Amelia Lee's Profile
Thanks for the educational piece, Vince! Given BCG’s well-established reputation as a consulting powerhouse, I think the challenges for BCGDV are as follows: 1. How to break away from its reputation of being a pure-play consulting firm, which require quite different skills from building and launching startups, and 2. how to isolate the failed BCGDV startups, such that BCG’s reputation is not tarnished. Given the aforementioned risks, it may be worthwhile for BCG to consider establishing the DV business under a brand name that is not directly associated with BCG.
Thanks for the interesting read! Unlike its pure-play retail clothing counterparts, M&S also sells home products and luxury food products, and all three product categories usually co-exist in the same store. This puts M&S in a unique position when coming up with their in-store innovations for their clothing section, as they would have to consider these innovations in tandem with the implications on their food hall.
Another hallmark of M&S stores are that they are usually quite big, with clearly demarcated clothing, home products, and food sections, and enabling different customer experiences within each section. Given that M&S has 60 planned branch closures in the next 5 years, I am sure they must be considering reducing the size of the remaining stores as well. This makes it even more important for innovations to consider all product categories – I am not sure if customers would fancy browsing a digital catalog of the latest fashion clothing right next to the fridge of frozen chicken.
Great post on Teladoc, Kelly. I find the business model really interesting.
Every time I am down with the flu, my family general practitioner (“GP”, the equivalent of a primary care physician in the USA) would always prescribe me the same medications. As a kid, I used to think the job of a GP must be really easy, by simply matching the ailments with the respective drugs. It was only more recently that I realized that the role of the general practitioner is not just to dish out the same prescriptions everyday.
The value-add of the GP (and his/her multiple years of medical training) is in picking out the esoteric medical conditions during regular consultations for flu and stomach upsets. This requires both history taking and a physical examination (as pointed out by Maria as well). Teladoc is clearly still lacking the physical examination component, which makes it inferior to a GP. It would definitely be amazing if telemedicine can be further enhanced to include this physical examination component in the near future.
I have always been intrigued by how watches still continue to exist. Its primary function (i.e. telling the time) has been folded into one of the countless features available on a smart phone, essentially rendering it to be an outdated piece of technology. Yet, watches have seemed to have survive technology revolutions. Looking specifically at the luxury watch category, sales hit record highs in 2014.
This leads me to think that the primary purpose why a consumer buys a watch is no longer for its function of telling the time. For the IWC-wearer, people wear it likely for what it says about them, rather than the product itself. For others, it is a memory of a special moment in their lives.
While you mentioned that the TAG Smart has been well received, for the aforementioned reasons, I’m not sure if smartwatches will redefine the watch industry’s equilibrium. The way technology is currently consumed is that it gets replaced every few years, once a new piece of technology comes along. On the contrary, a luxury watch is meant to last in perpetuity, just as how “you never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely take care of it for the next generation”.
If TAG still intends to compete in the luxury watch category going forward, I think the TAG Smart, or going into smartwatches in general, may end up being brand-dilutive for TAG. I look forward to seeing how TAG’s foray into luxury watches eventually pans out.
It is heartening to see that Bridge taking big and bold strokes in their attempt to ensure every child’s right to education. The move by the Ugandan High Court is disappointing yet predictable, given the entrenched interests of various stakeholders.
Going forward, I think a key lesson for Bridge is that it needs to work closely with all required approval agencies or ministries. Unlike Uber and Lyft packing up and leaving Austin, Texas in protest against the requirement of fingerprint-based background checks, Bridge cannot do the same. This is particularly if Bridge keeps in mind what (I hope )matters most to them – ensuring that every child on the planet is able to get access to the basic right of education.
Prior to reading this, I did not know that GM formerly had an electric car – especially not one that was launched nearly two decades ago, too! It truly is a shame that they gave up the opportunity to be the first mover in this space, and now left to eat the dust of the likes of Toyota Prius and Tesla Motors. Upon doing some research on the sales figures of the Toyota Prius vs the Chevy Volt, I found that Toyota sold approximately six times more units in a single month. This underscores how costly a bad decision can be.
