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Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Chink in Bacteria's Armor 04-22

Building the bacterial wall: The blue balls are wall-making proteins. The yellow represents a newly synthesized bacterial cell wall. The green color represents "scaffolding" proteins. Video: Janet Iwasa for Harvard Medical School..

The wall that surrounds bacteria to shield them from external assaults has long been a tantalizing target for drug therapies. Indeed, some of modern medicine’s most reliable antibiotics disarm harmful bacteria by disrupting the proteins that build their protective armor. 

For decades, scientists knew of only one wall-making protein family. Then, in 2016, a team of Harvard Medical School scientists discovered that a previously unsuspected family of proteins that regulate cell division and cell shape had a secret skill: building bacterial walls.

Now, in another scientific first described March 28 in Nature, members of the same research team have revealed the molecular building blocks—and a structural weak spot—of a key member of that family.
“Our latest findings reveal the molecular structure of RodA and identify targetable spots where new antibacterial drugs could bind and subvert its work,” said study senior investigator Andrew Kruse, associate professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School.
The newly profiled protein, RodA, belongs to a family collectively known as SEDS proteins, present in nearly all bacteria. SEDS” near-ubiquity renders these proteins ideal targets for the development of broad-spectrum antibiotics to disrupt their structure and function, effectively neutralizing a range of harmful bacteria.
A weak link
In their earlier work, the scientists showed that RodA builds the cellular wall by knitting together large sugar molecules with clusters of amino acids. Once constructed, the wall encircles the bacterium, keeping it structurally intact, while repelling toxins, drugs and viruses.
The latest findings, however, go a step further and pinpoint a potential weak link in the protein’s makeup.
Specifically, the protein’s molecular profile reveals structural features reminiscent of other proteins whose architecture Kruse has disassembled. Among them, the cell receptors for the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and adrenaline, which are successfully targeted by medications that boost or stem the levels of these nerve-signaling chemicals to treat a range of conditions, including cardiac and respiratory diseases.
One particular feature caught the scientists’ attention—a pocket-like cavity facing the outer surface of the protein. The size and shape of the cavity, along with the fact that it is accessible from the outside, make it a particularly appealing drug target, the researchers said.
“What makes us excited is that this protein has a fairly discrete pocket that looks like it could be easily and effectively targeted with a drug that binds to it and interferes with the protein’s ability to do its job,” said study co-senior author David Rudner, professor of microbiology and immunobiology at Harvard Medical School.
In a set of experiments, researchers altered the structure of RodA in two bacterial species—the textbook representatives of the two broad classes that make up most of disease-causing bacteria. One of them was Escherichia coli, which belongs to a class of organisms with a double-cell membrane known as gram-negative bacteria, so named due to a reaction to staining test used in microbiology. The other bacterium was Bacillus subtilis, a single-membrane organism that belongs to so-called gram-positive bacteria.
When researchers induced even mild alterations to the structure of RodA’s cavity, the protein lost its ability to perform its work. E. coli and B. subtilis cells with disrupted RodA structure rapidly enlarged and became misshapen, eventually bursting and leaking their contents.
“A chemical compound—an inhibitor—that binds to this pocket would interfere with the protein’s ability to synthesize and maintain the bacterial wall,” Rudner said. “That would, in essence, crack the wall, weaken the cell and set off a cascade that eventually causes it to die.”
Additionally, because the protein is highly conserved across all bacterial species, the discovery of an inhibiting compound means that, at least in theory, a drug could work against many kinds of harmful bacteria.
“This highlights the beauty of super-basic scientific discovery,” said co-investigator Thomas Bernhardt, professor of microbiology and immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. “You get to the most fundamental level of things that are found across all species, and when something works in one of them, chances are it will work across the board.”
Solving for X
To determine RodA’s structure, scientists used a visualization technique known as X-ray crystallography, which reveals the molecular architecture of protein crystals based on a pattern of scattered X-ray beams. The technique requires two variables—the intensity of scattered X-rays and a so-called “phase angle,” a property related to the configuration of the atoms in a protein. The latter is measured indirectly, typically by using a closely related protein as a substitute to calculate the variable.
In this case, however, the team had on its hands a never-before-described protein with no known molecular siblings.
“In most cases you can use a related structure and bootstrap to a solution,” Kruse said. “In this case, we couldn’t do that. We had to predict what RodA looked like without any prior information about it.”
They needed a new way to solve for X.
In a creative twist, researchers turned to evolution and predictive analytics. Working with Debora Marks, assistant professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School, they constructed a virtual model of the RodA’s folding pattern by analyzing the sequences of its closest evolutionary cousins.
The success of this “roundabout” approach, researchers said, circumvents a significant hurdle in field of structural biology and can open the doors toward defining the structures of many more newly discovered proteins.
“These insights underscore the importance of creative crosspollination among scientists from multiple disciplines and departments,” said study first author Megan Sjodt, a research fellow in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. “We believe our results set the stage for subsequent work toward the discovery and optimization of new classes of antibiotics.”
The work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant U19AI109764.
Co-investigators included Kelly Brock, Genevieve Dobihal, Patricia Rohs, Anna Green, Thomas Hopf, Alexander Meeske, Veerasak Srisuknimit, Daniel Kahne and Suzanne Walker, all from Harvard

