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Open innovation is extremely attractive because of the sheer number of ideas that it can provide. It is smart of Amazon to do this, as you mentioned for 2 reasons: 1) the competitive edge 2) the great talent it attracts. I do disagree that these ideas cannot come from their current employees but I agree that sometimes it is easier from outside sources but that may be something imposed by Amazon itself. Large companies tend to be very structured so employees may not have the time or flexibility to try and solve some of the problems that the company is facing.

I do think that Open Innovation can help push the envelope a little further when it comes to the problem they are facing. I am curious to know the parameters of the Picking and Packing challenge because that can sometimes influence the direction in which contestants are trying to solve the problem. Also what would be the right of Intellectual Property of the participants?

The ability of AM to enable innovation and its progress has definitely been one of its greatest upsides. It’s interesting to think about the additional purposes such as like you said, not just building a product but building a machine or system to build that product. What I am wondering about is the difference in the machine they printed if it were not 3D printed. What material would they use then? Can that material be used with their current 3D printer. If it makes more sense to not have these machines 3D printed it is not necessarily a loss for AM but a major win because it enabled essentially the growth of an organization through its ability to provide quick turnaround times and reduction of outsourcing.

This was a very interesting read! The idea of using AM to build what is still pretty much out of reach for the average person creates makes what RS is doing even more intriguing. In addition to the space exploration piece, their potential learning and success could be a huge disruptor for the travel industry (air and land) on Earth. We’d be able to much more quickly produce changes to our transportation infrastructures therefore solving many of our current problems such as deadly accidents, pollution, energy consumption to name a few.

On November 15, 2018, Keen commented on Crowdsourcing snack food trends at PepsiCo :

This piece answered one of my main questions regarding open innovation for something like chips: is it more so just a marketing stunt than a good use of crowdsourcing for product development. One thing I would like to know is why those winning chip flavors were discontinued. Were the top picks just not good? Are surveys like what they used not useful for the idea selection process? I also really appreciate the thought on data privacy which brings up another hidden reason for companies to pretend to care about ideas of their customers. Are they learning more from the data they are collecting than from the surveys on their favorite chip flavors or both?

On November 15, 2018, Keen commented on Blended Learning: The Rise of Machine Learners :

Education is such a space that is very behind given the technological advances we have made in the last decade so this piece is very interesting. I specially like your last question about helping shape the way students think. I think this can be an advantage as well as a risk. As you mentioned, curiosity is extremely important especially as we try and develop students into critical and analytical thinkers so this could be a huge benefit if all machines knew how to do this versus having to spend time training teachers doing when there is a resource constraint. The danger with standardized teaching (and therefore programable teaching essentially) is that the way a program such as RM can be dangerous if it is programmed with incorrect data/underlying assumptions and all students are using it. I think with RM we are heading in the right direction so we have to take into account the possible dangers as well.

This is very interesting and I agree that REX is in such a great space and at a point in time when they need to position themselves so that competition doesn’t catch up quickly. I wonder if in addition to deducing which buyer to show a specific house to, REX could also do more conspicuous learning. For example, a customer looking for a home wants assistance, so once the REX platform has an idea of what the user may want it can present it with suggestions based on that home profile/type in order to narrow down from the vast selection within its databases.

I definitely think the price negotiation part could be automated. I wonder if the adoption of blockchain in the near future will help make the remaining customer needs such as price negotiations, financing, and paperwork easier for REX to dominate. Blockchain would allow the mutual trust we need when making such a big investment. Blockchain would reduce the mistrust of doing something online and REX could be the one stop shop for all home purchasing needs.