Very interesting piece. This is the first time I’ve heard about this concept. I think Sidewalk Labs’ intention here is fantastic — the company recognizes the benefits of digital innovation and is acting accordingly. Crowdsourcing can be extremely beneficial; however there are also limitations on its applications. The sustainability and future success of Sidewalk Labs relies receiving a wide-variety of high-quality input from the community. As such, in my mind, Sidewalk Labs must demonstrate the power of open innovation through its work in Toronto to gain over public opinion. Without an effective proof of concept, I’m skeptical that the company will be able to scale and get other cities on-board. That being said, citizens have increasingly been assuming a more active role within their communities. Given the democratization of data and rise of social media, consumers want their voice to be heard. As such, if implemented correctly, this idea might be able to continue to gain traction over the next 5-10 years.
According to the Economist in June 2017, “3D printing and clever computers could revolutionize construction”. Moreover, there are several other media outlets that praise the competitive advantages gained by utilizing 3D printing within the construction industry. However, the question remains…how feasible are these potential benefits? 3D printing has certainly been gaining traction in certain industries, but can 3D printing capabilities be feasibly applied to heavy-duty construction projects?
BCG recently published a report which outlines the effects that 3D printing might have on the construction industry (see link: https://www.bcg.com/en-us/publications/2018/will-3d-printing-remodel-construction-industry.aspx). Per BCG, the construction industry has been very conservative and sluggish to adopt new technology. But in the view of BCG, that mindset might soon be changing. And if so, it would be wise of companies like AECOM to be the first-movers to adopt technological advances like 3D printing in order to gain an edge in the industry.
Very thoughtful article. In my view, Gillette needs to react quickly and address the issues driving the decrease in sales and market share over the past couple of years. However, I’m still unsure which major action / directive the company should pursue. I guess the question is — does 3D printing actually provide any true value to customers? Does the customization that 3D printing enables actually provide meaningful value?
My sense is that 3D printing customization in the razor market will provide little-to-no value. As such, I believe that Gillette should swiftly switch its near-term focus on the direct-to-consumer channel. Meanwhile, Gillette should continue to leverage its strong brand known for high-quality, innovative razors to drive sales. Lastly, the key risk to Gillette’s future is the strength of its customer loyalty. With cheaper, subscription-based razor-razor blade solutions, Gillette is in dire need to connect intimately with its end users and further develop entrenched customer relationships. If those relationships can be formed in a value-added, cost-effective way through customized 3D printed razors, then Gillette should pursue that route. However, my worry is that 3D printing will be costly and provide little-to-no noticeable advantages.
This article (https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/070715/gillettes-market-edge-becoming-razorthin.asp) provides a cogent overview of Gillette’s business model. While the article doesn’t address 3D printing specifically, it highlights other potential headwinds that Gillette might face going-forward.
Very thoughtful analysis. Machine learning and AI is indeed transforming the travel industry, as all of the main players rush to leverage machine learning / AI algorithms to establish competitive advantages over their peers. I think your last question regarding the sustainability of these competitive advantages is a good one, especially as it pertains to the travel industry. Travel is a deeply personal decision. With the democratization of data, consumers are smarter than ever about the multitude of options available to them. As such, consumers will continue to demand more personalized user experiences to convert customers and drive loyalty.
Machine learning enables corporations to provide much more highly personalized experiences with their customers. In my opinion, given this dynamic in today’s age, the first-movers within the travel industry to establish deep, intimate relationships with customers will be the ones to shape the industry over the foreseeable future.
This is a very thought-provoking subject. The world around us is indeed changing rapidly as machine learning and big data are becoming an integrated part of organizations. However, the question still remains — will machines ever be able to fully replace humans, or will the human element always remain a critical component of successful organizations? My view is that humans are going to be around for the long haul. As such, the question then becomes, which specific areas of a business do humans play a critical and differentiated role vs. computer/machine performance? In my opinion, HR departments are one of those roles where humans will and should always be able to do the job more effectively. In my experience, strong HR departments rely on personal relationships and human connection to be successful. Given this dynamic, my personal view is that Humu might struggle to gain a critical mass of customers due to industry push-back from corporations (particularly HR departments) and employees (especially once they realize they’re really being ‘nudged’ by a computer). It is truly a fascinating concept; however, I believe that Humu might struggle to gain a critical mass of customers as the human element will always take precedent over the machine within HR.