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Can the Minerva Model of Learning disrupt higher Education...04-14

Traditional universities — including Ivy League schools — fail to deliver the kind of learning that ensures employability. That perspective inspired Ben Nelson, founder and CEO of the six-year-old Minerva Schools in San Francisco. His goal is to reinvent higher education and to provide students with high-quality learning opportunities at a fraction of the cost of an undergraduate degree at an elite school. While tuition at top-tier universities in the U.S. can run more than $40,000 a year, Minerva charges $12,950 a year, according to its website. In a recent test, its students showed superior results compared to traditional universities while also attracting a large number of applicants.

Minerva is a disruptor and the traditional university establishment needs to adapt to its model and perhaps improve on it, according to Jerry (Yoram) Wind, emeritus marketing professor at Wharton. Nelson, who was previously president of Snapfish, an online photo hosting and printing service, and Wind spoke to Knowledge@Wharton about why the higher education model needs to change, and how the Minerva model could help.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: Jerry, where is the future of education headed?

Jerry Wind: The future is now. It has been here for a while, and with Minerva, Ben has recreated the university of the future. Ben, describe briefly the Minerva concept, and then go into the recent findings of the CLA report (Minerva’s Collegiate Learning Assessment test).

Ben Nelson: We refer to Minerva as having been built as an “intentional university.” Everything about the design of the institution, what we teach, how we teach and where we teach it is based on what we know, and through empirical evidence, is effective.

In what we teach, we are classical in our approach, even though we’re [also] modern and progressive in the way we teach. For example, if you think about the purpose of a liberal arts education, or what the great American universities purport to teach, they will say ‘We teach you how to think critically, how to problem-solve, how to think about the way the world works and to be global, and how to communicate effectively.

“Universities … basically teach you academic subject matter and they hope you pick up all of the other stuff by accident.”
–Ben Nelson

When you actually look at how universities attempt to do it, they basically teach you academic subject matter and they hope you pick up all of the other stuff by accident.

We decided to have a curriculum that teaches these things, that breaks down critical thinking, creative thinking, effective interactions, and effective communications into component parts. [We wanted to make] sure that we don’t just teach them conceptually, and don’t just teach them in a context, but actually explain the concept and then have our students apply them actively from context to context to context.

Knowledge@Wharton: Could you share an example of how you do that?

Nelson: One aspect of critical thinking, for example, is evaluating claims. There are various ways of evaluating claims. Sometimes you use logic, sometimes you use reasoning, which is different than logic, sometimes you do statistical analysis which is different than the other two, and sometimes you just think of a counter example.

Now there are different [types] of critical thinking. One example: making a decision tradeoff. Should we go down Path A or Path B? The technique for making a decision tradeoff is perhaps thinking through the cost-benefit analysis, which is a type of critical thinking.

