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)

Shooting for the Stars
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 8:00 pm
A Look at How NASA is Using Open Innovation to Solve Lofty Challenges
Bridgestone: Production System Innovation Through Machine Learning
Yusuke Shimada
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 2:41 pm
Increasing product quality while reducing costs through higher productivity leveraging machine learning technology
Maison Me-chine
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 3:09 pm
Maison Me is a made-to-order apparel brand powered by machine learning.
Iberdrola, machine learning and the future of offshore wind
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 6:05 pm
Offshore wind turbines offer tremendous potential for renewable energy, but are still not as competitive as other low-carbon technologies. Iberdrola, global leader in power generation and one of the largest wind power producers, looks at machine learning solutions to decrease [...]
Open your open innovation to suppliers
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:59 pm
The role of suppliers in open innovation should be reconsidered as high tech companies have difficulty identify product/process innovation solely from users and customers. Dell pioneered to have its suppliers proactively engage in product and process innovation along open innovation [...]
“What do you mean, Doctor?!”
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 2:08 pm
Machine Learning (ML) is changing the way healthcare systems operate, both in terms of internal processes and patient-facing interventions. How effective will it prove in the long run and will it be a tool to aid or a tool to [...]
Rolls-Royce: Optimising jet engine maintenance with machine learning
Chris H
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 6:25 pm
Rolls-Royce is looking to machine learning to optimise how it maintains over 13,000 jet engines currently flying around the world
Block by Block: Harnessing Open Innovation at The LEGO Group
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:29 pm
Between 1999-2003 The LEGO Group was on a burning platform [1]. Children were abandoning traditional toys at earlier ages, turning to more sophisticated alternatives such as video games. Retailers were becoming more complex, as the phenomenon of big-box stores made [...]
Airbnb — Customizing Recommendations for Every Trip
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 4:39 pm
Overview of Airbnb's strong implementation of machine learning: search engine, optimized pricing, photo-categorization and more
Alibaba turns to Open Innovation to harness the power of millions of tech developers around the world
Last modified on November 12, 2018 at 5:40 pm
Working with others can be much for productive than we expect
Square’s New Circle: Banking on Data
Cathy Han
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 11:45 pm
Square brought small business payment terminals into the modern day. The simple, clean Square dongle has become widely recognized as the icon of new-age payment. Now, the company is eyeing its valuable set of transaction data to make loans. Square’s [...]
Machine Learning: Schneider Electric Positions Itself to Lead Digital Transformation of Infrastructure
lill janglas
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 11:16 pm
Demand for applying digitization and machine learning to current operations has increased significantly for manufacturing companies today. Can one company expand its reach to help all industries reach their goal of digital transformation?
Myth or Reality: Exploring the Potential for Machine Learning to Improve Care Delivery in the UK’s National Health Service
Ollie Osunkunle
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 8:50 pm
Machine-learning driven advancements in healthcare have promised much but left us waiting. Will the UK National Health Service's latest effort fare any better?
OrCam: A New Vision for Machine Learning
Private Eyes
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 6:24 pm
Can machine learning help people see again? OrCam says yes.
A $4,000 donation can now provide a whole new home for a family in less than 24 hours
Last modified on November 13, 2018 at 12:55 am
How a non-profit uses additive manufacturing to build affordable, viable homes in the developing world
Modern Meadow: Using Additive Manufacturing to Reimagine Fashion and Food
Diversification Magic
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 1:23 am
Biofabrication has the potential to radically change how we obtain, process, and transform animal products for food and fashion.
Alibaba Has Something to Say about What You Should Buy and Whom You Should Marry
Jack Q Ma
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:54 pm
Its highly personalized app seems to know you better than you know yourself. But is there such a thing as too much personalization?
Giving Credit Where its Due: Machine Learning’s Role in Lending
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 2:29 am
Machine learning allows lenders to score credit risk for millions of people who may have had no FICO score before
GM and Machine Learning Augmented Design
Posted on November 12, 2018 at 1:42 pm
AI-driven product development may help GM find an edge in an industry that has increasingly trended towards conformity in the face of uncertainty. Can GM use machine learning to transform from a company hedging its risk by dabbling in everything [...]
Under Armour and Additive Manufacturing
Bob Appel
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm
In the ever-changing athletic footwear landscape, harnessing the power of cutting-edge technology has become critical to brand success and survival. The American sports footwear and apparel company, Under Armour (UA), founded in 1996 by Chairman and CEO, Kevin Plank, has [...]
Using Machine Learning for Consumer/Retail Private Investing
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm
How quantitative investment strategies can transform the deal for both sides
Future of Footwear? Additive Manufacturing at Adidas
George P. Burdell
Last modified on November 11, 2018 at 3:11 pm
Sportswear manufacturer Adidas is incorporating 3D-printing in its new sneaker line
The Beauty of Crowdsourcing
TOM Student
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 7:59 pm
How Natura brings open innovation to life
Carbon Lighthouse: Illuminating Energy Savings with Machine Learning
Posted on November 13, 2018 at 4:50 pm
Carbon Lighthouse delivers 20-30% energy savings to their clients using a cloud-based, machine-learning AI.