Emily Brockway

  • Alumni

Activity Feed

On November 20, 2016, Emily Brockway commented on Supporting the Good You Do. Online. :

Very interesting to learn more about digitization in the non-profit sector!

I thought the discussion around data was very interesting. Frontstream meaningfully improves the information flow to nonprofits and provides much more transparency into who is donating and why. On the flipside, as you mentioned, this platform could also improve the transparency for givers into how their donations are being deployed by nonprofits. Although you alluded to givers being able to see pictures or stories of what has been accommplished with prior donations, I imagine this process could become even more quantitative and analytical, showing givers real-time info on how donations are being spent, their strategy and their effectiveness. Do you think Frontstream is well-positioned to to leverage Big Data to help givers make better “investing” decisions in non-profits? What adjustments would Frontstream have to make to its operating model to execute this new value prop to givers?

Reference: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304243904579197652066923202?mg=id-wsj

Interesting post, Anto! Thanks for sharing a more personal story.

Did ABU build the software in-house for the online portal or did they partner with a 3rd party and leverage their software? In addition, did ABU have to hire a new set of employees with a new skill set to keep the portal up and running at ABU? It sounds like ABU had to change some of their internal processes (i.e. processing hand-written registration forms, facilitating student-professor meetings) to adapt to the new online offering, and I was wondering what effect this change had on their employee mix and registration processes.

The new, online portal also seemed to make the registration process less personal. As you mentioned in your post, students and faculty would often meet to discuss the course and professor would either accept or reject them from the class. Did students and professors react favorably to removing this personal touch? Although it sped up the registration process, I would be interested to know if students actually missed the opportunity to engage with professors. It seems like it could actually be part of the University’s “customer promise” – facilitating relationships between professors and students and ensuring the classroom mix consists of the “right” students for the class.

On November 20, 2016, Emily Brockway commented on The geeks shall inherit the earth :

Thanks for the post, Arthur!

Given that NuBank is offering a fundamentally different value prop for its competitors, I am wondering how different stakeholders will respond to their product offering. Do you anticipate new regulatory restrictions coming into play given this new operating model / product offering? Do you anticipate consumers mistrusting this new platform given its digital nature, susceptibility to security breaches and vastly reduced interest rates? Although the lower interest rates are attractive to consumers, I imagine they may be hesitant / mistrustful of this offering at first, since it is so dramatically different than other market players. In addition, the bank does not have physical branches, which will require a change in consumer behavior.

I’d also be interested in learning more about NuBank’s use of data. What is the biggest breakthrough / insight they have pulled from the data so far? How are competitors responding to digital disruption and the introduction of this new competitor?

Reference: https://techcrunch.com/2015/06/02/brazils-nubank-raises-30m-led-by-tiger-to-build-out-its-mobile-based-credit-card-business/

On November 20, 2016, Emily Brockway commented on Nest Learning About More Than Just Thermostats :

Great post on a very relevant B2C IoT example!

While Nest has had a lot of buzz over the past couple of years, it seems like the consumer sentiment for “smart home” technologies is dwindling due to their unreliability. For example, Nest shut down its support of Revolv (a Nest acquisition in 2014) and therefore, rendered all purchased products obsolete for consumers. Given that most of the IoT products for a home rely on cloud-based software, if a company stops investing in or shuts down the cloud service, the customer value proposition disappears.

Reference: https://www.wired.com/2016/04/nests-hub-shutdown-proves-youre-crazy-buy-internet-things/

To increase adoption and quell customers’ fears, do you think Nest should enable their products to work outside of their cloud-based software (i.e. over wifi or bluetooth)? Or, do you worry that undermines their operating model / revenue streams?

Do you think Nest should revive its customer value proposition to reignite excitement and mitigate consumers concern’s for the practicality of IoT devices controlling the “smart home”?

On November 20, 2016, Emily Brockway commented on Water Innovation – Shedding Light on Big Underground Market :

Interesting post highlighting something we often take for granted: easy access to fresh water! Water networks are often underappreciated since these networks are rarely visible to the human eye; so, the figure that ~$250 billion will need to be invested in these networks by 2030 is staggering.

After learning more about NEC, it seems like they do not manufacture the sensors in-house and instead purchase them from a Swiss manufacturer, Gutermann. Therefore, NEC’s differentiation stems from their cloud-based software and application for collecting and storing the data. Do you think NEC will be able to differentiate solely through their software, or will they need to vertically integrate the production of the sensors? On the other hand, what stops a manufacturer, like Gutermann, from producing software in-house to compliment their product?

Also, does NEC provide the labor to go into the field to find the leaks or do they simply provide the data to the customer who then must send their own labor to detect the leaks?

It seems like NEC has a very asset-light operating model since they are providing the software overlay on Gutermann’s products. Very interesting example of how IoT is transforming operating models for companies!

Reference – http://www.nec.com/en/global/solutions/waterloss-management/

On November 7, 2016, Emily Brockway commented on Sustainability in the apparel industry: Just do it. :

Very interesting to analyze the sustainability strategy for a company that we all know and love!

