Business Think Tank

By Mitch Betts | Insights about the future of business

Robots Managing Robots: Nokia's Digital Factory Of The Future

Even though Finland-based Nokia unloaded its mobile handset business on Microsoft in 2014, it remains the second-largest mobile equipment manufacturer in the world after Sweden-based Ericsson. The company has about 100,000 employees after its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016.<p>Microsoft …

Industry 4.0

Managing for the Long Term

In the fall of 2014, the hedge fund activist and Allergan shareholder Bill Ackman became increasingly frustrated with Allergan’s board of directors. In a letter to the board, he took the directors to task for their failure to do (in his words) “what you are paid $400,000 per year to do on behalf of …

Governance

The Mall of the Future Will Have No Stores

Shopping-center landlords are rethinking the traditional mall model—and shops aren’t necessarily part of the equation<p>When Starwood Capital Group LLC bought Fairlane Town Center in 2014, the investment firm had a lot of work to do.<p>The Dearborn, Mich., mall was only 72% leased, and among the vacant …

Trends

African startups are betting on the continent’s untapped trove of consumer data

Paris<p>The Peter Drucker management aphorism, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” is a favorite of Yannick Lefang, the founder of Kasi Insight, an integrated marketing research firm operating in seven African countries. You could say it’s the <i>raison d’être</i> for his four-year old company focused …

Africa

The construction industry is short on human workers and ripe for a robotic takeover

Construction is one of the least-digitized industries in the world, and its productivity is suffering.<p>Construction is a $10 trillion global industry. It’s also mired by waste, severe worker shortages and weak productivity growth — all of which mean the business of building is ripe for a robotic …

Construction

This Is the Future of Business-Class Seats - Bloomberg

While the vast majority of fliers are feeling the squeeze with tighter and tighter economy seats (we’re looking at you, American Airlines) and …

Airlines

How AI Is Changing the World of Advertising Forever

For how much Hollywood loves remakes, I’m curious to see what a futuristic Mad Men is going to look like. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not expecting to see robotic Don Draper, who writes poignant lines of copy aggregated from data points all over the world (that’d be cheesy and boring). Rather, I’d be …

Artificial Intelligence

How the natural resources business is turning into a technology industry

The adoption of robotics, internet-of-things technology, and data analytics — along with macroeconomic trends and changing consumer behavior — are …

Harvard Business Review

How to Prepare the Next Generation for Jobs in the AI Economy

Most of us regard self-driving cars, voice assistants, and other artificially intelligent technologies as revolutionary. For the next generation, however, these wonders will have always existed. AI for them will be more than a tool; in many cases, AI will be their co-worker and a ubiquitous part of …

Education

Battery storage: The next disruptive technology in the power sector

Low-cost storage could transform the power landscape. The implications are profound.<p><b>Storage prices are dropping</b> much faster than anyone expected, due …

Energy

How artificial intelligence optimizes recruitment

Artificial Intelligence

Futuristic Fintech, With a Female Focus

SCOTT SAUNDERS, CEO of the online lending company Payoff, did not set out to build a personalized financial coaching app for women. In 2014, he began assembling a team that eventually included a cognitive neuroscientist, a marketer, an advertising executive and the data scientist behind eHarmony’s …

Santa Clara

Pay-as-you-drive startup threatens car insurance dinosaurs

Founder Freddy Macnamara launched his disruptive model in 2015 after spending two years convincing underwriters and investors to take a chance<p>Freddy Macnamara came up with the idea for Cuvva in 2013 while in a bar, chatting about lending his car to a friend.<p>“It was ridiculous that you couldn’t …

Insurance

The next big leap in AI could come from warehouse robots

Kindred thinks the path to smarter software is by giving it a physical body<p>Ask Geordie Rose and Suzanne Gildert, co-founders of the startup Kindred, about their company’s philosophy, and they’ll describe a bold vision of the future: machines with human-level intelligence. Rose says these will be …

Robotics

Pulp, paper, and packaging in the next decade: Transformational change

If you thought the paper industry was going to disappear, think again. Graphic papers are being squeezed, but the industry overall has major changes …

Innovation

Robots Wielding Water Knives Are the Future of Farming

Just after dawn in the Salinas Valley south of San Francisco, a raucous robot rolls through a field spitting clouds of vapor. It’s cutting lettuce …

Robots

How Harley-Davidson Used Artificial Intelligence to Increase New York Sales Leads by 2,930%

It was winter in New York City and Asaf Jacobi’s Harley-Davidson dealership was selling one or two motorcycles a week. It wasn’t enough.<p>Jacobi went for a long walk in Riverside Park and happened to bump into Or Shani, CEO of an AI firm, Adgorithms. After discussing Jacobi’s sales woes, Shani, …

Harley Davidson

Oil majors seek survival in transition to low-carbon world

Fossil fuels still dominate global energy but suppliers are vulnerable<p>Since the days of John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, the business of pumping …

Oil

Tesla is pushing the insurance industry to prepare for massive disruption

Tesla is forcing insurance companies to seriously consider how policies will change as cars become safer due to advances in self-driving technology.<p>The latest example is Farmers Insurance partnership with Tesloop, a small ride-sharing service that uses Tesla cars to transport customers between …

Autos

Company climate risk disclosure could become mandatory in a few years

LONDON (Reuters) - Companies' disclosure of risks to their business from climate change could become mandatory in a few years as investor pressure gathers pace, climate finance experts said on Tuesday.<p>Investors have urged companies, particularly those operating in the oil, gas and coal sectors, to …

Climate

A Look at the Gas Stations of Tomorrow

Among possible features: mobile apps to fill up more quickly, and lots of alternative fuels<p>By<p>Sarah Kent<p>Sarah Kent<p>The Wall Street Journal<p>Biography<p>@SarahKentWSJ<p>Google+<p>sarah.kent@wsj.com<p>The gas station is in for a major overhaul.<p>The world’s big oil companies have all sorts of potential changes on the …

Trends

Insurers’ digital reality--fewer premiums, more competition

Incumbents should consider partnerships and find new value-added services.<p><b>For a long time,</b> insurance proved resistant to digital technology’s …

In 10 Years Job Hunting Will Be Obsolete

Whether you're employed will depend on how a secret algorithm interprets your Web footprint.<p>Here's the good news: in ten years, you won't need to hassle writing resumes, posting on job boards, writing cover letters, answering job ads and everything else connected with the traditional job …

Employment

Reinventing Small and Medium-Size Business Banking in the U.S.

U.S. bank lending to SMBs has been flat in recent years, while alternative lenders have seen robust growth. If banks do not move quickly to engage …

Sofas and surveillance: Technology firms and the office of the future

Sofas and surveillanceTechnology firms and the office of the future<p>Their eccentric buildings offer clues about how people will work<p>print-edition …

How vertical farming reinvents agriculture

Instead of growing crops in sunny fields or greenhouses, some companies stack them and grow them in old, dark warehouses with UV lights — saving water and harvesting produce faster.<p>In an old carpet factory on the outskirts of the Belgian city of Kortrijk, an agricultural upheaval is being plotted: …

Farming

Meet the People Who Train the Robots (to Do Their Own Jobs)

SAN FRANCISCO — What if part of your job became teaching a computer everything you know about doing someone’s job — perhaps your own?<p>Before the machines become smart enough to replace humans, as some people fear, the machines need teachers. Now, some companies are taking the first steps, deploying …

Artificial Intelligence

The 3-D Printer That Could Finally Change Manufacturing

It’s less than two months before his company’s initial product launch, and CEO Ric Fulop is excitedly showing off rows of stripped-down 3-D printers, …

Manufacturing