“Cool and Chic” Was a Tough Sell for This Public Library

“Cool and Chic” Was a Tough Sell for This Public Library

Hunters Point, a new library branch in Queens, is finally open.

It boasts a unique and stylish design that is a source of pride in the community. The construction project was very much over time and over budget. Although there are many reasons for this project management nightmare, it appears that measures meant to promote efficient use of taxpayers’ money had unintended consequences.


Video Spotlight: Balance between the Book and the Digital


This post is based on The New York Times article, Why Can’t New York City Build More Gems Like This Queens Library?, by M. Kimmelman, September 18, 2019, and the YouTube video, Hunters Point Library Finally Openby CBS New York, September 24, 2019. Image source:  Shutterstock / X_C

Discussion Questions:

1. What design elements make this library inviting to patrons?

Guidance: Large windows let the light in and offer beautiful views of Manhattan. Bamboo-paneled walls add warmth. Shifting forms and curves make the space interesting and pleasing to the eye. Corners and nooks provide privacy. A ginkgo garden outside creates a natural oasis in a large city. This unique and tastefully designed library contrasts with the high-density apartment buildings erected next Continue reading

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Why Washing Machines Are Learning to Play the Harp

Why Washing Machines Are Learning to Play the Harp

September 18, 2019

How much are we willing to pay for the bings, pongs, and whooshes made by appliances?

According to research, we may want to pay more. Our brains are especially receptive to sound. Besides giving us notifications of the progress made by our coffeemakers, dishwashers, and washing machines, melodic sounds can enhance the experience of our most routine activities. At least, that is what marketers believe, and they are betting that distinctive, authentic sounds can increase brand recognition and build a competitive advantage.


Video Spotlight: Appliance Symphony


This post is based on The Atlantic article, Why Washing Machines Are Learning to Play the Harp, by L. Bliss, September, 2019, and the YouTube video, GE Appliances Develops New Sounds for Appliances, by GE Appliances, November 20, 2012. Image source: Shutterstock/Serghei Starus.

Discussion Questions:

1. From an operations strategy perspective, are the specialized sounds order winners or order qualifiers?

Guidance: Review the definitions of order winners and qualifiers. The article makes the case for specialized sounds as order winners with reports from both corporate and academic research. Corporate testing showed that consumers were more likely to buy a brand of appliance with customized sounds. Academic research indicated that Continue reading

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McDonald’s Struggles With Unsustainable Straws

McDonald’s Struggles With Unsustainable Straws

August 25, 2019

Paper straws made their debut at McDonald’s in the U.K. and Ireland in June of 2018, in part because the British government plans to ban plastic straws next year.

Initially, customer complained about soggy paper straws that were hard to use, especially with milkshakes.  This led to a redesign and a thicker straw.  Ironically, because of their thickness, these new straws cannot currently be recycled by the company that processes McDonald’s paper cups.

U.K. customers use 1.8 million straws a day, and although the old plastic straws could be recycled, it will take time to develop an solution that keeps the paper ones out of the general waste bins.


Video Spotlight: Are straws ever eco-friendly or guilt free?


This post is based on the BBC article, McDonald’s Paper Straws Cannot Be Recycled, (no author given), August 5, 2019; the CNN article, McDonald’s new paper straws aren’t recyclable — but its axed plastic ones were, by Rob Picheta, August 5, 2019; and the YouTube video Are straws ever eco-friendly or guilt free?, by The Telegraph, August 6, 2019. Image source: Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why are some consumers and the British government concerned with Continue reading

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