The Timeless Cool of Levi’s

The Timeless Cool of Levi’s

Levi Strauss invented the blue jean in the late 1800s. Since then, jeans have become an iconic staple of everyone’s wardrobe.

Despite being the symbols of various cultural movements, Levi’s jeans lost their appeal over time. With fierce competition from designer brands, teenage retailers, and streetwear companies, sales plateaued, and the company’s financial health deteriorated.

As the company goes public for the second time in its long history, the CEO expects that the injection of new capital will help the company innovate and regain its trendiness.


Video Spotlight: Levi’s “Circles” Commercial


This post is based on the New York Times article, Levi’s, Whose Jeans Are a Rugged Symbol of Americana, Prepares to Go Public, by S. Maheshwari, March 18, 2019; and the YouTube video, Levi’s “Circles” Commercial, by Levi’s, August 18, 2017. Image source: Redfx / Alamy

Discussion Questions:

1. Why does Mr. Bergh, the CEO, say that Levi’s had an “unclear” strategy?

Guidance: A strategy is a long-term blueprint. Levi’s had lost touch with its customers and stopped innovating, a requirement for success in the crowded apparel business. With a lack of long-term thinking and strategic positioning, inadequate advertising ensued, and Levi’s lost the “cool” Continue reading

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The Auto Industry Is Running Out of Gas

The Auto Industry Is Running Out of Gas

America’s love affair with cars is losing its steam.

As city living makes a comeback and new transportation options emerge, the appeal of buying a new car fades. After decades of growth and record years, auto sales may have reached a peak or will get there soon.

The auto industry is trying to prepare itself for an inevitable decline and is investing in mobility services and self-driving cars. This worldwide trend marks the end of an era and the beginning of a quest for the next disruptive innovation.


Video Spotlight: Peak Car?


This post is based on a Bloomberg article, Car Troubles: This is What Peak Car Looks Like, by K. Naughton and D. Welch, February 28, 2019; and the YouTube video, Peak Car?, by Financial Times, January 26, 2014. Image source: Ionut Iordache/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. What factors have contributed to the decline in private car sales?

Guidance: Factors include increasing numbers of people migrating to large cities where cheaper and more convenient transportation options abound; higher car prices; scarcity and cost of parking; young people’s dwindling interest in driving; and a growing elderly population for whom driving has become risky and stressful.

2. Continue reading

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Permanent Housing for the Homeless Lowers Health Care Costs

Permanent Housing for the Homeless Lowers Health Care Costs

Better Health Through Housing is a supportive housing program designed to reduce healthcare costs by moving homeless people from emergency rooms into stable housing.

The University of Illinois Hospital decided to participate in this program as part of its health equity mission. Its staff later discovered that besides providing housing, the program improved health and reduced the frequency of expensive emergency room visits.


Video Spotlight: Ted Talk: Housing Is Health


This post is based on a 90.9 WBUR report, To Reduce Chronic Homelessness, a Chicago Hospital Is Treating It as A Medical Condition, by J. Hobson, February 21, 2019; and the YouTube video, Health Equity: Housing is Health | Steve Brown | TEDxRushU, by Tedx, January 16, 2019. Image source: Ingram Publishing

Discussion Questions:

1. Is homelessness an operations issue?

Guidance: The homeless are “customers” of multiple processes performed by many organizations: hospitals, prisons, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, police departments, Medicaid, etc. As a result, they directly influence the operations of these organizations. Very interestingly, the article mentions that to achieve better solutions to the problems experienced or caused by the homeless, it’s better to coordinate processes and resources than to work in silos.

2. How Continue reading

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