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Loved this article! I liked your point about being able to print the merchandise closer to the consumer to improve the delivery speed and reduce the shipping costs – I hadn’t thought about that benefit. Even further out, wouldn’t it be amazing if you had a local 3D printer you could go to for anything you need or have it sent to you immediately? Seems like Amazon’s dream…

But on that Amazon thought, I agree with the post above that Adidas should be somewhat concerned about copycats in the 3D printing space. I assume they would protect themselves by using and publicizing “patented” materials that typical consumers could not access (even if consumers could access a similar design).

I also agree with your point about the move towards customization. Though customization of products sounds great in theory, I wonder how much customization we really need. That is to say, how much incremental benefit does a shirt or shoe perfectly designed for you actually provide vs your standard size, in one of a million different models available on the market? I’m not convinced it’s that much!

To your second question, I agree that there are limits to the ability of machine learning to predict romantic relationships. In addition to those you mentioned, two reasons stand out to me.

First, I think that getting beyond swiping patterns into meet-up patterns and whether a relationship successfully formed would required Bumble to collect additional data from the user (e.g. pop-ups such as “Did you and X meet up? How did it go?”). In this case, Bumble becomes less a platform for connecting people and more a “relationship manager” which would likely feel intrusive to many, per the privacy concerns raised above. With privacy concerns, you will likely have fewer users, thus reducing the amount of data you have available. This tension between ‘scale’ of data versus ‘depth’ of data and ability to monetize that data is quite interesting.

Second, I think that because the human experience is always evolving, the proper “match” for someone at one point in their lives might not be the proper match at another point in time. I also think experiences with one person can change what you’re looking for in the next person in unpredictable ways.

Prachi also brings up a great point about “chance” – I hadn’t thought about that!

Great read!!! Your article raised a lot of questions.

I wonder how 3D-printing can impact the consumer value proposition of products beyond the shape. Could it provide a benefit in the ways the ingredients are combined/layered?

I also wonder how quickly consumers will become comfortable with 3D-printing. I would expect the barrier to be low, so should some agriculture producers be thinking about their processes in light of the trend? This hinges a bit on the scale 3D-printed food can achieve, which as someone aptly mentions above is likely limited given the costs.

It is really surprising that LEGO had 600 developers! That figure is much higher than I would have expected. It made me curious about the magnitude of open innovation’s impact on the amount of R&D labor required for simple consumer products like LEGO.

I also think you make a good point about the power of putting some guardrails in place around innovation (i.e. to incorporate the consumer’s perspective, to prevent product proliferation). It seems that many organizations would benefit from segmenting their innovation teams and processes based on type of innovation.

I was also impressed by the LEGO Ideas and LEGO Ambassadors programs. It seems like there is opportunity for contests, as well?

I loved this article!

I was particularly interested in the Digital Innovation Lab SIA established. It raised a few questions for me.
-Has the Lab had any notable successes thus far?
-Where is the Lab based? Given that SIA is an airline, I would imagine that it would be difficult for employees to participate if the bulk of activity happens in one location.
-How does the company incentivize employees to participate in the program?

You also raise a great question about managing competitors’ access to your ideas. In order to avoid copy-cats, it seems that the more specific the innovation challenge is to your business the better (to the extent possible). I also think (1) maintaining a constant funnel of new innovation ideas and (2) structuring/preparing your organization to rapidly implement these ideas can help you remain a step ahead, even as copy-cats do arise.

I totally agree with you, Sam – in its current state, this type of visual search primarily benefits companies with large assortments.

It will be interesting to see how companies like ASOS evolve in using the data. Will they begin to quickly manufacture (maybe even 3D-print!) items for which they see high demand through search queries but do not currently carry in their assortment?

As the technology becomes more sophisticated, I also wonder if it will be capable of interpreting sketches that consumers draw themselves (rather than photos). There have been many times when I’ve had an idea of exactly what I wanted to purchase for a given event, but I cannot find it anywhere online!

I think you also bring up a great point regarding the impact of visual search on the brick-and-mortar experience. It has been heavily reported that retail space is shifting more towards “experience” centers to continue to attract traffic (since shopping online has become so pervasive and efficient), and visual search is just one more trend amplifying that call to action!