform is available at https://d3.harvard.edu/platform-rctom/how-to/.

Submitted (926)

Payment Fraud: The Hidden Cost of Doing Business and How First Data is Using Machine Learning to Protect Merchants from Fraud Losses
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm
As the threat of payment fraud grows in the digital era, First Data has developed its own machine learning capabilities to improve the process of threat detection.
Machine Learning at Toppr: Is Personalised Learning the Way Forward?
Puja Verma
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:21 pm
Toppr, online tutoring platform in India is innovating by using data and machine learning to create a personalised learning platform for K-12 students. What are some of the issues they are facing, how have they solved it and what is [...]
H&M Bets Big on Machine-Learning to Survive
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:12 pm
In an effort to come back from its multi-year slump, H&M is turning to machine-learning. Is machine-learning the answer to H&M's problems and is it too late?
How Spotify Beat Apple, Amazon, and Google Using Machine Learning
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 5:21 pm
In an era in which Apple, Amazon, and Google are dominating the technology world, Spotify has succeeded in besting all of them in the music streaming industry. The question is then, how is Spotify able to fend off its major [...]
Beating the Beast
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 6:57 pm
How Machine Learning can help Loblaw beat Amazon in Canadian Grocery
When Counting Steps and Tracking Sleep Is Just The Beginning – What’s Next for Fitbit?
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 7:45 pm
With the advent and further sophistication of machine learning, Fitbit is positioned to do more than just track your fitness and activity data.
Progressive Insurance: Are you a good driver? Let Machine Learning tell you
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 10:36 pm
The insurance sector is not traditionally ahead of the curve when it comes to new technologies. But for this particular time, Machine Learning is tailor-made for the insurance industry.
Printing cities: AECOM’s challenge to disrupt the stagnant industry
Taito Ohe
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 10:18 pm
While 3D-printing technology has not yet prevailed in large-scale applications, AECOM is making a strategic move to disrupt the construction industry.
Man or Machine: Who holds the “stronger suit” in the courtroom?
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 3:08 pm
Firstly, let me acknowledge that I am no expert in the megatrend of machine learning and therefore writing about an atypical organization might be a bit of a bold move. I shall express my thoughts nonetheless – because of how [...]
Additive Manufacturing Takes Flight – GE Aviation’s Integration of 3D Printing to Enable Innovation
Carter C.
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 9:31 pm
GE, a manufacturing conglomerate recently under heavy scrutiny for its operational capabilities, is heavily invested in re-imagining how its aviation business innovates and operates through the use of additive manufacturing.
Where is my package? DHL’s machine learning works to provide more reliable data to customers
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 4:50 pm
DHL utilizes machine learning to optimize the supply chain and track packages directly to your door.
3-D printing our way to space?
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 4:42 pm
Additive manufacturing has already begun to revolutionize NASA’s R&D processes, but, despite its innovation potential, NASA must be wary of its application beyond developmental processes.
From Idea to 3-D in a Day: UPS and Fast Radius
Mike O'Neill
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm
Logistics behemoth UPS and high-flying 3-D printing startup Fast Radius have partnered to make 3-D printing accessible to the masses
Stitch Fix: Using Machine Learning to Help The Grinch
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 4:22 pm
Stitch Fix uses machine learning to help you answer that age old question of what to wear
3D Hubs – Building a Global 3D Printing Network
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 4:57 pm
3D Hubs is the world’s largest network of manufacturing services - www.3dhubs.com
Tesla: How Machines Are Now Driving Our Cars
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 5:39 pm
Autonomous driving is a form of applied machine learning that allows computers inside the car to process and recognize driving conditions in real-time. This paper explores how Tesla is bringing autonomous driving to the masses via its substantial machine learning [...]
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: L’Oréal’s ModiFace Uses AI to Find Your Perfect Shade Match
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 4:38 pm
L’Oréal’s acquisition of ModiFace, the leading provider of augmented reality solutions powered by machine learning, could revolutionize the way consumers experience beauty and make purchasing decisions - will competitors follow?
BMW Bets on 3D Printing your Next Sports Car
Daniel Silva
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 10:54 am
Additive Manufacturing (i.e., 3D printing) has been around for 30 years, why is it such a hot topic nowadays? BMW is eager to capitalize on recent technological advances to be the front runner in automotive additive manufacturing, but how will [...]
Additive Manufacturing…For the Body?
Georges Badawi
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 5:39 pm
Envisiontec “Additive Manufacturing”, or in simpler sexier terms, 3D PRINTING has been at the forefront of the technology and innovation discussion. Created for recreational uses, the concept of mechanically building components by adding layer over layer has expanded to construction, [...]
Killer Robots: The Future of Warfare?
V Cee
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:36 pm
The debate continues hotly on an international scale to define, establish a framework, and set norms for autonomous weapons. This will greatly impact the future of warfare, and the international landscape as Great Power Competition returns between major international players.
Zhima Credit – Will Alibaba’s social credit system turn China into a “Black Mirror” episode?
Posted on November 9, 2018 at 3:43 pm
Leveraging machine learning and big data, Alibaba developed the revolutionary consumer finance product Ant CreditPay and Zhima Credit that effectively tapped into the massive lower end consumer market in China. Customers with higher credit scores can have more favorable lending [...]
Is the value proposition of 3-D printing eyewear in inventory management and limited made to order customization, or in fully consumer designed eyewear?
Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:28 am
Is the value proposition of 3-D printing eyewear in inventory management and limited made to order customization, or in fully consumer designed eyewear?
Citizen by Day, Scientist by Night?
I'm Not A Robot
Last modified on November 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm
The scientific discovery process is being disrupted by an open online community, and they want your help. Is this a fad, or the future?
NewYork-Presbyterian: Becoming the Hospital of the Future
Ricardo De Armas
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 2:39 pm
NewYork-Presbyterian hospital is using machine learning technology to streamline hospital operations, free up more time for clinicians, and improve overall quality of care.