Connor, thanks for such an interesting article! I am the user of Duolingo but I never know I’m also the “translator” working for Duolingo! This model is self-sustaining, but I’m a bit worried about the quality of the translation and its impact on readers. On the other hand, I’m also intrigued by the process – how is Duolingo selecting the translation output? I think there’s opportunity here for Duolingo to better utilize its courseware and the ratings or information of each user, so that only the contents from high-rating users are selected and released as the “product” to the public.
Airbnb is definitely one of the companies that grow with the trend of digitalization. Compared with traditional travel services, Airbnb creates value both for house owners and travelers and particularly attracts young and digital-savvy users. However, as you pointed out, safety is definitely one of the biggest concerns. The fact that there’s no comprehensive vetting mechanism leads to some tragedies, and the lack of regulations also leads to debate around liability. (NY Times: Death in Airbnb Rental Raises Liability Questions, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/14/your-money/death-in-airbnb-rental-raises-liability-questions.html?_r=0).
Can Airbnb better capitalize on its digital assets and create a better vetting mechanism? Perhaps it is also possible for Airbnb to work with government officials to regulate the market of share-economy. It’s definitely an interesting business but more work needs to be done to ensure its sustainability and safety.
As a TED fan, I experienced the transformation of TED from a local knowledge distributor to a global knowledge network. With internet distribution, TED can push its content to any place in the world. With technology development, non-English speakers are able to watch the video with real-time translation. Knowledge-sharing on TED is not subjective to the constraints of location and language any more. To push that a bit further, it is possible for TED to facilitate a two-way knowledge exchange instead of one-way distribution by connecting viewers from anywhere in the world to the speaker and facilitating real-time communication. In a way, it’s kind of similar to HBX, which enables discussion and though-exchange to help viewers learn better.
Jasper, thanks for illustrating the digital ambition and actions from McKinsey. It’s an interesting read! In order for consulting firms to stay competitive, they have to innovate and get closer to client and consumers. McKinsey was amongst the first firms to move toward the space of offering digital solutions to clients. Internally, McKinsey could drive more synergy between McKinsey Solutions and the existing industrial groups. Digitalization often times is one of the solutions that client is seeking for in order to address a broader business issue. More efforts and thoughts should be put into staffing to maximize its human capital. Externally, if McKinsey decided to further build expertise in digital, more investment in capability building is to be expected. Many fields in technology (like machine learning) is rapidly developing and transforming, it would be more cost-efficient for McKinsey to focus on specific fields and become the go-to-expert in that field.
“Nearly two-thirds of the company’s total greenhouse gas emissions occur upstream of its direct operations, particularly in agriculture, ingredients and packaging.” To reduce emission levels, General Mills would need to further exert influence and fully mobilize the growers, suppliers, customers and industry partners along the value chain (http://www.industryweek.com/supply-chain/general-mills-we-want-be-around-150-years-so-will-reduce-emissions). Besides, with more and more companies appeal to consumer on sustainability, I would argue that it becomes less of a differentiated value proposition. Given the number of consumers who are environmentally conscious is still small, General Mills should also think carefully about the weight and efforts they put into marketing “sustainability”.
It’s very interesting to read about the initiatives of H&M has taken to tackle climate change, including supply chain integration and water-saving. Other than the changes made on manufacturing side, I think, H&M can fully capitalize its advantage being in the fashion and apparel business. One thing popped to mind is product innovation. Clothes made from eco-friendly materials without sacrificing the quality and design would certainly appeal to the mass market. With product innovation, it’s also possible to drive cost down and hence allow more investment into the initiative within the system to reduce carbon footprint. (http://www.elle.com/fashion/a12694/hm-eco-friendly-fashion-ever-manifesto/)
It’s really interesting to read the comparison between goals committed by Coca-Cola and the actual progress that has been made. I think the points made on packaging is particularly true – “reusable material” does not necessarily mean it has been recycled. How can Coca-Cola do a better job to cultivate the behavior of recycling and in the meantime make it easier for the public to do so? However, in terms of “Energy and Climate”, it is clear that the problem lies within the organization. Not enough efforts are made to reduce the carbon footprint in capital expenditure investment and manufacturing process. Coca-Cola should align the priority internally and deliver the promise consistently in performance metrics. Otherwise, it could be well like the author pointed out in the beginning – it’s an act of “green-wash” rather than real and sustainable impact.
I agree with the questions and thoughts the author poses to Nike. As an industry and market leader, efforts on reducing greenhouse gas emission should be spent both within the company and across the entire product value chain. Taking the example of Unilever, a leading player in its own field, Unilever brought up the concept of reducing greenhouse gas emission throughout is value chain – raw material sourcing, manufacture, distributor, consumer use and disposal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpYhgqPRivw).
Other than that, I also think breaking down the sources of GHG emission would help Nike to focus its efforts and achieve better results. Looking at the sources (https://www.statista.com/statistics/551572/ghg-emissions-from-nike-by-segment/), “footwear manufacturing” and “inbound logistics” are clearly two biggest drivers and we shall expect more actions in those two components.
If you think about it, it’s very interesting to associate ice cream with the initiative against global warming. The warmer it gets, the more ice cream Ben & Jerry would sell. However, if putting myself into shoes of Ben & Jerry, I would definitely see the connotation of its Climate Movement – getting to the root issue before it impacts negatively on raw material sourcing (cocoa). I think we can also expect more to be done on the produce end – can the packaging of ice team be eco-friendlier? Can Ben & Jerry reduce the volume of Greenhouse Gas emitted from the cooling system during its transportation? Now that Ben & Jerry is part of Unilever, one of the biggest Consumer Goods companies worldwide, can it better capitalize the company & brand assets to be an active ambassador from private sector to push for government regulations?