Yes! It’s a scary new time now that profits and objective information sharing sometimes do not align.
Such a good point. It’s uncharted territory as far as where ‘objective’ and ‘tailored’ journalism have clashing purposes – providing a wide range of diverse articles is now in direct conflict with giving readers what they want, when they want it.
Very true. I didn’t even mention mobile specifically but that’s such a critical part of the trend. I am so lazy I don’t even look at the news on my computer anymore!
Very cool, thanks for sharing Paul.
Agree! I really enjoyed the Run-Up and generally am a big consumer of NPR and Gimlet. Thanks for the welcome reminder that there are some trends toward meatier, story-based journalism in other mediums, too 🙂
Love this idea Pablo!
So scary. I worry about this a lot now. Thanks Caroline.
Thanks Brian – this is super interesting. I’m honestly feeling kind of depressed about the future of journalism and what it means for information flows. Will we find a way to balance “customized news” (or “discriminated news”) with equal-access news? It kinda reminds me of what we talked about in FIELD about “equal airtime” being important to good decision-making. Would love to bounce thoughts on this sometime. Maybe a Section F Salon?
Talk about an business with a large market size! This is such a good example of an industry that may have considered itself immune from digital transformation but has used technology to update its offering and expand to new markets. I’m impressed at how Minrevi has integrated digitization into the downstream business model (marketing through channels such as Amazon) and upstream (uploading information from service providers and comparing them). This example, more than any other, convinces me that ultimately there will be no business that is not online.
This seems like a massive business opportunity – I’ve read that the baby industry is an over $20 Billion industry, and people are far less price elastic when it comes to items for their newborns. In particular, this seems an especially good application of IoT because it’s a context in which real-time, adaptive monitoring systems have significant benefits over “dumber” monitoring systems. Also, given that baby products have not transformed dramatically over the past decades, it’s an industry ripe for innovation.
The part of this that was most awesome to me was how BBVA has delved into gamification. So cool to see how BBVA has moved laterally with its relationship with the NBA to use games to engage its consumers with a far more banal activity. This is a really interesting example to me of how lateral innovation can open up whole new spaces for players in traditional industries. It shows how much room for new ideas there is when a company isn’t beholden to only looking to other banking companies for inspiration!
Super interesting to hear how a bulk retailer like Costco has actually maintained its members and some growth in the age of digital giants like Amazon. I definitely see potential for Amazon’s automatic-style “recurring” purchases to be effective in the Costco model too, since Costco purchases buy in bulk at infrequent intervals. If Costco can use the supply chain infrastructure it’s developed to stay at the cutting edge of low-cost logistics for household items, this plus its reliable, user-friendly online purchasing platform could make it a competitor that is hard to beat.
This is a really interesting example of a well-intentioned platform evoking users’ fear. As we enter the digital era, it seems to me that companies are innovating faster on democratizing sharing than protection. Sharing pervades everyday interactions among civilians, while security builds up at the highest levels but is slow to evolve for regular users. This wasn’t an issue I was overly concerned about before, but with this new unpredictable administration, this concern really resonates with me. I wonder how the industry can help incentivize innovation on accelerating user privacy tools?
As a Whole Foods consumer, I’m very glad to hear the company is making concerted steps toward supply chain sustainability. As a large-scale buyer on the market, they have consolidated power to enforce high-quality standards on their suppliers, and it is encouraging to hear that they are using this position (as IKEA does) to create trickle-down sustainability benefits throughout the chain.
That being said, I agree with Brian’s point above that there is certainly more they can and should do. In addition to shaping upstream players, they could play a more active role in shaping downstream actors such as their consumers, nudging them toward more sustainable products. Also, they should consistently phase out the products that are not up to scratch (e.g. red and orange rating meats) to continue to push suppliers to meet higher and higher standards. Finally, they should place a higher emphasis on locally produced and sourced foods – I am always skeptical to see perfect summer watermelons on their shelves in winter. Through a combination of consumer education (“be an educated consumer – don’t buy watermelon in winter!”) and a shift toward local, cyclical product stocking, Whole Foods could move from an “industrial organic” player to a truly “cutting-edge organic” player.
