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On November 15, 2018, Starwars commented on Adidas Speedfactory: Disrupting The Sneaker Manufacturing Process :

Great article ! Like you mentioned, I believe the best use of the Speed Factory at the moment is rapid prototyping, which enables quick market testing. While 3D printing is likely to replace traditional manufacturing techniques in the future, I think it has great value in cutting the lead time for launching new products at the moment. With intense competition and the consumer moving to fast fashion, this will give Adidas a huge boost over competition. I am sure like VP above mentions, that competitors will enter this segment soon and like Alexandra mentions, with Nike currently focused on quality and the product, Adidas has this window of opportunity to maximize sales and convert customers.

There are few concerns on the 3D printing process itself, with critics pointing out the fact that the molecules are not as tightly glued together and could cause injury and that the output/ or consistency of shoes produced for the same input can vary. With the current R&D spend that Adidas is currently subscribing to, hopefully this issue is sorted out soon. Should Adidas build this expertise in-house? I think in the medium term yes but for now they should continue to partner with Carbon.

I can see how machine learning can sift through data and learn from it to predict better solutions. It seems to me that Abbott at the moment is using a data analytics tool which then is read by scientists to determine the next steps. Building the cause and effect into the system will help build a library for it to predict solutions on its own in the future. One of the more critical solutions Machine learning in this instance provides, is early detection or even providing early warning signals that you are on the path to diabetes.

The third question you raise is very important as well and I am sure will be subject to scrutiny by the regulatory authorities. Health data is extremely private, with several individuals reluctant to even discuss this with their doctors. Submitting it to one pharmaceutical company could be viewed as dangerous by the authorities. Insurance companies may misuse this data as well, and therefore finding the right balance here is key.

On November 14, 2018, Starwars commented on Shooting for the Stars :

This piece is so intriguing. I always believed NASA was this super-secret agency and no one knew what was going on behind their closed doors. To think that they have been crowd sourcing suggestions was a revelation.

You touch upon the change in culture needed at NASA to accommodate new innovative ideas that are coming in. These articles here highlight how this is NASA’s biggest challenge ( and

Another nuance to your first question is the fact that outsiders will not be familiar with the way the agency functions and several ideas may involve high budgets, different processes. How does NASA filter through the feasible ideas from amongst the many?

I find very little downside other than sensitive data that NASA may have but that can be easily ring-fenced. I wonder on one matter though. NASA solely restricts its employees to US citizens ( This may be motivated by the fact that NASA houses national secrets, is fighting a space war and has military applications. By crowd-sourcing, how does it control the audience and who is contributing? Do they have a robust enough mechanism to filter this out?

On November 13, 2018, Starwars commented on NYC BigApps: Crowdsourcing Civic Innovation :

This is a very interesting topic, for it is rare for a government body to open itself up to this extent. I feel this is fraught with several risks and would rather a government be open to feedback and solutions rather than open up to developers to use technology to build apps and roll it out to the public (Refer:

Relying on citizen hackers to build apps to solve problems seems like a good idea, but the question about data integrity arises. Even if the data is owned by the government, there is a high chance of misuse by the app developers who could create loopholes in the design infrastructure. if some of these apps can track a persons location, then physical safety is a concern and identifying travel trends could lead to home thefts, and identity theft is possible as well. Can the government afford to take such risks ? Governments have to protect everyone and has to be risk averse. Opening up data is risky. They could rather have a mechanism to open up design thinking, and like you mentioned above ” keep the citizens involved in problem identification and solution design”. However, the process of implementing the solution should be owned by the Government.

The unintended consequences are interesting – human bias can cloud the AI functionality significantly. Solving the discrimination factor correctly and quickly is crucial. To add to the question you posed at the end, I wonder if AI is limiting the exploratory process that some travelers enjoy going through by pushing options based on past trends? If for example a user was vacationing in a country on another continent, would his options only throw up results based on his previous travel choices which are likely skewed because they may have been business trips or trips in his own country?

Further, if houses which have good past ratings and views are more likely to be pushed to the users, will it create an imbalance in the process where houses that tend to be occupied more will continue to be occupied more as it is favoured by AI? At the moment, I feel that Air BnB should use AI in its search engine but complement it with some human intervention to oversee some of these anomalies that may arise. Over time as this normalizes, it could run on its own and then I agree with your hypothesis, that it will become a full concierge-type service.

Great read, thanks for posing for some important questions. I also wonder how Lego will remain relevant in the toy business with the entire industry facing this identity crisis of sorts. I think Legos move into Hollywood, and augmented reality, bringing toys to life with keep the company afloat. They have been good at adapting their brand with changing times and staying relevant, while still remaining true to their identity. In 2003, hasty innovation and moving into markets with poor research or customer base approval drove them to bankruptcy and so the question you pose, on who is their customer is crucial. I think it is the adult population who is their core customer, especially since implementing ideas from these adults got the company out of its rut, shows that the ones who recommended changes were also the right audience. Legos idea of getting an idea accepted by “10,000 users must within two years of submissions for it to be formally reviewed by the Lego Company” however seems very modest. 2 years is a long time frame and 10,000 users is not critical mass. i wonder if there is a way for lego to go out and seek innovation by launching challenges and contests and getting people to contribute to new ideas actively rather than passively?

On November 13, 2018, Starwars commented on Open Innovation at the Bank of Canada :

I am surprised that Canada’s central bank opted to seek solutions to improve processes and counter cyber security threats from the public. Like you have correctly pointed out, there is a massive threat of malicious organisations using this platform to create havoc. But inviting ideas for process improvement from the entire public could be useful in solving problems for business and to get feedback on the performance of monetary policy.
If there is no regulation of topics and no filter segregating ideas from feedback, Bank of Canada could be weighed down with the number of ideas. BoC could instead run contests/challenges with specific problems for which they need innovative solutions. I would prefer if they limited these challenges to process improvements and monetary policy forecasting rather than cyber crime solutions so that my network is not open or scrutinized by anyone.
The other challenge that BoC should be wary of is that this is just a complement to internal innovation. With a large inflow of ideas, focus could move in testing and validating them rather than innovating internally.

On November 13, 2018, Starwars commented on Adidas Futurecraft 4D: One shoe to rule them all? :

The shoe itself looks incredible and I have no doubt it will capture the market quickly until competition catches up. Nike itself is testing out and close to launching its own flyprint shoe (, which is also a remarkable piece of manufacturing. I wonder if Adidas itself is convinced about the shoe’s stability and ability to hold up to wear and tear. Every iconic launch of its product (especially shoes) is by an athlete, either through use or through an advertisement campaign. This deviation to launch the product on a standalone basis make me wonder if they were unsure if sport stars would consume the shoe. The fact that the 3D printing results in inconsistencies in output for any given input could be concerning for pro-athletes, and they would rather stay with the traditionally manufactured shoes until this process is perfected. That would mean that the shoe for now only provides “style” value or “fashion” value and its sale may be restricted to that audience. Competitors may catch up to the sales by then and so it is imperative that Adidas continues to invest in perfecting the product because I too believe this is the future of shoes.