Joaquin Romero

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Great job! I believe that the power of open innovation in the pharma industry is extremely beneficial for both the company and the society as a whole. If companies like Pfizer can develop a robust and reliable open innovation platform, R&D costs will plunge, leading to efficiencies in the entire value chain and providing society with new and more affordable drugs.
However, I will be extremely conscious about how to apply open innovation in the medical industry. Let’s imagine that Pfizer launches an open innovation challenge to create a cure for liver cancer. First, top talent is mandatory. The incentives should be extremely clear and aligned to bring on board the best talented scientists and physicians. If the company fails to attract them, then the outcome will not probably be successful. Second, approving a drug from an open innovation challenge would require stricter procedures than those if the drug is developed internally. Once Pfizer makes sure it has the right participants, the company should analyze thoroughly every single proposal because of the implied risks in public health. This is not about toys or cars, medicine should be treated very carefully when opened up to distributed innovation.
On the whole, I feel there is a huge potential in the application of distributed innovation in pharma, but companies should be aware of the motivators required to attract the right talent and the implied risks of outsourcing drug development process.

On November 14, 2018, Joaquin Romero commented on Solidifying the impact of open data innovation in the government – NYC311 :

Very interesting article! I am surprised that governments are experimenting with open innovation. I definitely agree with the benefits that distributing data among the community implies in terms of fostering the participation of citizens to improve their own communities.
In my opinion, the analysis could be divided into 2 different parts. The first one is related to the government sourcing data from citizens, which I think they are currently doing so via the 311 for instance. But the second part is linked to how the government drives innovation using the crowdsourced data. In this part, I have a different perspective from the one stated in the essay, especially in terms of what open innovation actually means. From my point of view, it is all about empowering the community to use open platforms to analyze data and ultimately come up with creative solutions to the government problems. So even though I totally agree with the need to analyze data, I think that building in house capacity might hinder the benefits of distributed innovation.
That being said, I feel that the government is in the very early stage of the distributed innovation process. Although it is crowdsourcing data, there must be a substantial investment in an open platform to attract talented and creative people not only from the local community but also from different parts of the world, to leverage the value of open innovation.

Great post! Coming from the automotive industry and having experienced many product development processes, I think that the potential benefits that additive manufacturing can bring to the industry is huge.
I totally agree with you about the cost and time savings in tooling and prototyping. I had probably 20 workshops with vehicle parts designers and engineers to test the marketability of the vehicle design components such as the front bumper. Many times, we complied that we did not have the part to touch and feel and assess its potential in a more customer centric way. The reason was mainly how expensive it was to develop a prototype to just test customer acceptance.
Now many OEMs are shifting efforts and investing heavily in 3D printed parts. However, I am quite concerned about the scalability that this technology has beyond the product development process. Implementing 3D printed technology to produce actual parts to be installed in a vehicle, would require a completely redesign of the production process. For instance, the throughput time of a 3D printed panel is higher than the corresponding of a conventional injection part once the tooling is built.
So I think the potential is promising to the product development phase but in the manufacturing process, there is still work to do for the OEMs to adapt its manufacturing process to the new technology. One possible solutions encountered by startups such as Local Motors is using microfactories, which are a physical operating space, designed for rapid prototyping, modular experimentation, and small-batch manufacturing of products. For example, microfactories can make weather-specific vehicles such as all-wheel-drive for snowy locations using additive manufacturing to rapid adapt to customers demand. But how scalable in terms of volume is that? How many micromanufacturing facilities are needed to compete with an automotive giant?

Hey Giorgi, nice read! The topic is extremely interesting as many fintech startups are truly revolutionizing the traditional financial industry, making many of the commercial banks behemoths change their business model.
I would like to build on your essay, adding one example from Latin America. Prior to HBS, I worked in the biggest ecommerce and payments platform in the region. MercadoPago’s goal is to democratize the access of money in Latin American economies. As you pointed out in your essay, the main target for MercadoPago is people who are outside the traditional commercial banking scope because of their high-risk profiles. The company is charging extremely high interest rates while claiming to be inclusive with a huge social component on its mission at the same time. Even though I see your point of this paradox, I believe that the company is delivering truly positive results to the Latin American society. It started lending credits to both merchants and consumers, helping sellers boost sales and consumers get access to buy whatever they need in the ecommerce platform. The company is also launching its first money market fund to allow people to invest on the MercadoPago account and generate profits. It is also providing customer with lots of benefits and discounts in gasoline, restaurants and travel.
Having said that, I definitely believe that AI is not only the future of lending money, but also the future of assess risk of fraud. Alipay (Alibaba payments platform) is extensively using AI and facial recognition to determine identification and decide whether that person is the owner of the account to allow transactions. I think the main hurdle is the huge investment that AI may imply for a small and midsize companies such as MercadoPago in Latin America. However, the future is promising and an investment in AI can probably lead to huge cost savings in fraud and operations.

On November 12, 2018, Joaquin Romero commented on Bioprinting – The Future of the Healthcare Industry :

Great job Michael! I believe your essay touches upon a critical topic that will dramatically change what human beings think about life. I totally agree on the enormous benefits that tissue and organ printing may entail, not only for drug testing but also for curing deadly diseases such as liver cancer.
Another relevant use of live cells printing is in food. Modern Meadow, for instance is a startup investing in printing live cells to produce meat. In 2013 the company produced its first burger that costed over $300,000.
However, I think that the free development of this technology might imply serious risks and should be consciously debated among the scientific and political leaders of the world. Let’s image the hypothetical situation that companies such as Organovo manage to profitably produce 3D printed organs, what is the next step? Create brains, hearts, bones? Print a human being? We should be aware of the powerful implications that this technology might imply for our lives both in the positive and not so positive side.

On November 12, 2018, Joaquin Romero commented on Toyota’s Answer to the Self-Driving Era :

Hey, great post! I have worked in Toyota and I can insure that the company is heavily investing in Machine Learning and its application on self-driving cars. As you pointed out, Toyota Research Institute at Los Alamos is playing a critical role to help the company lead the self-driving car development in the world.
I just wanted to build on your post and clarify which role self-driving technology is playing in the greater company’s long-term goal: to create smart cities connected through a centralized data warehouse to outsmart traffic and improve people’s lives. In Toyota City, the automaker is working in Ha:mo (Harmonious Mobility Network), which is aimed to support solutions for local transportation issues through optimal connection between personal transportation modes and public transportation for seamless and enjoyable local mobility. Hopefully, soon Toyota will create this mobility network and improve life quality in big cities, leveraging technologies such as MaaS and the Mobility Teammate Concept.