In Weekly disruption feed

Intensified clash between entrepreneurs and legislators

The pioneering entrepreneurs have always had an uneasy relationship to the law, and it seems to be the case now more than ever. For example, Uber and Lyft are running into opposition on most continents and Airbnb is probably fed up with continuously being accused of running unlicensed hotels. There are two main reasons for this recent intensification: First, the innovative companies are using digital technology to attack heavily regulated sectors of the service economy in which the incumbents feel that they are unfairly treated; Second is the power of the network effect – by getting to the market early the innovators can muster public opinion and push legislators to interpret legislation in their favor. The confidence in technology may be higher than ever right now, must legislators rev up the rule book to the digital age?

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Tesla + Solar City = No need for power grids? 

Tesla announced a completely new product last week, a big battery pack called Powerwall. The basic idea is to be able to power your home through a big battery (at least for a few hours), avoiding power outages (which are a big problem in many parts of the world) and less dependency on the grid. Combine that with Elon Musk’s other company Solar City (solar panels) and you have a system that can supply power 24 hours a day completely off grid, AND, Musk says, the system will be cheaper than normal power supply. Perhaps most interesting about this is the impact on less developed countries where solar panels are typically more widespread already and there often is no grid today – will there ever be one?

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How three words can replace every address on the planet

About four billion people on the planet actually live in places that have nothing that constitutes a proper address. In Ghana, for example, attempts have been made with mapping out areas to cope with the systems of the developed world which has resulted in some properties having five different addresses stamped on them. Now a UK company, what3words, have come up with a new approach to the addressing system – a user friendly coordinates system. The whole world is mapped up in to 3m by 3m squares and each square is given a unique combination of three simple words. For example, the tip of Big Ben is “shack.dragon.trains”. A system like this can give almost half of the world a voting right, possibility to set up a business or get a bank account!

Go find your own 3 word address here!

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New possible scenarios in the future automotive industry

The threat from large tech firms against the automotive industry has once again been confirmed. This time by Fiat Chrysler’s CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is openly advocating a consolidation of the industry in order to protect the established players from companies like Apple and Google. As discussed before, it is not the conventional but rather the electrical and autonomous car that poses the greatest threat of disruption to the established automakers. However, a twist in this story is Marchionne’s openness to discuss a merger between Fiat Chrysler and one of these companies. This opens up for yet another scenario on how the automotive industry will transform in the coming decade.

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Uberization of health care

The platform business model enters health care as Los Angeles startup Heal raises $3.7 million in seed money. The company delivers home visits by medical doctors in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is an on-demand service based on an app where customers are promised a doctor to their home within an hour. Just like ordering a ride from Uber, Heal shows a map with available physicians to choose from. Apart from home visits, Heal delivers medicine and pharmaceutical products to the customer’s door. Considering the other option, waiting in line at the ER for hours, it is easy to see how the service could become a hit. It will be interesting to see the development of Heal as it is only offered in two US cities today.

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Print your toys!

Since the early 2000s Lego has made a great turnaround from the brink of bankruptcy to a highly profitable success story. Now may however be the time for even greater change than what has already been done. Mattel and Autodesk are now teaming up to let customers design and customize 3D-printed toys. It’s not clear just what freedom customers will have in this first step but looking forward, people with their own 3D-printers could create basically anything, Lego or not. Will we be printing all our kids’ toys in 5-10 years? Time will tell, but you can be sure there will be change!

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Alibaba’s latest step in remaking China’s health system

In previous feeds we have written about Google, Amazon and Apple’s ambitious health care plans. Now another player is entering the game as Alibaba takes another step into the health care industry. Alibaba announced on Monday that they are entering a partnership with software company DHC Software in order to create a “Cloud Hospital”. The idea is to create a common platform for administration and analysis of patient data. The software will make it easier for the hospitals to manage individual patient cases and analyze health data gathered from patients. It will also enable patients to register for an appointment and pay online instead of waiting in line at the ER.

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