I agree that the government and other agencies need to find a way to embed innovation within their day to day culture. Challenges like these are interesting and good publicity but don’t have the power to truly make a dent in the problem they are trying to tackle. Outsiders rarely have the perspective and understanding of the barriers at hand and therefore give solutions/recommendations that may be good in theory but aren’t practical. For instance, government programs require buy in and approval from multiple stakeholders and agencies. External innovators are rarely aware of these challenges. In reality, governments should hold challenges and elicit ideas on how to change their internal culture and practices. Transforming an agency from within is going to greater tangible impact than trying to find innovative solutions to one off problems.
The mission of LittleBits resonates with me and I do believe that children should be able to learn these skills in a low-stakes and fun environment. However, my biggest concern is that LittleBits open innovation doesn’t truly teach students that it is okay to fail. LittleBits puts too much emphasis on having projects that work or that are valued by the community and commercially viable. In reality, students should be encouraged to try ideas and feel just as successful failing as when their idea is voted to the top. LittleBits should make categories that allow students to portray ideas that were out of the box but didn’t work as expected. This type of community and innovation would actually be more beneficial as others could expand on a failed idea and help each other improve.
I wonder if we will ever get to the point of individuals having 3D printers in their own garages and being able to print their own replacement parts? In that regard, Porsche will be able to charge customers for the .3D file rather than having to manufacture parts themselves. If that becomes reality, then Porsche will become more of a design firm than a car manufacturer. The downside of that trend is that smaller companies and startups will be able to compete with large car manufactures. It takes less capital and infrastructure to create .3D files than to build manufacturing plants. Porsche should strategically think about how much power they are willing to give up and the long term benefits/consequences of outsourcing manufacturing.
I think Align should focus on trying to use their technology and expertise to disrupt another industry rather than continuing to try and be competitive in the aligner industry. For instance, I wonder if the same technology could be used to build customizable, disposal, and small tools for factories? Trying to enter a new industry and pivoting might allow them to continue being industry leaders rather than tryin to catch up in the dentistry field. It seems that they will be unable to stay ahead of the curve because AM technology is becoming more prevalent and thus decreasing Align’s current competitive advantage in the medical field.
I don’t think AI or machine learning will be able to replace sale team or a human salesperson. There are intangible qualities required to be an efficient and effective salesperson that cannot be mimicked. For instance, successful sales requires high EQ and knowing how to use various approaches based on the client and his or her personality. A machine might be able to send a email, but it is not able to change the tone/structure of that email based on the client. As the sales industry becomes more automated, more clients are starting to seek out companies that provide a more human and personalized experiance. Therefore, machine learning should be used as a tool that can assist sales and make salespeople more efficient (generating leads, analyzing data, providing specific untapped markets/industries), but not replace them.
As Hotel Tonight continues to expand and acquire more customers, it will need to add more hotels/rooms as well. In that process, Hotel Tonight is going to become very comparable to other websites such as Expedia, Orbitz, etc. Also, customers that have spontaneous trips tend to book for shorter vacations (long weekend vs. 2 week vacation) and therefore generate less revenue. HT needs to find a way to appeal to frequent and established travelers. Therefore, it won’t be able to keep up its competitive advantage. The value proposition of Hotel Tonight currently works because it can afford to be niche and exclusive; however, to scale HT will need to add other services or follow the trend of established companies.