If you say ‘I’m going to teach you critical thinking’ and you just try to teach it as a thing you will never succeed. [It is important to] go through it systemically and do the component parts – that’s the first aspect.

The second aspect is if you teach a person an idea, say evaluation of claims, the mind gets trained in a particular context. When somebody makes a claim, let’s say on an investment opportunity, or a political claim, the mind doesn’t really transfer those skills from one field to another. This is one of the fundamental problems of transferrable education. The way that you teach that is to provide exercise and applications in multiple fields.

How we teach is also radically different. The science of learning shows that the dissemination of information [through] lectures and test-based methodology simply doesn’t work. Six months after the end of a traditional lecture and test-based class, 90% of the material you were supposed to have learned is gone from your mind. In an active learning environment you struggle through information, and two years after the end of the class you retain 70%.

All of our classes, despite [being] small seminars with 15 to 19 students at a time, are done via live video online where there’s a camera pointed at every student’s face. The students are actively engaged with the materials, [and it is] not the professor lecturing — professors are not allowed to talk for more than four minutes at a time. The students get feedback on how they apply what they [learn].
“Six months after the end of a traditional lecture and test-based class, 90% of the material you were supposed to have learned is gone from your mind.”
–Ben Nelson

Lastly [it is about] where we teach. We have created a university that takes advantage of the best the world has to offer. Being a Penn graduate, I always gravitated towards the idea of the urban campus. Our students live in the heart of cities in residence halls together, and have a very strong community. They spend their first year in the heart of San Francisco, but over the next three years across six semesters, as a cohort, as a group, they will travel and live in six different countries. So in their second year they go to Seoul and Hyderabad, and then to Berlin and Buenos Aires, then London and Taipei, and come back to San Francisco for a month to manifest their education and graduate.
Wind: While the concept is appealing, does it work? Describe the CLA test, and then talk about the implications of [your approach].

Nelson: The Collegiate Learning Assessment is provided by a third party nonprofit that has been testing and assessing students’ progress on critical thinking, problem-solving, scientific reasoning and effective communication skills for many years. It’s been administered to hundreds of thousands of students across hundreds of universities. It is administered to students at the beginning of their first year and at the end of their fourth year, and so you can measure [the] progress of students.

We provided [our students] the first-year test just before they started the first class at the beginning of the year. But rather than waiting four years, we gave our students the fourth-year test at the end of their first year, Eight months later, the results shocked us. Not only did our students after eight months have the highest composite score in the country compared to any other university that was assessing their students, the delta improvement they accomplished was higher than what the CLA has seen any university accomplish over four years.

Knowledge@Wharton: What drove those results?

Nelson: The silly answer would be to say, ‘Oh we’re brilliant and we’re great, and look at how amazing what we do is.’ The fact of the matter is we’ve got a lot of room to grow and improve. These results in many ways are much more damning of the existing system than they are generating praise for our brilliance.

We have taken publicly available scientifically published data on how the mind works. We’ve broken down the things that every university says that they teach or that they want to teach, and merely spent time putting together a curriculum that does that, and we’ve offered it to students. We’ve just done what anybody who would rationally approach trying to create a solution to a problem do.

I would bet you that if you had 100 institutions or 100 groups of people that were to do the same thing we would have done from scratch, we would have probably been better than some of them, maybe most of them, but not all of them. There would be some that on their first try would be even better than [us].

Wind: This is the value of idealized design. As opposed to trying to fix the current educational system by adding another course or trying to create a cross-disciplinary course, [Minerva] reexamines the whole purpose of education.

They didn’t go far enough, which is they are still within an academic context, and probably they will relax the academic context that is [with] semesters and the like, and get even better results. But even within this academic context and constraints, what they have done is amazing  –  the curriculum, the concept, and the way it’s developed for the benefit of the learner, and not the benefit of the faculty.

The [first] implication is, if you had a choice and you wanted to go to a university now, where would you go? If you want really great education, go to Minerva; [but if] you want to network, go to one of the top five schools — Penn, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and MIT. Minerva offers probably a different network than the traditional ones because it is a network of people who are willing to do it.

