Estelle M.'s Profile
I am extremely interested in how architecture, construction and infrastructure design are being shaped by technological innovation, so very much enjoyed reading your post, Ariana.
A lot of efficiency, time, money and productivity is lost in the communication between architects and construction companies. 80% of large scale construction projects go over budget and on average take 20% longer than forecasted. Employing 3D visualisation tools like CATIA in architecture therefore has huge benefits along the entire supply chain.
In my research of how architects and construction industries can use technology more effectively, I came across the concept of Building Information Modelling (BIM) very frequently. BIM is a tool that allows the effective coordination and communication between different participants in the lifecycle of a design and construction project by capturing not only 3D models, but also relevant data for the construction process, progress updates and other information in one easily processable platform that can be shared between architects, developers, raw material suppliers and other stakeholders.
Autodesk’s website is extremely interesting on this topic: http://www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/bim-101#related-bim-101-video
This is a super interesting concept. The scarcity of space in today’s increasingly urbanised world is a very important challenge for the hospitality industry going forward. According to a study on the prospects of urbanisation conducted by the UN, continuing population growth and urbanization are projected to add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population by 2050. Technological solutions that maximise comfort whilst limiting the need for space will be an important feature in allowing as many people as possible to be able to live in urban centres.
The hospitality industry as a whole is lagging behind other industries in their use of digital technology. The McKinsey Global Institute developed a Digitisation Index to evaluate different industries on how effectively they are integrating technology and the hospitality industry ranked 20/22 (only ahead of construction and agriculture). Therefore, I am excited to see that companies like YOTEL are trying to push the industry’s digital frontier.
Very interesting post, Nick. Mining is an extremely interesting area, in which new self-driving car/ truck technologies that are being developed globally can be employed to increase safety and drive productivity.
I think there are great benefits to using self-driving technology in open pit mining as you mention in the case of iron ore mining by Rio Tinto, but even greater benefits if technology advances sufficiently to be able to employ self driving trucks in deep underground mining. Whilst it is more difficult to control a truck underground with poor visibility and weaker GPS signals, Volvo has recently tested the first fully self driving truck in underground mining at Boliden’s Kristineberg Mine in Sweden. In the future these trucks can be equipped with sensor technology that would allow them to communicate geological, pressure and weather data to surrounding machinery and databases for analysis by scientists and mining supervisors.
These are very promising developments for the future of mining.
Interesting post! Digitisation in the public sector is lagging significantly behind the private sector and governments globally still have a long way to go to integrate technology into daily operations.
As you mention, transparency, information sharing and interaction with the public are some of the important areas, in which governments can utilise technology to function more effectively. Sharing information openly and accessibly can help researchers and scientists use databases previously only available to the government in their own work and thereby help drive advance in different fields. At the same time, interaction with the public (for example through social media) is extremely important. Many young people nowadays across the globe are a-political and relatively poorly informed on policies. Communicating in a digital way is essential therefore in mobilising knowledge and interest as young people increasingly consume all knowledge via technology instead of traditional newspapers, books or formal education.
Lastly, I agree with you that the Obama administration has taken some important steps into the right direction. Obama appointed Megan Smith to be the first Chief Technology Officer of the White House. When Megan Smith came to speak at HBS a few weeks ago it was extremely interesting to see her emphasis of education and public involvement in governance. I believe we are on a good track in the US and hope that this will continue in the incoming administration. At the same time, other governments globally, for example the German Bundestag, need to also become more engaged through different forms of digital communication.
Very entertaining blog post – thank you.
The relevance of this topic is reflected in the many blog posts by our classmates that talk about how ski resorts are going to be impacted by climate change due to a lack of snow in the winter and the need to artificially generate it. You also mention coastal tourism will be affected by rising water levels, likely due to the melt water from glaciers. I agree with you that these changes will likely have a large impact on the hospitality industry in the long term, but I think the consequences are not felt drastically enough yet for hotels like the Marriott chain to start caring sufficiently to put in place more environmental efforts.
