Mike – fascinating article, and what a great debate it has inspired! One piece that I was left wondering about, was the ability for Sunrun to invest in the specific panel technology that it is currently buying, and develop capabilities for in-house production. Is Sunrun’s gap in abilities that significant such that the company could never compete? Or, would it be enough for Sunrun to buy a progressive, American company for long-term company sustainability?
In addition, I wonder if Sunrun could replicate some of the strategic business decisions that other globalized businesses, like Pharmaceutical organizations have tested. For example, if Sunrun acquires a foreign panel producer, would Sunrun be able to transfer inventory across the border with a less-steep penalty than as two stand-alone entities? Finally, I think that it is important to have a critical lens about the ability of the current administration to execute on its promises. As I read in another classmate’s post, it is important to evaluate whether or not it is worth it for Sunrun to swallow the cost of investing in new technology, lobbying the government or other costly practices, if the administration is not able to follow through on their threats.
Coffee lover – great post! I think that Amia’s point is both concerning and valid. The issue here though is that Starbucks’ corporate responsibility may be in direct conflict with its corporate objectives. For example, if Starbucks supports more localized coffee producers, Starbucks may be cannibalizing its own market share. In addition, since Starbucks is a public company and its primary duty is to shareholders, Starbucks may not be able to choose to invest fully in sustainability practices. Given the size of Starbucks and prevalence of Activist shareholders, I can imagine a situation where the company is criticized for investing in seemingly “unprofitable” corporate responsibility (CSR) or climate change investments. I am not sure what the solution to this problem is, except communicating clearly to shareholders and continuing to find “win-win” CSR projects that investors cannot refute.
Thanks for the perspective! It is encouraging to learn about how proactively ABI is approaching this very serious environmental threat. To your second question regarding how consumers can be incentivized to recycle more and use less product, I had a few ideas:
1. Align incentives: I think that the biggest driver of future behavioral change will be through monetary incentives. One way to do this is to develop a discount program where consumers can re-fill or return their bottles for an economic return. Bottled water companies do this already, where consumers go to the grocery store to refill their water. This type of behavior also incentivizes sticky consumer behavior and can build brand equity & positive brand perception.
2. Invest in additional ventures: ABI is already doing this; however, continuing to invest in additional, recycling-related companies (e.g. bottle recycling depots) may generate additional synergies. For example, ABI could buy up a recycling company and have an entirely integrated supply chain, where the recycled bottles could be used for new future products.
Thank you for writing this – I love reading about all that Amazon is experimenting with! I completely agree with Kushaboo, my biggest fear is that the “smart key” technology will pose a massive threat to security. While Amazon may be able to innovate around burglary (e.g. through advancements in A such as facial recognition, remote authorization (I could see a video-type intercom solution)), I worry about three things:
1. This will isolate high-net-worth or high-security customers: For example, if the customers were high-security clearance individuals, there is no incentive to put their personal safety, or geopolitical safety (in some situations) at risk.
2. Higher risk of hacking: As homes become more interconnected through IoT, there is a greater incentive for hackers to break into homes and gain access to personal data as well as physical locations.
3. Time lost dealing with unrelated issues: Tech problems with a smart key will not only impact the delivery system but consumer’s ability to interact with their daily life. The time lost dealing with these complaints and the resulting decrease in customer perception is a huge risk.
@Kushaboo: I have heard that Amazon has been experimenting with drones! I have attached a few links here; it’s incredibly exciting!
Great post and a very thought-provoking discussion. In particular, I thought that your question about decision-making when data is unclear very compelling. One thing that I would like to point out, is that the age of data clarity is relatively new, and many businesses (and hospitals) have had to make many historical significant investment decisions without clear data leading to the right “answer.” In those situations, businesses had to make decisions based on small sample sizes, experts, or what was true to their strategy. In this situation, I imagine that hospitals will make decisions based on three criteria:
1) Clinical concern: While hospitals may not have data yet, it is important to make decisions based upon new initiatives that doctors are demanding, and in specific areas of clinical research that may indicate where medicine will go in the future. Hospitals can also use sample “proxies” to generate data and back up investment decisions.
2) Patient demand: This is a little tenuous, as patients may not know exactly what is the best technology for their own care; however at the end of the day, the hospital’s duty is to provide superior care to the patient and therefore should invest in areas that improve the patient experience (e.g. cater to patient demands).
3) Cost: The cost of the new investment, vs. the capital that the hospital has available, may end up being the deal-breaking information.