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On November 20, 2016, katt commented on From Digitilization to a New Energy Landscape :

V. Rubeus – Thanks for the insights on power providers! Do you think Eversource should create its own thermostat appliances or do you think the company should partner with smart home providers such as Nest or Sears? Sears, for instance, has appliances in 13 million US homes. Perhaps the two could work together to pass energy saving measures to customers. In addition to heating (as you mentioned), the companies can set timers for dishwashers/laundry machines/etc. to start cycles during off-peak energy hours. The bigger issue would be to make sure that cost saving measures are equitably shared between Eversource, Sears and the consumer!

On November 20, 2016, katt commented on Cranking up the heat on Honeywell thermostats :

DM – Is a focus on new, innovative appliances enough to save Honeywell or should Honeywell make a push into repair services as well? Sears is facing similar challenges. Both companies likely need to make the transition from selling discrete, reliable products to selling and servicing smart, connected appliances [1,2]. Perhaps Honeywell and Sears could form a partnership in which Sears sells and services Honeywell’s appliances in exchange for data sharing. Hitting a critical mass of data collection across both companies’ customers may allow the two to pass energy saving measures to these customers, who now value new efficiencies gleaned through the data generated by the appliances [3].

[1] Iansiti, Marco and Lakhani, Karim R., “Digital Ubiquity: How Connections, Sensors, and Data Are Revolutionizing Business,” Harvard Business Review (November 2014), 3.
[2] Porter, Michael E. and Heppelmann, James E., “How Smart, Connected Products are Transforming Competition,” Harvard Business Review (November 2014), 5.
[3] Iansiti, Marco and Lakhani, Karim R., 3.

On November 20, 2016, katt commented on Creating the world’s first Digital Industrial company :

CJ – Thanks for the insights! During your time at GE, did you see any operating changes from a human capital perspective? Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani highlighted in their HBR article that GE would need to find new developer talent and also integrate software development across divisions, which had historically worked more in silos [1]. How does this shift in business strategy and operating model impact the culture of GE?

[1] Iansiti, Marco and Lakhani, Karim R., “Digital Ubiquity: How Connections, Sensors, and Data Are Revolutionizing Business,” Harvard Business Review (November 2014), 7.

Jean Grey – Thanks for highlighting the Marriott-Starwood merger! When the deal was announced, I had wondered if gaining access to the data in Starwood’s SPG loyalty program was one of the driving factors behind the acquisition. I think this may be a case where the intangible data was just as (if not more) important as the physical hotels. Marriott has already rolled out a large campaign to get customers to link their Marriott and Starwood accounts [1]. What role do you see these points programs playing in the hospitality industry going forward?

[1] Marriott International, “Marriott International Completes Acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide,” http://news.marriott.com/2016/09/marriotts-acquisition-of-starwood-complete/, accessed November 20, 2016.

On November 20, 2016, katt commented on Finding a Cozy Nook in the eBook World :

TS – How much consumer data does B&N currently have access to? I totally agree that the company will need to recreate its retail space into a community hang out spot (much like Starbucks), but B&N could use its current consumer data to target a specific community design. For example, the physical bookstore may be better served for children vs. retirees vs. book clubs [1]. Like you’ve highlighted, technology disruption does not mean physical spaces and books become obsolete. Instead, B&N can use technology to enhance its retail space!

Knowledge @ Wharton, “How Can Barnes & Noble Avoid Borders’ Fate,” http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/can-barnes-noble-avoid-borders-fate/, accessed on November 20, 2016.

On November 7, 2016, katt commented on Wait, Why Waste Waste? :

Kalumet – I was curious if Waste Management provided numbers on the amount of recycling processed via its single-stream recycling facilities? Is this process capturing recycling from those who previously would not have recycled or from those who would have anyway? I had read an article that this form of recycling increases the rate of “residuals” – that is, “would-be recyclables that end up in landfills” due to the breaking of glass and other forms of contamination in the single-stream process. [1] If Waste Management is capturing “new” recycling, then these facilities are a great benefit to the environment. If the company is capturing garbage, which would have been recycled anyway, then the benefit of these facilities may be moot. Perhaps, Waste Management can seek to quantify this number in the future!

[1] The Atlantic, “Single-Stream Recycling is Easier for Consumers, but is it Better?,” http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/09/single-stream-recycling-is-easier-for-consumers-but-is-it-better/380368/, accessed November 7, 2016.

On November 7, 2016, katt commented on Meltdown in the Ski Industry :

BunnySlope – I have also struggled with this paradox: how does a ski resort reduce its carbon footprint when its increased dependency on energy is a direct result of climate change? Should a resort make its own snow if the net impact is negative from an environmental standpoint, thereby continuing the negative feedback loop? Revenue diversification may make ski resorts less reliant on snow, but these companies will, nevertheless, blow snow as needed in order to continue to grow overall revenue. As a result, ski resorts should focus on snowmaking innovation to overcome the contradiction that occurs when their current energy consumption negatively impacts their product (skiing).

PD – I would add that Cargill also needs to place a larger emphasis on supply chain controls. [1] Cargill recently came under criticism for purchasing soya through suppliers that engaged in the destruction of the Amazon and the company has since enacted a deforestation prevention initiative. [2] We learned from our case reading that changing land use and management is one of three actions required for reducing carbon emissions. The firm should put this initiative front and center in its sustainability program.

[1] Rainforest Action Network, “The Problem with Cargill,” http://www.ran.org/problem-cargill-0#main-content, accessed November 7, 2016.
[2] Guardian Weekly, “From the Amazon to Chicken Nuggets,” https://www.theguardian.com/guardianweekly/story/0,,1752430,00.html, accessed November 7, 2016.

On November 7, 2016, katt commented on Adapting to climate change: Implications for a mining giant :

KR – I really appreciated learning about the societal benefits that mining companies provide to the workforce. These benefits are often overlooked and we instead only focus on their environmental impact. While our blog posts are focused on carbon emissions, mining, however, not only releases toxins into the air but also into nearby water and other ground resources. Mining’s effects on water quality are perhaps more significant than the industry’s impact on air quality [1]. I was curious if BHP Billiton had launched an effort to limit the impact of pollution runoff. If so, how does this environmental effort rank against its carbon emission initiatives?

[1] ELAW, “Overview of Mining and its Impacts” (PDF File), downloaded from website, https://www.elaw.org/files/mining-eia-guidebook/Chapter1.pdf, accessed, November 7, 2016.

On November 7, 2016, katt commented on Letter to the CEO of Vail Resorts :

Mary – I really enjoyed your critical look at not only Vail’s mitigation strategies against climate change but also the company’s adaptive business strategies, such as portfolio diversification and product offerings. My question is: how does Vail manage its carbon footprint while attempting to expand its operations? Should the resort put profitability (adaptive strategies) above sustainability (mitigation) or is this there a middle ground between the two? I actually think that if Vail continues to diversity its portfolio into New England, as you suggest, they have the potential to continue their push to decrease the overall carbon footprint of ski resorts. In 2010, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) surveyed national ski areas, which highlighted that only 10% of respondents had completed a study of their own carbon footprint although 80% wanted to address climate change [1]. This gap between the 10% and 80% provides an opportunity for Vail to acquire the resorts that have yet to identify their carbon footprint and implement the company’s own sustainability efforts and best practices across the country.

[1] The National Ski Areas Association, “Sustainable Slopes Annual Report 2016” (PDF file), downloaded from NSAA website, https://www.nsaa.org/media/249756/2015Sustainable_SlopesARFinal_Version_docx091015.pdf, accessed, November 3, 2016.