I am very interested in what motivates consumers and companies to care about the climate. In the case of corporations it is likely foremost a profit motive, but I think our low levels of intergenerational altruism also play a role in creating inaction. Humans have always shown a tendency to discount the utility (or living standard) of future generations at a higher discount rate than their own thereby placing less importance on how our actions are affecting the future of our planet. Therefore, I think Marriott should take a much more long term view here. Simple policies such as reducing water usage by asking customers to indicate when they want towels or linen changed, decreasing food wastage through food banks or investing in local tourism can have an amplified impact simply because of how many customers can be reached and educated.
Thank you for this insightful post.
Similar to Ronnie I was very intrigued by how an apparel company thinks about the environmental damage resulting from people’s tendency to purchase and discard clothing at a very fast pace. Especially lower price range companies like H&M, Forever21 and Primark (to name a few) are clearly benefitting from this trend and to some extent Adidas is likely to benefit as well. Therefore, I think it is likely a difficult analysis from Adidas’ perspective to think about how a sustainability program encouraging their customers to stop throwing away and buying new clothes may interfere with their objective of maximising customer lifetime value. I like Ronnie’s idea of the apparel and equipment recycling program and think that if positioned well this could actually lead to a competitive advantage for Adidas.
I thought it was very interesting to hear how Adidas is experimenting with dying their jerseys completely without water – it takes true innovation to have a real impact in the long term. Adidas could analyse what some of their competitors are doing in this space. During our marketing class on Nike we learnt that Nike introduced jerseys made entirely from recycled polyester made up from eight recycled plastic bottles each, for the 2010 World Cup. Whilst the jerseys themselves were not a great success, I think it was a thought provoking step in the right direction. Adidas has a lot of leverage in its supply chain, which they can use to ensure environmental sustainability along the entire chain. At the same time, I think Adidas also holds a lot of responsibility beyond the confines of their own operation to educate consumers about the importance of climate change (for example through their partnership with the FIFA as official World Cup sponsors).
Very interesting blog post – I thoroughly enjoyed watching DiCaprio’s “After the flood” and recommend it to everyone in the class (it is available for free until midnight tomorrow on most sites).
If I were Suncor’s CEO Steve Williams, I would be very reluctant to follow measures simply to make them “look” more environmentally conscious and to take corporate actions only to have them highlighted in the media. Real impact on climate change is a long-term strategy, especially for industries like the oil industry, where objectives and incentive structures are often in direct contrast with those of environmentalists. I think Suncor’s investment in building wind farms and a biofuel plant is a step in the right direction, but a step that needs to align with the company’s overall strategy. I am interested to follow Suncor’s developments and see the extent to which they now further change into a diversified energy company.
Very interesting post and very topical in today’s economic environment due the world economy’s increasing reliance on international trade in an ever more globalised world. Supply chains that extend across borders and continents are becoming the norm and consumers today expect the unlimited availability of imported consumer goods, such as toys from China, parma ham from Italy or tulips from the Netherlands. These trends will lead to an increased reliance on transportation and logistics giants like Maersk. I think an important step, as you mention, will be to make their vessels more fuel efficient by working with shipbuilders on integrating more light weight materials to decrease the consumption of maritime fuel for each voyage. Another aspect could be to aim to avoid vessels travelling at below full capacity, i.e. with empty space, as this drives up distance travelled unnecessarily. Whilst I have a feeling the this is may be less of a concern for bulk or container ships, I think it could be a larger concern in smaller vessel classes, like barges that may travel empty more often.
This is a very thoughtful post on the impact the steel industry has on the environment and the different levers of change Tata Steel may be able to employ to improve the current situation.
I think the steel industry is extremely interesting in this context also because of the length of its supply chain. The main raw materials iron ore and coking coal are produced predominantly in Australia and Brazil and are then transported via bulk vessel to China, Japan, the US, India or Europe for further processing into steel. The responsibility of a large steel manufacturer with regards to climate change and environmental impact therefore may extent beyond their own operations into aiming to optimise within the context of the supply chain as a whole.
The automobile industry is one of the largest users of steel. Most recently we have seen (especially among the premium car manufacturers) a substitution effect to aluminium. Aluminium and carbon fibre in automobiles are considered as “energy efficient” given their lightweight nature leading to a lower consumption of gasoline by the end customer. Tata could therefore also consider increased innovation and R&D into developing different grades of steel that may be equally durable, but also have some of the environmental benefits of more lightweight materials.