This is a great idea that is going to take an enormous amount of skill and knowledge to implement. Most construction sites adopt changes slowly because their margins are too low to take chances, they have to remain focused on safety, and workers generally dislike changes that affect how they go about working. Although I agree that the upside, as you laid out, is huge, the backlash from workers against being tracked is going to be equally large. Hopefully their execution is as good as their idea.
It’s interesting that Time is growing its digital footprint so aggressively, I just wonder if the lackluster Q3 results are an indication of tough times ahead. Integrating the magazine brands that are behind Time into a profitable digital space will take more than uploading them into an app, something I’m sure Time is realizing. Building trust behind each physical magazine’s brand took time. Now, with an influx of information and companies playing in the digital space, differentiating Time’s brands from the masses will most likely prove very difficult. It might be too little too late.
Jumping on the Luddite bandwagon with Sam, I also never used Slak before HBS, so I was not familiar with all of its different uses before reading. The idea that Slack could eventually remove the need for a physical corporate HQ is fascinating, not just for the reasons you mentioned, but because it would remove another barrier for companies trying to attract talent. If your company is based in Midland, MI, are you really going to have the same selection of talent as a company based in NYC? If Slack is able to truly enable companies to have its corporate employees work from anywhere, it opens up a range of competitive advantages. Having said that, I’m guessing we’re still pretty far from that reality.
I completely agree with David’s comment above. Assuming driverless technology continues to progress, the next big hurdle will be bias and regulation against autonomous machinery. One comparison to this change is elevators. Elevators used to be operated by humans and for good reason. They were not perfect machines and they made mistakes that cost people their lives. However, when elevators became more automated and, statistically, safer than their human-operated counterparts, people still did not trust them . In addition, elevator operators went on strike. It took time and convincing to get people comfortable with the idea of automated machines. I predict the same barrier with driverless vehicles.
Great post. It’s interesting to think about the entertainment media pipeline from content creation to content distribution. What I find remarkable about Netflix is that it started at content distribution with, seemingly, the full support of networks who owned the rights to content. Now, after earning a sizable share of how media is consumed by users, Netflix has started to move into content creation. In response, networks are beginning to respond negatively – both by withholding the rights to content or by attempting to enter the digital streaming space themselves . It will be interesting to see if Netflix can walk the tightrope long enough to either generate enough content to become independent from networks or earn enough power to become a necessity as a media outlet.
I agree that P&G is surprisingly behind the curve on its adaptation to climate change mitigation. With public concern growing, you would imagine that a company as consumer facing as P&G would be more proactive to reduce its dependency on operations and technology that produce GHG emissions. The big question is what steps should it take? Can P&G shift its energy consumption towards more renewable or more efficient sources? Will a fundamental change in technology be necessary to make a significant impact on its operations? Is P&G in the best position to develop this technology?
I agree that nuclear is an extremely powerful (pun intended) option for expanding global energy sources while increasing resource efficiency and reducing relative GHG emissions. The TWR is an interesting and promising extension of this. However, I think we always have to be overly cautious. Even with a proven track record of safety, nuclear power still has the potential for things to go very wrong. Normalcy bias, the idea that people underestimate the probability of a disaster as well as the scale of its effects, can come into play here. With that in mind, we should push further into nuclear power while remaining uncompromising on safety.
I think these are very important questions. Should large companies/competitors be able to collaborate? Does serving a “greater good,” such as reducing GWP for products, change this equation?
First, at least in the US, antitrust laws forbid companies from blatant industry rigging, such as price fixing or market division . However, the need for collaboration is certainly acknowledged. Whether companies are able to collaborate is specific to the situation. So how far should the societally beneficial act of lowering GWP be able to push these boundaries? I don’t think industry rigging should be a question: companies should not be able to come together, like DuPont and Honeywell did, to create a product AND decide which customers each company will target to split up the profits. Beyond that, I think collaborating should be seen as a net positive. Antitrust laws should be created and used sparingly for this type of collaboration.
Very interesting article. I am a little skeptical of the data that ties climate change to the increased frequency of natural disasters. It seems that scientists’ “confidence has risen”  when looking at techniques which link climate change and natural disasters. Intuitively, it makes sense. However, I think we will have to collect more data over time to prove this conclusively.
Taking this assumption as fact, FEMA’s response to this problem is concerning. The agency has launched a reinsurance initiative to insure itself . If events continue to escalate in frequency and possibly severity, the agency is no longer exposing just itself, but global markets as a whole. I am concerned that instead of taking the actions you outlined, it is just delaying the eventual wakeup call – and increasing the exposure.
Self-imposing more stringent standards is an interesting point. On one hand, by doing this, Aramco would stay ahead of regulation and avoid penalties for lagging behind. It might also be forced to innovate faster, giving the company a competitive advantage going forward. However, my concern is that by imposing more stringent standards it might make the company less competitive in the short run (more resources used than competitors). In addition, a technological breakthrough available to the entire industry in the future (e.g. an efficient carbon capture technology) could nullify the self-imposed work that Aramco has done. My guess is that Aramco is best off balancing these possibilities – imposing stricter self regulations without overdoing it.