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On November 20, 2016, SAG commented on Descartes Labs: Predicting Farmer’s Fortunes from Space :

Great post! As you mention in your article, why is this technology not being applied to other industries and regions of the world? Besides all of the benefits you mention, the use of earth-observation artificial intelligence could be extremely useful to both governments and companies in emerging economies because large portions of the economy are informal and don’t get reported, which makes the available official information even less reliable. Having precise forecasts of agricultural yields, construction rates or traffic between specific cities would allow governments to better manage their investments in infrastructure and entire industries to better manage their operations.

Great post Iryna! I think that the digitization of public services will greatly contribute to the transparency and accountability of government agencies. For instance, if public services such as transportation, water utilities or trash collection had digital systems that automatically collected data and made it public, the end-user and regulators would be able to track and scrutinize the performance of government agencies on real-time. Furthermore, the government would not be able to tamper or hide information as they would not have control over it. This would put constant pressure on the government and force them to provide a better service. Additionally, as more national and local governments made their data public, benchmarks between countries and cities could be established and best practices could be transferred between them.

On November 20, 2016, SAG commented on When “Real” Estate Meets “Virtual” World :

Great post! I actually worked as a real estate developer for two years and matching the product offering to consumer demand is an extremely unreliable process and one were a lot of value is lost for both the developer. For instance, a simple decision like determining the number of one, two or three bedroom apartments that should be built is based on past experience and customer surveys. However, this information is not very precise and it is not common that the developer has to discount certain apartments because they are not selling. With real-time market information available, the developer could make design decisions to closely match the what the consumer wants, thereby increasing their value proposition and beating the competition.

Very interesting post Brian. I’m impressed with how companies are using technology to bring services that traditionally have been exclusive and expensive to the broader population. Headspace does a great job at recreating the experience of having a meditation coach or even a psychologist at a fraction of the cost. Here’s an interesting post with the top 15 psychology apps:

Great article Nick. I was aware that mining companies were using GPS-enabled systems to track performance but what Rio Tinto is doing with automation is very impressive, specially with the application of self-operating machines. I wonder how the core competencies of mining companies are going to change as they shift towards the “end-to-end automation from ‘pit-to-port’” you mention. Today much of the knowledge on mining operations lies with the on-site engineers and managers with a lot of experience. However, as the digitization transformation continues, it will more often be the case that the most relevant knowledge lies in engineers located the remote Operation Center with expertise in data analytics and robotics. With that in mind, do you think that mining companies will start to resemble technology companies with huge R&D focus?

On November 6, 2016, SAG commented on Rising Temperatures Lead to Rise in Insurance Claims :

This is a great example of how sustainable practices are aligned with the performance of a business. However, it is very worrying that insurance companies might have to raise their premiums in regions that are the most affected by climate change. At higher insurance prices, less percentage of the businesses in those regions will be able to get insurance, making them riskier investments. In consequence, funding will be harder to attain and investors will become more demanding in terms of ROI. This would generate an vicious cycle and these regions could undergo a serious economic downturn.

On November 6, 2016, SAG commented on Banking on change :

Great post Sophie! I agree that the role of financial institutions is essential in the development of clean energy projects and the Catalytic Finance Initiative is a great step in that direction. The company I worked at in Peru designed, financed, constructed and operated hydroelectric power plants and one of the biggest challenges was getting financial institutions to finance over 50% of the investment because these projects are deemed too risky. The lack of cheap debt sources makes renewable energy projects more expensive and less likely to be able to compete with non-renewable energy sources.

On November 6, 2016, SAG commented on Vote with Your Wallet and Race to the Top :

I think that the idea of letting customers “vote with their wallet” has great potential and very little downside. Besides the obvious environmental benefits, this approach could generate new profitable lines of products and at the same time make the explicit connection between sustainable business practices and the additional costs associated with them, thereby generating awareness. Additionally, the paradigm that customers are not willing to pay more for sustainable products would be broken and other businesses would follow. This idea could set a very positive trend with an important positive impact on the environment.

On November 6, 2016, SAG commented on The Education of a Reluctant Businessman :

Great post Chris! I have always been impressed by Patagonia and their ability to consistently make their operations more sustainable. Most companies have a sustainability policy but it is often viewed as a nuance for daily operations but, in the case of Patagonia, sustainability seems to be at the core of the business and everything else is built around it. Patagonia has become a point of reference when it comes to sustainable business practice and that puts them in a very powerful position because they can influence change and educate others.

On November 6, 2016, SAG commented on SolarCity: Powering the Climate Change Revolution? :

I really enjoyed reading your post! The SolarCity proposal not only increases the percentage of solar energy as an energy source but also limits energy consumption from the grid, where two thirds of the energy comes from non-renewables. However, I think that this business model can only be successful in places were energy prices from the grid reach certain threshold and therefore the monthly savings for the end-user make up for the monthly payments for the solar panels and the respective maintenance. SolarCity must find a way to lower costs so that it can expand to regions with lower utility prices and maintain their value proposition. Still, with prices for solar prices dropping at an staggering rate (11x in the last decade) this could be a reality in the short-term.