It seems like Nike is taking a comprehensive and serious approach to sustainability, which is critical given their visibility in the retail market. Recently, Nike has faced issues with its supply-chain with delayed orders and stock-outs. In August of this year, Nike formed a partnership with Apollo (private equity firm) to purchase a couple of suppliers, leading to a more vertically integrated approach for Nike. I would be interested to know to what extent, if any, these supply-chain issues were due to sustainability factors?


In 2012, Nike purchased a minority stake in a Llamasoft, a provider of sustainable and efficient supply chain solutions. Part of this investment was to ensure Nike had both economically and environmentally friendly supply chain practices. Do you think the root cause of the recent supply-chain inefficiencies could be due to sustainability requirements? How efficiently is Nike balancing sustainable practices with efficiency and cost, since these concepts are often at odds?


On November 7, 2016, Emily Brockway commented on Generating change: A California utility copes with state regulation :

Great article! As a former San Francisco resident, it is interesting to read about the steps PG&E is taking to move towards more renewable energy.

One downfall of renewable energy is the need to store energy. Since renewable energy sources do not produce most of their energy at peak times of consumption (i.e. early evening hours), companies must store energy. I’d be interested to learn more about the effects of pumped storage on PG&E’s operating model as it is usually a costly endeavor. Pumped storage consists of pushing large amounts of water uphill during excess energy periods and then producing energy as the water moves back down the hill through turbines. It takes both a large upfront investment to create the storage facilities and then their is often a net loss of energy through this process. PG&E anticipates using the Diablo facility for pumped storage from renewable energy, which would have a significant impact on their operating model. Do you think it is feasible and cost-effective for PG&E to use pumped storage at the Diablo facility? Would the use of pumped storage increase the efficiency of their operating model? Are there any other solutions besides pumped storage?

A few interesting articles are below!


On November 7, 2016, Emily Brockway commented on Can Uganda combat the climate change threat to East African food security? :

Very thought-provoking post. Thank you for sharing, Leah!

The drought in the Northeastern region of Uganda earlier this year and the floods in 2014 both underscore the importance of addressing this issue swiftly and successfully.

(1) 2016 Drought – http://www.un.org/africarenewal/news/uganda%E2%80%99s-karamoja-faces-drought-emergency
(2) 2014 Floods – http://www.wsj.com/articles/uganda-floods-destroy-crops-1410860907

Given the seriousness and scale of the issue at hand, do you think that the Ugandan government will be able to successfully mitigate the effects of weather patterns on their food production? You mention intra-governmental cooperation but is inter-governmental cooperation feasible given that the Ugandan production of food is critical to surrounding East African countries? In addition, how much assistance will be needed from various global organizations to implement the strategy of the Ugandan government?

Since the nature of this issue is life or death and the effects of climate change are inevitable, should the government attempt to overcome the “free-rider” problem by demanding assistance from surrounding countries? In addition, should they pursue more drastic solutions for the problem (i.e. figuring out how to import food but make it affordable for the citizens, investing in modified seeds etc.)?

Thanks again for the post – really enjoyed stepping outside of the corporate discussions!

Great post! It’s interesting to think about the proliferation of climate change and sustainability in the world today; despite craft beer being somewhat of a niche, “trendy” product, competitors are forced to account for climate change and incorporate its effects into their strategy.

After reading up on the industry a bit more, it sounds like some craft breweries are adopting a policy of “sustainable brewing” to ensure their supply chain, more broadly, is sustainable. I would be interested to know if Brewery Vivant has any sort of initiative to account for water usage throughout its supply chain? For example, are their suppliers of hops and barley abiding by sustainable practices? Are their bottle manufacturers sustainable as well?

Deschutes is one example of a craft brewery pursuing a “sustainable brewing” approach. http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/sbo/2016/02/deschutes-looks-to-impact-supply-chain-for-beer.html

As we saw in the IKEA case, vertical integration can be helpful if pursuing a sustainable supply chain throughout. Obviously, this is not feasible for small craft breweries, but it will be interesting to see if this trend takes off in the larger beverage / beer companies in years to come!

Great read – thanks again for sharing!

On November 6, 2016, Emily Brockway commented on Online Shopping, Sustainable Shipping :

Really interesting comparison between 2 private competitors (DHL and UPS) with a public competitor (USPS)! This comparison highlights an important element of sustainability that is often underappreciated — “going green” is usually expensive in short-run, requiring substantial upfront investments. While these investments will often pay for themselves in the long-run, the upfront cost can be a more significant barrier for some companies.

In 2015, the USPS created the Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) program to obtain a new vehicle fleet that will reduce its environmental impact. It looks like USPS awarded Mahindra the contract in October of this year, and Mahindra will have 1 year to complete the prototyping.


How will this upgrade to the USPS fleet change their “ranking” in relation to DHL and UPS? Is USPS doing something similar with their airplanes to reduce carbon emissions?

I’d also be interested to learn more about their contingency / mitigation plans for the new, unpredictable weather patterns associated with climate change. As weather patterns become more variable, is it possible to anticipate and mitigate the effects? Is one possible solution simply adding a “buffer” of delivery time to account for the unpredictability.

Very thought-provoking post – thanks for sharing!