To me, all three options seem critical to a strategy that balances both short and long term considerations. First and foremost, I recommend option 1 – a shift away from palm oil to more sustainable sources of oil such as sunflower or soy. Both crops grow in a multitude of environments, maintain the low cost requirement of the company, and soy in particular replenishes nitrogen content in the soil and would be an important counterbalance to the deterioration of key compounds in soil through climate change degradation. They’re both also more nutritious for consumers (like me) who eat a lot of Nutella. Many agricultural companies have made significant shift toward more sustainable oil sources and it is time Ferrero did the same.
Second, to address the uncertainty in the cocoa and hazelnut supply chains, increasing sustainability of existing producers while geographically diversifying with new suppliers seems prudent. Ultimately, these ingredients are not replaceable if we’re going to keep getting that classic Nutella goodness. Any producer will need to have streamlined operations that continue to improve on their sustainability if they are going to last; by diversifying over the coming years, hopefully Ferrero can limit the risk that any one producer will be unable to meet their needs.
Really enjoyed this post. It’s interesting to me that for R&D Tesla and Solar City operated separately, and now that product development has revealed synergies they are looking to merge. I wonder if this model applies to other sectors, too, in which initial investments in innovation and technology are not only extremely high but also highly specialized, yet production and manufacturing has key synergies. Other sectors that come to mind are pharma/biotech and high technology (e.g. robotics, VR/AR). A slightly more different area with similar research/production dynamics may be heath service delivery for specialized rare diseases, e.g. sleeping sickness, dengue, polio. For each of these services, service-development is highly specialized and involves understanding the details of the particular disease and the medical properties of the treatment. However, further downstream the manufacturing, distribution, and patient (consumer) components of the supply chain look extremely similar, and there could be cost/effectiveness synergies to consolidating deployment of the treatments themselves.
I found this super interesting to read in particular because I spent the last year looking at agricultural supply chains in Ethiopia, with dairy/beef being critical areas the Government is keen to expand. Ethiopia has Africa’s largest livestock population and the world’s 6th largest, with significant potential to expand production and export of beef and milk. Fronterra announced a major investment in milk powder production in Ethiopia in August 2015.
The ability for Fronterra to test, validate the efficacy of, and potentially innovate to reduce cost of innovations such as the ‘cow backpack’ could have immense benefits in markets such as Ethiopia, too, creating significant impact for GHG emissions globally. Capturing methane and converting it to usable energy is a high-potential solution in that it not only reduces the output emissions but could also reduce the input demand for fossil fuels in livestock operations.
The other aspect of this supply chain that may be worth considering is the consumer power (and potentially, responsibility) on the downstream end to demand less red meat. If consumers make a demonstrable switch toward lower-impact meats such as chicken, pork, or even sheep and lamb, this would both decrease the volume of production on the supply side increase the imperative for producers such as Fronterra to implement more energy-efficient production.
I found it very interesting and impressive that the CDC identified this as a priority as early as 2006. Although large cities like NYC and LA were already experiencing discernible effects from air pollution, to roll this initiative out in other areas of the country demonstrates a longer-term perspective on the air pollution challenge. I am thinking of this in contrast to the Indian government, which has only just started enacting policies and pollution tracking now that Delhi has become the most polluted city in the world and that individuals are experiencing noticeable decreases in health quality on a daily basis. It makes me feel thankful to live in the US.
On the other hand, I do wonder how closely the US government is working with companies to hold them accountable for contribution to air quality deterioration. Given how much industrial and transportation activities contribute to air pollution, it seems critical to me that the government is enacting thoughtful legislation on these sectors. Given that so much of this requires slow-moving regulation, I also wonder about the role that industry bodies may play in creating multi-company agreements and incentives.