Echoing Sam’s point that there is room and precedence for the government to intervene on behalf of public good. On the first point of attracting talent, one way United Utilities can do so is through open innovation competitions where they ask the public for solutions to a subset of their larger problem. For example, the US Department of Homeland Security ran a challenge on Kaggle to improve their threat recognition algorithm, with a top prize of $1.5mm. These competitions also act as a recruiting tool, especially for people with top talent but unconventional backgrounds (e.g., not graduating from a top school, not a computer science major).
Thinking back to the Aspiring Minds case, I wonder how much incremental value Knewton is adding with machine learning. In Aspiring Minds, some of us raised the question of whether the tests were more predictive than regular standardized testing. Similarly, I wonder the value of Knewton vs. a student being able to select a class that is closest match to their level vs. massive open online courses (which are usually free).
In addition, how do we know that Knewton is correctly identifying learning gaps for students? It seems like they are just running a multiple choice pre-test, but how does it know whether a student got a concept right through luck vs. actually understanding the material. Unlike Aspiring Mind which is evaluative, there is much higher risk with Knewton since students could end up completely misunderstanding basic concepts because they happened to guess right on the pre-test.
Echoing the comments above, I agree that Disney needs to move quickly into 3D printing to ensure it captures the proper IP before they are acquired by competitors. However, in terms of how they should roll out the 3D technology, I actually think they should roll it out from a brand perspective starting with their Marvel brand. The BBC quote mentioned how most customers who purchase 3D custom toys are adult collectors who can afford the higher price. I think Disney should lean into that trend by applying their 3D tech first to Marvel toys and cosplay, which I assume has a higher percentage of adult clients than traditional Disney brands like Mickey Mouse.
One question I had was the consumer appetite for 3D printed organs. Looking at the current resistance to self-driving cars such as Tesla, I think that people may have a similar reaction to 3D printed organs. Perhaps in a life or death situation, people may care less about whether their organs are natural vs. 3D printed. However, I wonder whether that tipping point is within the medium-term horizon and whether Organovo has the cash flow to support themselves until that tipping point.
Building on the point about the shift to digital, I wonder whether Lego would benefit from additional use of open innovation to determine their digital strategy. For example, Lego Boost is just a digital vehicle to collect data on how costumers use their physical bricks. However, the real question I think Lego should be asking is how do customers want to use Lego in the digital world. What does “digital” Lego look like? Perhaps Lego should be entering the programmable robot kit or coding kit segment.
This post raised the potential issue of open innovation’s negative impact on NASA’s R&D culture. However, I wonder whether the opposite, open innovation’s negative impact on the public’s perception of NASA, should also be cause for concern. For example, the post mentions that some NASA R&D professionals “ignored the finding shared by the public”. If I found out that NASA did not act on my findings, I would come to view NASA in a negative light. I wonder if this is something NASA took into consideration and what exactly they are doing to set expectations on how they would act on public findings.