Nelson: Last year, for our third class ever, we received 20,400 applications. That is more applicants than MIT or Dartmouth got. The network you get in a Wharton or Harvard or Yale or what-have-you is [of] a certain kind. It is overwhelmingly American, [with] 80% or 90% from the U.S., and usually from particular socioeconomic backgrounds. Even though there is some diversity, it’s heavily weighted [in favor of that profile].

The Minerva network is radically different because 80% of our students are not from the U.S. — they come from 61 countries. We received these 20,000 applications from 179 countries. The experience and the network you build as you travel and live as a resident in these seven countries is unparalleled. If you want a global footprint, that’s what we provide.

Wind: The current educational system does not work. Implication two is that [universities] have to realize that they are being disrupted. At this stage [it is on a] small scale, but if other universities start adopting it, it can [become] large scale. [Minerva is] the disruptor here, and the signal to the legacy universities is, our model does not work. Stop trying to fix it by adding another Band-Aid, but try to rethink the educational system. And here you have a wonderful blueprint that works.

Nelson: We just wrote a book called Building the Intentional University, which is a blueprint for how other universities can create their own Minervas or reform in that sense. We are a residential university that grants undergraduate degrees with 120 credit hours, with majors and minors and electives and a general education curriculum. We are plug-and-play for universities. We offer potential salvation from disruption.

“The future is now. It has been here for a while, and with Minerva, Ben has recreated the university of the future.”
–Jerry (Yoram) Wind

What I have worried about is the other kind of disruptive force that can attack universities [and be] destructive, in the sense that in six months you get a high school degree, go to a boot camp and then get a six-figure job being a software programmer. We have put together an educational experience that enables university graduates to be better prepared than [with that] six-month boot camp. Because they are able to do higher level problem solving, they are going to be [software] architects as opposed to the programmers. They’re going to the ones that in a world of Watson and artificial intelligence and outsourcing are going to be much more future-proof.

Wind: An increasing number of people view employability as being critical, and a traditional university degree does not guarantee employability, [but] the new non-degree programs guarantee you a [job] position.

Knowledge@Wharton: Three or four years ago, a big potential disruptor was the so-called MOOC, or the Massive Open Online Course. A number of platforms came up [such as] Coursera, Udacity and EdX. It seemed like they were going to be disruptive, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. What happened with that so-called disruption and why did it fail?

Nelson: The jury is still somewhat out on that, and let me give you an example of what I think is happening on the surface. MIT had a master’s program in supply chain logistics, and it cost $60,000 for a two-semester program. As an experiment, [they put the] first semester on MOOCs, and rather than charging $30,000 for it, [gave] it away for free. If you want to get credit for it pay $250, [write] an exam, and then if you score well you [go] to campus, do a one-semester supplement, pay $30,000 and get a master’s degree.

This [halves] the cost of higher education for a master’s degree. Imagine if the Ivy League – or any university – [extended that to] all the courses they give academic credit for. Of the $250,000 that they are used to collecting and are reliant on [for each degree course, they] can only collect $100,000 because $150,000 is effectively given away for free. So far no university has an incentive to rock the boat too much on this. [However,] just because the disruption does not happen immediately doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Wind: The concern is that especially for the leading universities, it’s an excuse not to innovate. They are saying, ‘Look how innovative we are; we have MOOCs, or we offer classes on Coursera,’ and basically the rest of the education stays exactly the same way as it was before. Some of the findings suggest that less than 5% of the people who start ever finish the courses on Coursera or EdX. But there are some encouraging signs that if you add to the traditional Coursera course or EdX interaction, and if you provide some more gamification principles in terms of getting involved, you can increase the numbers significantly.

The advantage of this — with MIT, Stanford, Penn and other universities putting all of these courses online — is that the role of the faculty becomes easier as a curator. This is the fundamental change that we have to see in education.

Knowledge@Wharton: [In addition to] a network, one other factor that the Ivy League universities offer is the brand. When you have this innovative model like Minerva, how do you establish a brand that is acceptable to students as well as employers?

