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On December 1, 2017, Maria commented on Clever Ed Tech: Breaking Down Barriers :

Thank you for a very interesting read!

Clever has clearly increased scale dramatically in a highly fragmented market and in very few years – which is a huge success already. Its mission is also hugely valuable and definitely trying to innovate in an area with a great need for new ideas and ways of doing things.

As pointed out in the article, a key challenge I see in Clever’s business model that is of relevance for its sustainability is their monetization strategy. Until now they seem to only be cashing in from software companies that develop the apps that Clever then distributes to schools and students. As Jim Sainz points out in his comment, this very much resembles a distributor / aggregator business model. While I believe these businesses can be very relevant and a key component in a supply chain, Clever should start making itself even more relevant and valuable for schools as well. For example, it could try to also monetize the increase in efficiency that it probably is already providing to schools: if it is already helping teachers / principals / schools more broadly access student data, work more efficiently and reducing time teachers have to spend on non-teaching activities, it could potentially charge for that value. Charging schools is probably never a popular idea and is probably a challenge already to get any product through their doors; nevertheless, Clever should look for ways to continue growing in a sustainable way.

Great article, Katie!

I agree on the way you highlighted many potential win-win strategies NB could use to reduce its environmental footprint and increase its brand awareness and loyalty. Indeed, I believe that if done in conjunction of a good marketing campaign, doubling-down on environmental-friendly policies can serve NB very well to attract more millennial consumers and create a unique and recognizable brand. At the same time, this would be a positive step in getting other larger food and beverage giants interested in a potential acquisition. If this were to happen, the good-to-great sustainability standards set by NB could serve as best in class for its parent company, leading the way to a potential re-think in the entire industry and setting higher standards overall.

Therefore, my suggestion to NB would be very similar to yours: impressive job to-date, still room for improvement that should be pursued for their own interest and the world’s.

Thank you for a great read!

In line with some points in the article and Juan A’s comment, I believe a key lever Avocados from Mexico should keep pushing forward is drawing together the smaller crop producers in Mexico. These parties will be the worst hit by climate change, declining yields and more need for crop-enhancing agrochemicals. In addition, given their small scale, costly transportation costs and inefficient infrastructure and communication add to their challenges. This clearly calls for a more organised solution that brings scale to the now scattered Mexican avocado production. In addition, efforts on marketing and consumer education already being undertaken by Avocados from Mexico should continue so that end-consumers are increasingly aware of the very real climate change challenges facing the food industry and our world.

On December 1, 2017, Maria commented on Climate Change and Chocolate – Not so Sweet :

Thanks for a great article!

I believe the article lays out in a very clear way the huge challenge that exists for many agricultural and food producers when thinking about climate change. I believe clearly producers, governments and also society need to do more and with ever more urgency. The question is no longer whether food producers will be hit, the question is more how quickly. That is why I believe neither Mondelez nor any of the other food producers are doing enough and bolder steps should be taken.

Lower yields mean lower production of cocoa beans which in turn will mean an upward pressure on the price of the beans. This is not good news for Mondelez – and investors/shareholders should be aware of this. If Mondelez wants to make real impactful investments to reduce the damage of climate change (or delay it) the first stakeholders that need to consent are its shareholders. That is why the company should prove and make public the negative prospective effects climate change will have on the company’s results directly and in the industry as a whole and hopefully get investors to agree on the necessity to take more radical steps.

Great article Ginny!

I had personally not heard about FbF being applied in the Red Cross and I believe it makes absolute sense. As pointed out by other commentators, a big challenge in my view will be to educate the public to this method of contribution and getting everyone to understand this is a much more effective way of investing money into relief aid than a more classic reactionary approach. In addition to this challenge, the second one you pointed out in your article, making sure the preventive operations designed and funded are aligned with predictions of disaster costs, should be a key focus for the Red Cross.

Another point I would encourage the Red Cross to think about is how to re-route aid in the cases where this alignment does not happen. In other words, what should Red Cross do in the cases where, fortunately, the predicted disaster is not as severe as expected or it does not happen at all and aid has already been deployed? How should that potential waste of resources be avoided and how would logistics work in a cost-efficient way for these resources to be re-deployed in some other area of disaster?