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On November 15, 2018, Jeannie Witmer commented on Open Innovation at NASA: Impact in Culture :

Super interesting. It’s great that open innovation has been able to empower more people to share their ideas at an organization such as NASA. As management at such an organization, I would want to make sure that a structure is in place to give equal weight to the ideas from various people. I would imagine that even following an open innovation process, hierarchy could play a role in determining which ideas to pursue. Another question that came to mind is whether ideas sourced from open innovation are more or less likely to be feasible and how would an organization filter for feasibility in order to avoid wasting time and money on projects with a lower likelihood of success.

On November 15, 2018, Jeannie Witmer commented on Block by Block: Harnessing Open Innovation at The LEGO Group :

It’s fascinating to hear how LEGO leveraged open innovation via customer feedback to reinvigorate growth at the company. This speaks to the value of being customer-centric and how important it is to build in natural feedback mechanisms within your business model. Though I see the value in this strategy with regard to building incremental positive products, I think relying on such a strategy would make it incredibly difficult to do breakthrough innovations. Does Lego have a separate team that is focused on making profound changes to their product offering? Or are they looking mostly to do incremental product changes as they look forward? How do they balance their focus between these two?

What a fascinating concept! It’s great to see an innovative technology, 3-D printing, being leveraged to alleviate a significant global social issue. Before executing this project on a mass scale, I would want to better understand the lifetime costs of the homes. It would be very troubling if the upfront cost of the house was reasonable, but then maintenance costs were significant over time. Such recurring costs may be even more difficult for people from a low-socioeconomic status to bear due to their unexpected nature. Significant issues could arise if a large number of these homes were built and purchased, but then deserted when families realize they could not afford the other recurring costs of owning a home.

Thank you for picking such a controversial and relevant topic! I really enjoyed reading this, as its a topic with which I have really wrestled. While I want to be of the opinion that Facebook and other social media platforms, as private institutions, are simply platforms for others to communicate their opinions, what we have seen in recent years is that people and groups are too manipulative to be given that freedom. Today, so much information is digested from social media, and it is difficult for even an educated reader to distinguish between what is fact vs fiction and to filter out biases. Facebook and other platforms with their widespread reach hold so much power, in terms of information dissemination. I would argue that this power gives them critical responsibility to be a positive influence on the dissemination of information which could have significant impact on individual, group, national and global livelihood. Though Facebook may not feel that it is their “right” to remove such content, I think it would be incredibly effective if such organizations were able to give articles and other content a “truth score” to help readers sort through and mentally weigh the available information to help them come to reasonable conclusions.

Enjoyed reading this! I actually also wrote about Spotify so I enjoyed reading a different take on it. In your write-up, you acknowledge the key concern of the financial viability of the company, which I largely ignored in my exploration of the topic. With the rising competitive pressures that you clearly acknowledge above, Spotify will be forced to continue to invest capital in its product innovation, most notably its machine learning capabilities. For this reason, you are right to be concerned about profitability. Thus far, Spotify has taken a strict stance against in-app advertising historically, but as I think about the future of the product, it may be one of the only ways to make the product financially viable. I wonder if there is a way for Spotify to leverage its deep knowledge of the consumer to post adds that are so accurate that they don’t “annoy” the consumer and detract from the listening experience.

On November 15, 2018, Jeannie Witmer commented on 3D Printing…we should ‘Just Do It’! :

What a fun article to read! Love your writing style in the first bit. In the final question that you pose, you bring up the concern of how such technology advancements can lead to dramatic changes in competitive landscapes. I think it is a legitimate concern — if Adidas or another reputable player in the space makes the necessary technological advancements in 3D printing more quickly, Nike’s top position in the football cleat market could be at risk and share could dissipate quickly. This is the constant struggle that players face in highly competitive markets when it comes to product innovation, especially in industries with low switching costs. Such companies must always be innovating to consistently launch new product innovation. As such, a key question remains: do you (A) come to market with a subpar product from a technical perspective in order to get the first mover advantage with the new technology and reputation for innovation and risk customers being disappointed by product quality, or do you (B) wait until you have the new innovation “perfected” to a point where its product quality exceeds the legacy products? Further, when the product is not yet at optimal quality, do you price it above or below the higher quality legacy products despite the new innovation or do you price it for the future?