Azeez, thank you for the great article! I especially love seeing all of the past experiences and the knowledge that members of the section have and have shared here.
Initially reading your article made me excited about the possibilities of bringing education to more portions of a population where inequality is so stark. While it is extremely prevalent in India, I think that this is a problem affecting much of the world to include the United States. I focused more on the question of how to bring access and solid learning to underprivileged and underserved populations and thought that you raised many good points. While still a tremendous task, the infrastructure costs seem relatively easier to tackle. Providing internet access and the technological tools to classrooms, while prohibitively expensive, is still a capital issue. The real concern for me is how to foster adoption of this technology, and how to leverage its benefits without losing out on the social experiences of education that also make it so valuable. When we think especially of underserved populations, I worry that the adoption of technology, especially when that adoption is not reinforced in the home environment, may not be much better than what the current system provides.
Thank you Yohannes, it was a really interesting article in many ways. What struck me most, as someone who admittedly doesn’t follow football, was how a team that does not dominate in winning is still able to dominate in revenue. In your article you discussed how this is largely due to the international composition of the teams, drawing ardent fans from around the world. However, in several comments people raised good points about how other teams who are largely international do not draw this same level of success. Though many factors are ultimately important, we can agree that there is something about the EPL brand that creates a passionate fan base, or a high level of stickiness in consumers.
Darrin commented with concern about the EPL’s ability to “convince fans, players, and teams to respect each other despite the strained relationship globally.” Initially I agreed with this statement thinking that national pride played a significant role in sporting. However, with isolationism sweeping many countries beyond just the UK, it seems as though people may want to keep their sports and their politics separate. While the EPL for many consumers is a source of pride for England, for many international fans it is simply their favorite football team. While isolationism’s strains are strongly felt in many ways, I think that EPL stands a great chance of standing on the sidelines of this debate and letting football be great for football’s sake.
What I find most interesting about Siemens’ decisions is less about their direct business choices and more about how they are choosing to build their brand- something that will likely impact their future business both in the UK and in the EU. Ahead of the referendum vote, Siemens was one of the multi-national corporations to back a remain vote. However, the company quickly came out to give their support to the UK following the vote. Joe Kaeser, Siemens chief executive, said “the UK matters with or without being a member of the EU. The Brexit vote will not diminish our commitment to your country. Siemens will not leave the next generation behind.” In an age of changing political considerations it seems that the company is trying to walk to middle line and keep both sides happy- though the business decisions may be tricky the company’s image seems to be weathering the political storm well.
As a former Stich Fix customer it is interesting to look at how the increased use of AI played out on the consumer end. As a relatively early adopter of the service I found the process to be pretty easy and straightforward- answer a couple of questions about your preferences, link to a Pinterest board of things you liked, and you were off. As the service evolved I was asked to answer more and more questions about my preferences. These questions were no doubt used in the AI algorithms to predict what I would like best and therefore buy in subsequent shipments.
While this seemed like a good move, I think that there are potential dangers to relying too much on data when selling women’s fashion. Fashion is inherently an emotional purchase. While AI is likely to do a good job at predicting your normal buying trends, over reliance on the information is provides would be at the detriment of the service Stitch Fix provides. As the company moves forward I think it is smart to use the data now available to them to analyze trends on a large scale and to provide initial steers in providing customers with new products. However, Stitch Fix must not do so at the expense of the ‘personal stylist’ part of their customer promise.
To echo Oded’s sentiments, thank you Yuwa for bringing to light such an important issue.
There are so many aspects about the crisis in Malawi that make this situation especially difficult- the extreme financial constraints, difficulty of access to rural populations, and shared crises by neighbor states. As an added layer on top of all of this, the nature of climate change in this application is wildly unpredictability. ADMARC surely has their hands full with what I see as a two-fold problem: addressing both the short term and long term food crisis concerns.
The measures being taken in the short term are essential to prevent disease and loss of life from hunger and starvation. The immediacy of the short term problem makes it even harder to do long term planning, however, in your closing questions you raise a good issue about how successful ADMARC is at serving as a social safety net. With current infrastructure unable to fix the situation in a long term, ADMARC is stuck in a vicious cycle. “Responding after a food crisis costs at least three times more than taking preventive action”. said Enzo Vecchio, Oxfam Somalia Country Director. So long as the country continues to be overwhelmed by seasonal crises they will be ineffective at combating climate change effects in the long term.
You asked the question: “How important is it for Inditex to communicate its environmental efforts to consumers? Can Inditex shift consumer behavior and convince them to pay a premium such efforts?”
Unfortunately I don’t think that marketing Zara’s sustainability initiatives is going to make a significant impact on consumer behavior or allow the company to charge a premium for such efforts. Zara’s customer promise lies in creating an affordable ‘fast fashion’ product. Their products come in and out of style quickly and they are priced so that a lower income consumer can constantly replenish their wardrobe without spending their entire paycheck on it. In this way I believe that Zara’s current customer promise directly competes with the environmental initiatives they hope to achieve.
The most promising part of Inditex’s Strategic Environmental Sustainability Plan is their proposal to “pioneer commercialization of recycled textiles that are on par with quality of new materials” combined with the initiative to upcycle with collection bins in-store. In this way they can focus on staying true to the customer promise by creating fast (disposable) fashion products and encourage their customers to donate it back for use in future garments. This plan has the promise of keeping customer loyalty while still reducing overall environmental impact.