Tag Archives: research

Dreaming of Flying

The dream of a flying car is alive and well in Silicon Valley. The latest version of flying comes from a company named Kitty Hawk. It doesn’t exactly look like a car though – it looks more like a jet ski with pontoons and propellers.

The vehicle is open and can carry one person. Powered by eight battery-powered propellers, the 220-pound vehicle takes off and lands on water and a platform. The Kitty Hawk Flyer is being promoted using a membership model – enthusiasts pay $100 to gain exclusive access to the Kitty Hawk and will get a $2,000 discount towards the yet-to-be-set price. There are barriers though for the new industry, including regulations. Plus, today’s batteries cannot yet support flights of the average daily commute, and where do you land if there is a problem?

This company is far from alone in its quest to create flying vehicles though. Challengers include more than a dozen other companies, including Terrafugia, Airbus Group, Volocopter, AeroMobil, and more.

Are you ready to fly away?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  2. Show the Kitty Hawk Web site and video: https://kittyhawk.aero/
  3. For this product, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: what is company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: what needs work?
    3. Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
    4. Threats: what should company be wary of?
  4. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
  5. Debrief by building SWOT analysis grid on the white board.

Source: New York Times, other news sources

 

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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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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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