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Nice post! I think the increasing ease and decreasing cost with which we can put satellites into space raises loads of interesting concerns, particularly when it comes to intelligence gathering, privacy and espionage (including personal, corporate, government). As I see it, space is currently a free-for-all, no one owns it, no one regulates it – who possibly could right? But once upon a time the same thing was probably said about oceans – I wonder if, as the value of satellite ownership becomes more apparent to many, “ownership” of space will become an issue for the international community to grapple with?

On November 20, 2016, AS commented on How is technology disrupting education? :

Great post! I think Khan Academy is pursuing a very worthy objective, but educators need to also gain a sense of the limitations of these types of, what I would call, “teaching tools”. I think technology has huge potential in being able to personalise learning – one teacher’s explanation will never be the most effective one for all 30 kids in a class, so why not have 30 teachers (videos) explain the same concept in the perfect way for each individual? That’s powerful. However, there is a lot a great teacher does at levels above “classroom explanations” that we shouldn’t forget, and assume technology can also replace.

On November 20, 2016, AS commented on Ocado – Changing Grocery Shopping in the UK :

Nice post! I think the benefits to the customer are amazing and cannot be questioned. I think the supermarket side of the equation is the interesting one – is it actually more profitable for large the supermarkets to operate a delivery model rather than stores (where essentially the customer self-covers all the transportation, bagging and picking costs). I see how Ocado created value for itself by filling a gap between the supermarket and the customer, but I wonder if due to very different business and operating models, we will see the emergence of an online-only supermarket (with no brick and mortar stores) in the UK?

On November 20, 2016, AS commented on Smart Campus: Coming to a School Near You? :

Nice post. I think the use of technology in education is one that has to be apporached with a lot of caution, given the frankly huge costs technology attracts that could be utilised elsewhere. The key test that I think any technology has to pass is “how does this enable more efficient/ effective learning to take place than before?”. This question goes right to the heart of how learning takes place – if that is not fully understood then there is a risk that new technologies are not actually adding value. For example, we have to avoid the temptation to digitise textbooks becasue we just assume digital is better – the exact same paragraph of text on an iPad is educationally no more valuable than on a piece of paper…

On November 20, 2016, AS commented on Digitizing the Starbucks Experience :

Great post! Very interesting to consider how organisations whose core product is very low-tech (a cup of coffee always has been and, I would say, always will be simply a cup of coffee…) are trying to leverage tech to boost their business and customer offering. I wonder in years to come if the investment in tech will prove to have been very worthwhile and a driver of success, or is it a “nice to have” that customers value, but ultimately isn’t essential for them to make their buying decsion? Regardless, I think the access to customer data this gives Starbucks and other “low-tech” services makes it a worthwhile investment on its own.

On November 6, 2016, AS commented on The Battle at the Top of the World :

Very interesting take on climate change – that it represents an opportunity, not a challenge to some organisations! I couldn’t help thinking that if the overall effects of this cruise are damaging to the environment and the arctic ice (which I would guess it is), then surely in this case the responsibilty for prevention and control must lie with governments and regulators (whether it be Canadian, US or international). Unfortunately, I think there are always going to be people and organisations who seek to benefit from seriously negative events, so in this case, where an individual organisation has made a first move into this space, it’s regulators who have to take the responsibilty on their shoulders to set a precedent – if it’s not them, then who else is it?

On November 6, 2016, AS commented on Climate Change: Edging the UK towards its last letter? :

Very interesting post – I think this does a great job at highlighting a key issue with climate change – it affects everyone and every business, not just those that are easy to connect with changing weather patterns etc. The mention of infrastructure (by which I mean public infrastructure such as roads rather than Royal Mail infrastructure such as distribution centres) raises the question in my mind as to who is responsible for maintaining and taking responsibility in these cases – should the government be spending more on climate change interventions? Or is this an issue that gets pushed onto businesses and organisations to deal with on a more individual level?

Interesting article! What it find intriguing about the large multi-nationals (including PepsiCo) who, as you have pointed out, depend on a large supply of natural resources for their products is whether their true motivation for strategies such as “Product, Planet, and People” is because they genuinely care (or must show they care for PR purposes because their customers care) or if the strategy is driven by a business need to ensure sustainability of their supply chains from a volume perspective. I suspect it’s a mixture of the two, and the true weighting between them is something only very senior execs will ever know…

On November 6, 2016, AS commented on Mayday: Mother Earth Code 7700 :

Very interesting piece. I couldn’t help but think about aircraft manufacturer’s real incentivisation and motivation for taking climate change seriously – given the huge costs and technological difficulties involved in addressing the issue. Society tends to give air travel a real tough time when it comes to climate change, so I think a large part of their motivation is for PR purposes, but the question is; if in 5, 10, 15, 20 years time they still haven’t developed a more carbon friendly solution, will demand for air travel (and their revenues) decline? Given how critical and common air travel has become, I find this hard to believe – so should manufacturers just accept their product is going to produce a lot of greenhouse gas at high altitude and focus on offsetting strategies (planting forests etc.) rather than prevention ones?

On November 6, 2016, AS commented on The World Bank: Climate Change’s Unexpected Rival :

Very interesting piece. I think the decision of whether to integrate climate change funding with existing, more established sectors (health, infrastructure etc.) or to treat climate change as a separate sector in its own right is an interesting one. I think that the success of this decision will largely depend on what happens external to the Bank – it will come down to whether service providers and delivery partners (who the Bank fund to implement projects) see integration with other sectors in the same way and if they are successful at doing so. What incentives does, for example, an NGO focused on healthcare have to go after climate change funding and develop integrated programmes? Even if it’s incentivised, does it have the capacity and expertise to do so?