Volkswagen’s troubles caused by the diesel emissions cheating scandal continue to worsen. It led to an unprecedented destruction of value of about $60 billion in one week. Most recently, additional Audi and even Porsche models were found to contain software designed specifically to sabotage pollution checks, and as of this writing, some 800,000 Volkswagen vehicles may have misreported CO2 levels in gasoline vehicles as well. The widespread deployment of the diagnostics-defeating software in so many of the company’s vehicles – about 500,000 in the US, and more than 11 million worldwide – implies more than the work of a few rogue engineers, which VW executives have ridiculously pleaded. Skeptics charge that the cover-up may extend not only throughout the company but even to other carmakers, regulators, and other bodies. And even the fix that VW recently proposed – a modified air intake tube meant to improve a sensor’s accuracy, and a software fix that will correct emissions at the expense of driving performance – was met with howling criticism even in automotive industry and German media.
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Waste – a material that is not wanted or the unusable remains or byproducts of something.
Treasure – something that is very special, important, or valuable.
Executives responsible for setting strategy at large corporations should look to emerging startups to help understand future trends, as acquisition targets, or as competitive threats. However, assessing the activities of their peers – other major multi-nationals within and outside their own industry – remains critical to making good strategic decisions. With that in mind, Lux Research has developed a new tool, the Lux Competitive Benchmark, to provide a fresh perspective on how the growth initiatives and innovation efforts at large companies drive performance.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot term today, and while information technology (IT) companies have been keen on the trend for years, now more and more industrial companies feel they can't afford to miss out on the potential impact. And there is truth in the hype: embedding connectivity and intelligence in physical objects promises to change the way we live our lives, revolutionize many product categories, and bring new efficiencies to many industrial applications. Still, for all the talk of how impactful IoT will be, our conversations with industrial companies – producers of chemicals and materials, oil & gas, utilities, and other physical equipment – reveal a lot of confusion and uncertainty around just how to attack the space. To help better understand the challenge industrials face in capitalizing on IoT, we conducted a survey to explore leading corporations' IoT strategies – or lack thereof. We received responses from 82 individuals from 78 corporations on the state of IoT in their businesses. We found:
“We live in a world of abundance… an abundance of problems,
and therefore an abundance of opportunities to innovate.”
In December, top government leaders from around the world will negotiate in Paris for almost two weeks to try to tackle climate change. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (a.k.a. COP21) is focused on trying to pin down some type of agreement between all the nations of the world, for how to limit global warming so the world heats up by no more than 2 ⁰C. This will be no easy task. The last attempt at such an agreement was in Copenhagen in 2009, and it failed to make any real commitments.
The country of Israel has established a unique position as a global innovation leader, earning the moniker "Start-up Nation." On a per capita basis, the country leads the world in start-ups, exits, NASDAQ traded companies, academic papers, and technology licenses. The flourishing innovation community has 3,500 start-ups in close proximity to 280 corporate R&D centers. Markets have noticed as high-tech exits climbed to $5.29 billion in the first half of 2015, already 76% of the total seen in 2014.
When we look back eight years to the introduction of the iPhone, it is easy to see the disruption smartphones caused; from transportation to on-demand services to social media. The big question today is what (if any) disruption will wearables cause? Improved healthcare? Quantified self? Connecting with customers? Gathering consumer data? Making safer and more efficient employees?
It is easy to attribute today’s low oil prices to specific causes, like the OPEC’s competition with the U.S. shale industry, but current low oil prices are just a symptom of a larger dynamic in the energy space: high volatility. Studies show that crude oil is significantly more volatile than more than 90% of other commodities, and becoming more so (see Figure below). Oil volatility has far-reaching implications. Low oil prices have led to a string of layoffs in the oil industry and has impacted alternative energies that still struggle to compete with traditional fuel. It also forces energy-intensive industries to operate conservatively, slowing their expansion and keeping cash on hand in case of another oil shock. The sheer scale of the oil industry creates severe repercussions for the economy as a whole: even small fluctuations in the price can increase unemployment and decrease output as the market hedges its bets against higher prices.