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Walt Disney: Survival of the Most Innovative
This case study of Disney kicks off what I hope becomes a regular series on business innovation that I'm calling "Survival of the Most Innovative." (an obvious reference to the Darwinian concept of the "Survival of the Fittest") Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal (free feature) described the launch of a brand new innovation strategy at Disney:
"Ever since Walt Disney opened Disneyland in 1955, Walt Disney Co. has rarely strayed from his original vision of what a theme park
should be. But at a top-secret development unit these days, the company
is plotting a new spurt of theme park expansion that goes well beyond
its traditional model of luring people to Disney resorts in Florida or
Disney is hatching plans to take its theme-park
experience to the masses, rather than the other way around. Instead of
building more big parks, the company is sketching out a string of niche
resorts and attractions around the world. That could include such
things as stand-alone, Disney themed hotels in cities and beach
resorts, Disney branded retail and dining districts, and smaller, more
In the near term, the company is using the Disney name
to expand in other areas of the travel business. For example, it is
ramping up an operation called "Adventures by Disney," in which
travelers pay for guided Disney tours to popular destinations including
Italy and Ireland. The company also plans to build its presence in
time-share vacation homes in places like the Caribbean. And it is
bulking up its popular cruise line, with more Disney ships in the cards."
So, what are the takeaway lessons here from the Disney case study?
(1) Disney is not attempting a radical departure from its hugely successful theme park strategy. Instead of a revolutionary strategy, the company is hoping for an evolutionary strategy. After a series of failed expansions about five years ago, the company is sticking to what it knows best, looking for the types of new offerings that "already
have an established consumption pattern."
(2) Disney realizes that it sits within an ecosystem of other entertainment providers, and must scale its ambitions accordingly. "Instead of saying where will the next Disneyland be,
we need to think more in terms of where around the world we can deliver
an immersive experience appropriate to the size of the market. Not
every market can support a full-on Disney location."
(3) Disney examined its organizational DNA and decided to go with the types of offerings that seem to offer the best fit. "Another challenge is tailoring the niche attractions
to local markets while keeping the Disney brand intact..."
And, like just about every other business today, Disney is keeping its eye on the long-term growth potential of Asia-Pacific. Anyway, instead of thinking itself as a "content machine" that must be re-oiled and re-engineered, Disney is thinking of itself much more as a living, evolving organism that must explore new evolutionary niches while at the same time exploiting existing niches. (if you haven't already guessed, this is going to become a big theme here on the Endless Innovation blog)
[image: Disney's Pirate-Themed Resort]
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.