In addition to the Chevy Volt you mentioned, GM has recently announced the launch of the Chevy Bolt EV (it’s first purpose-built regular production electric car since the demise of the EV1 17 years ago) in early 2017. On paper, the Bolt looks slated for success – it can go up to 238 miles on a single charge, and is affordably priced at around $30,000 (after tax rebates). However, I would argue that the true test of the success of GM’s commitment to sustainability would be how GM’s management team reacts if sales of the Bolt prove to be consistently lacklustre.
Jorge, thanks for this interesting read. What stood out to me was the astounding fact that the hang tag label we find on clothes actually had to travel the world to be produced, only to be thrown into the trash by the consumer almost instantaneously after a purchase! I am definitely guilty of that.
Just as ASimon mentioned, I too feel that there is little incentive for Avery Dennison to resolve the problem. This would firstly make consumers aware of a problem that currently is not at the top of most minds when we think about climate change. Moreover, the (seemingly) most direct resolution to the problem – to eliminate these tags that consumers arguably do not value – would be to try to remove tags from clothes altogether. This would essentially destroy one of Avery Dennison’s lines of business.
Based on the above logic, it may seem that the best cause of action for Avery Dennison would be to downplay the situation. I hence applaud Avery Dennison’s efforts to instead raise consumers’ awareness to the issue of deforestation and its implications, and concur with you that investing in innovation is necessary to ensure the longevity of Avery Dennison. In the nearer term, it seems like the “globalized” nature of Avery Dennison’s manufacturing process (having the materials sourced, treated and produced from the world over) is accounted in such a way that only the benefits are reflected (i.e. through cost savings), but not the costs (e.g. the carbon emissions related to the hand tag travelling the world). I am curious whether there is a way to put a monetary value to the latter, which may motivate companies to think twice about their manufacturing decisions.
Amanda, thanks for this interesting piece. With the weather getting colder, the prospect of having a power outage with no heating seems petrifying, to say the least.
I found it particularly intriguing that Eversource has been moving slower than their California and New York counterparts – I just did a quick search and found that the weather patterns are more unpredictable in New England than they are in California or New York. I am curious as to whether this is a function of competition (or the lack thereof), or if this is the result of regulatory incentives that are available in the other two states but not in Massachusetts? Regardless, given the social good element of the provision of energy and gas, more intervention on a governmental level should probably be necessary to ensure that sufficient funds are allocated to investing in more efficient and reliable tools to supply energy in New England.
Orianne, thanks for this interesting piece.
I think Accor’s efforts are commendable, especially with them being the first mover to outline sustainability initiatives and disclose their energy consumption figures. Being the first mover, however, also means that they are naturally putting themselves at a disadvantage. As you rightfully pointed out, sustainable solutions are always expensive to implement. It is hence difficult for Accor to be a thought leader and first mover in championing sustainability efforts – it will always come at an expense. Even if Accor strives to champion sustainability in its industry, Accor is likely only motivated to be incrementally more “sustainable” than its peers, rather than revolutionize sustainability practices in the hospitality industry. Adopting the latter would likely set the company behind against its competitors in the short term, and given the highly competitive nature of the industry, Accor may not even have the opportunity to reap the long-term benefits.
Another point you brought up was that investing in sustainability has generated profits for them. However, I am not sure if their differentiation strategy based on sustainability is alone to recoup the additional expenses incurred to implement sustainability practices. In choosing hotels, other criteria such as location and accessibility are likely to rank ahead of a hotel operator’s sustainability practices.
Based on the aforementioned, to truly revolutionize sustainability practices across the hospitality industry, given the first-mover disadvantages of adopting sustainability practices, more has to be done on industry-wide level to truly effect change.
I agree with you that beyond looking at the implications of sustainability on Inditex’s operations, in truly determining whether Inditex’s model can co-exist with sustainability, we have to take a step back and look at the customer promise of Inditex – to provide up-to-the-minute designs at extremely low price points. This has encouraged shoppers to not only expand their wardrobes vastly, but also refresh them quickly. Incentives to encourage recycling of consumers’ old clothes only helps resolve one end of the problem – there are still considerable resources involved to generate these “disposable” pieces of clothing that the brands under Inditex sell. For Inditex to truly work be aligned with sustainability, a fundamental change to its customers promise may ultimately be necessary.