Betty Smith

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On November 15, 2018, Betty Smith commented on Open your open innovation to suppliers :

Oh, this is cool! It reminds me of how Toyota worked closely with their suppliers to improve their processes and make sure Just-In-Time production would work. It also relates to the beer game, where we saw how the impact of poor coordination and communication within suppliers can cause costly impacts on the entire supply chain.

I believe that, in order to incentivize a supplier to share innovation, companies need to establish trust and suppliers need to believe that they will have a higher benefit by sharing. What Dell is currently doing addresses those two aspects, even more so when enhanced by the additional suggestions by the author. However, I also recognize that this might not work for other industries with different competitive landscapes.

On November 15, 2018, Betty Smith commented on Crowdsourcing at Amazon: Democratization of TV / Film Content :

I didn’t know that Amazon did this, it’s an inspiring idea. I liked how the author explains the reasons for this project to be closed down, but I’m a bit skeptical about the opportunities to reopen it. In order for Amazon to benefit from this in terms of new ideas, it would have to believe that their own in-house creative content capabilities (based on a lot of user data (just like Netflix…) could not create what people outside of Amazon can. Not only once, but several times. On the other hand, if Amazon wants to use crowdsourcing as a way of selecting ideas, it would also have to believe that the data they have on consumer preferences, which is substantial, is also less accurate than opinions gathered through crowdsourcing.

On November 15, 2018, Betty Smith commented on Using machine learning to improve lending in the emerging markets :

Interesting article. As the author of the article mentions, using data improves the quality of the credit assessments by being more granular, though there are a lot of challenges related to regulation. On top of that, selecting which data to be used as a proxy for credit scores can be another challenge. I have worked closely with a startup that used data mining to improve the quality of credit scores in emerging markets in Asia. They used the data from uber and grab drivers as a way of improving their credit scores. So if a driver worked several times a week for several hours, it meant he was hardworking and therefore more capable of paying back debts. However, there are several limitations with this approach (e.g. if a driver has another job) that need to be accounted for in order for this to be a reasonable proxy.

Interesting article! I’m curious to see how this plays out in the next few years. Though I believe there is value in customizing product specifications according to customer’s preferences, I’m skeptical about how scalable it would be to allow them to create their own frames. Also, through contact lenses are indeed cheaper and do not change a user’s appearance, I believe there will always be a market for frames, especially customer made and limited edition frames. Analog watches have not been fully replaced by digital watches or smartphones, but they’ve become a fashion statement. So there might be further opportunity for this to happen in the glasses and frames industry as well.

This article made me expand my thoughts on factors to consider when choosing to adopt 3D printing. Instead of only cost/benefit analysis or access to technology, companies like Medtronic have to consider industry-specific limitations. In health care, new technologies can have serious consequences to a customer’s life or health, especially during early adoption. Still, if Medtronic is being too slow to adopt additive manufacturing, they can give their competitors an advantage.