Tag Archives: innovation

New “Handle” Robot from Boston Dynamics

Robotic technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. But the ultimate in robotic technology today undoubtedly comes from Boston Dynamics, a spin-off from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The company has a variety of robots with two legs, four legs, and wheels. They can run, leap, fly, walk, and climb buildings.

The newest robot from Boston Robotics is called “Handle.” This robot stands 6.5 foot tall, can travel at a speed of 9 miles per hour, and can even jump a height of four vertical feet!  Handle can go up ramps, spin, bend, travel over uneven ground, stairs, and pick up and carry objects up to 100 pounds.  It uses electric power to operate hydraulic actuators and can cover 15 miles on a single battery charge. The robots use sensor-based controls and computation to build complex, state-of-art robotic devices.

Handle joins a unique product line of sophisticated robots. See them all and be amazed!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the concepts of products, product line, and product mix.
  2. Bring up Boston Dynamics’s Web site and YouTube page: http://www.bostondynamics.com, and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7vVhkEfw4nOGp8TyDk7RcQ.
  3. Show the latest video of Handle, plus other videos (these are guaranteed to get students excited).
  4. Using Boston Dynamics, illustrate the concepts of products, product lines, and product mix.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with an example of other companies and state the products, product line, and product mix.

Source:  Boston Dynamics, YouTube

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Sharing Happy Hour with Pets

Americans increasingly treat pets as more than just an animal or belonging – we treat our pets as important members of the family. Pet owners now look for healthier choices and lifestyles for pet care, fundamentally shifting consumer behavior and spending. The pet care industry represents more than $20 billion in the U.S., and, according to Nielsen Research, 95% of pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family. This attitude carries over into shopping for food, treats, toys, and specialty items.

Therefore, it was just a matter of time for companies to develop new product so that humans could share celebrations and happy hour beverages with their pets. The newest category of product is faux wines for cats (and dogs, too)! With clever names and packaging, the category is expanding. People can buy their kitties bottles of “Catbernet,” “Pinot Meow,” and “Meowgarita” from Denver-based Apollo Peak. Or, buy “Dog Perignon” and “Dogtini” from Pet Winery in Fort Myers, Fla.

Of course, since alcohol can harm animals, these wines are actually alcohol-free. Using organic ingredients and catnip, the beverages are aimed at people who want to enjoy celebrations with their pets. But, as most cat owners know, cats can be quite finicky. In taste tests, some cats loved the products, while other cats simply showed their disdain.

Happy hour, meow?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many have pets? How much do they spend on their pets?
  2. Show the Web site for Apollo Peak: http://www.apollopeak.com/
  3. Also show Pet Winery: https://www.petwinery.com/
  4. Videos can be viewed at:


  1. The Chew: https://youtu.be/4DiO8MZTmnU
  2. Divide students into teams.
  3. Using a market-product grid, have students develop target markets for pet owners. Then, put categories of products across the top (Ex: food, toys, treats, wine…)
  4. Which target markets represent the best opportunity for pet wines?
  5. How should the products be marketed?

Source:  New York Times, Nielsen Research

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Inside Pew’s Research Center

Marketing requires research – lots and lots of research. Research is a constant process and helps marketers to make informed decisions about the strategy and tactics an organization needs in order to succeed. While many organizations use primary research to gather data, they also use a great deal of secondary research from outside sources.

One of the best outside source of research is the work done by Pew Research. Since funding for Pew’s research comes from the Pew Charitable Trust, it enables their research to be objective and arms-length from research paid for by an organization that desires a certain direction.

Have you ever wondered how Pew conducts its research? In this fascinating video, done with SAGE, leaders at Pew explain how projects are selected, initiatives are chosen, how data is collected, the designing and testing of questionnaires, data analysis, and reports are disseminated.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of research for marketing decision-making.
  2. Outline the six steps of research for students: problem definition, research strategy, population and sample selection, data gathering, and reporting.
  3. Before showing the video, instruct students to take notes on: how projects are selected; how data is collected; how questionnaires are designed and tested; how data is analyzed; and how final reports are prepared and disseminated.
  4. Show the SAGE video of how Pew conducts research: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/12/08/the-research-lifecycle-a-look-inside-the-pew-research-center/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=23151a0ab0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_02_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-23151a0ab0-399503221
  5. Finally, have students search for interesting topics and research reports on Pew’s Web site.

Source:  Pew Research Center, SAGE

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