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)

Chariot: Changing Transit through Crowdsourced Co-Creation
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 8:51 pm
Chariot offers an innovative, yet simple solution to designing city commutes: asking their riders where they want to go.
Can an algorithm replace “the pill”?
Sophia Richter
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 5:11 pm
Natural Cycles is a leader in the innovative field of digital contraceptives and fertility tracking devices, but can its success be sustained after news of unexpected pregnancies among users?
Crowd-sourcing the Secret of Life: 23andMe and Open Innovation
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 2:19 pm
How direct-to-consumer genotype company 23andMe uses open innovation to drive genetic research
What if you showed up at the gym and your phone told you exactly what workout to do to achieve optimal gains?
Tommy Tom
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 5:15 pm
Under Armour partnered with Watson in January 2016 to make predictive, personalized fitness and nutrition reality
CircleUp – Identifying the next “Big Thing” using Machine Learning
Chris Li
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:41 pm
CircleUp is disrupting the consumer VC space using its machine learning platform, Helio, which uses public, partnership and practitioner data to identify small consumer brands with breakout potential.
Using machine learning to improve lending in the emerging markets
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 11:32 pm
Using machine learning to help small businesses and individuals source loans
Mollie Breen
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 9:39 pm
Cyber attacks got you down? Read how CloudFlare is building better security on the internet.
Twine Health: Pioneering Machine Learning in Chronic Disease Management
Samantha Sanders
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:59 pm
Twine Health is a digital health company with a chronic disease management application. Its platform draws heavily on machine learning to improve patient outcomes and save costs.
PayPal – Bringing Down the Bad Guys, One Transaction at a Time
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 12:35 am
PayPal is investing heavily in machine learning to fight against fraud and churn
Machine Learning in Credit Assessment at Capital One
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:13 pm
Capital One is banking on machine learning for new product innovations, but the bank should leverage their machine learning resources to develop machine learning for credit risk assessments, using predictive technology to identify good customers using broader sets of data. [...]
3D-Printing: A Nuclear weapon for startups willing to disrupt the vending machine business.
Arnold White
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 7:58 pm
3D-Printing represents a great opportunity for vending machine startups to innovate through an easier iteration process, enabling the whole industry to reinvent the customer experience.
How crowdsourcing is changing the Waze we drive
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 11:54 pm
Waze paves the way we are dealing with information about traffic and transportation in cities around the world
Tala: Providing loans for those without a financial identity
Gabriel Araujo
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 4:58 pm
2.5 billion people in the world don't have access to financial services. Tala is a startup trying to access this market by evaluating user's credit worthiness using only their smartphone data.
Adidas Speedfactory: Disrupting The Sneaker Manufacturing Process
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 4:27 pm
Adidas is leveraging futuristic automation and additive manufacturing to lead the pack in fast footwear
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