Nelson: Minerva was built as a positive brand. When you meet somebody at Minerva you know that they have … been given systematic frameworks of analysis that they can apply effectively to the rest of the world. Our challenge is to propagate that brand, to get people aware of it. The good news is that the internet is a very good way of disseminating information. Brand building in today’s world doesn’t take centuries; it doesn’t even take decades.

Wind: The final word on branding is always [from] the consumer. One, the best carrier of the brand, and especially on the positive side, would be the alumni. So the value of the degree, the value of the Minerva experience is a function of how good the alumni are. Two, a lot [depends] of the employability and demand for the Minerva students.

Nelson: It’s too early to tell.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Manmohan Singh donates 3,500 books from his personal library to his alma mater 04-12

India's former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has donated 3,500 books from his personal collection to his alma mater Panjab University (PU).

According to university authorities, the arrangements would soon be made to transport books and memorabilia, photographs and paintings from New Delhi to the university campus.
As per the IANS report, the books and other objects will be kept in the Guru Teg Bahadur Bhawan on the university campus.

Here's what the professor of Department of History told IANS:

"The 3,500 books and memorabilia, which include photographs and paintings, will be housed in Guru Teg Bahadur Bhawan. Until the place is ready for the installation, books and memorabilia will be kept in the main library," she said.
"It will be developed as a library where there would be a reading area where anybody can come and have a look at the material," she added.

India's former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has donated 3,500 books from his personal collection to his alma mater Panjab University (PU).
According to university authorities, the arrangements would soon be made to transport books and memorabilia, photographs and paintings from New Delhi to the university campus.
As per the IANS report, the books and other objects will be kept in the Guru Teg Bahadur Bhawan on the university campus.

Here's what the professor of Department of History told IANS:

"The 3,500 books and memorabilia, which include photographs and paintings, will be housed in Guru Teg Bahadur Bhawan. Until the place is ready for the installation, books and memorabilia will be kept in the main library," she said.
"It will be developed as a library where there would be a reading area where anybody can come and have a look at the material," she added. 

View at the original source

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Airbnb Effect: Cheaper Rooms for Travelers, Less Revenue for Hotels 03-06

Hotels enjoy their highest profits when rooms are most in demand, like during holidays and big events. Unfortunately for them, Airbnb is taking away some of that pricing power, according to new research by Chiara Farronato and Andrey Fradkin. 

Image credit : Shyam's Imagination Library

Airbnb is revolutionizing the lodging market by keeping hotel rates in check and making
additional rooms available in the country's hottest travel spots during peak periods when hotel rooms often sell out and rates skyrocket, a new study shows.

That's bad news for hotels, which have traditionally earned their biggest margins when rooms were scarce and customers were forced to pay higher rates—such as in Midtown Manhattan on New Year's Eve. And it's good news for travelers who don't have to pay through the roof to get a roof over their heads during holidays or for big events.

"The benefits to travelers and the reduction in pricing power of hotels is really concentrated in particular cities during certain times," says Chiara Farronato, a co-author of the study. "When hotels are fully booked, Airbnb expands the capacity for rooms."

Released today, the research shows that in the 10 cities with the largest Airbnb market share in the US, the entry of Airbnb resulted in 1.3 percent fewer hotel nights booked and a 1.5 percent loss in hotel revenue.

The paper, The Welfare Effects of Peer Entry in the Accommodation Market: The Case of Airbnb, was written by Farronato, a Harvard Business School assistant professor, and Andrey Fradkin, postdoctoral fellow at the Initiative on the Digital Economy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"You might find a Fifth Avenue apartment or a place by the beach at a more reasonable price than you would if Airbnb wasn't an option"

Competition between traditional hotels and Airbnb is intensifying. Last Friday, Airbnb announced it is expanding its "experiences" offerings to an additional 1,000 cities. Meanwhile, the lodging industry is not only adding its own offerings, but stepping up lobbying efforts in local and federal circles for stricter regulations governing Airbnb.

The study focused on data from 2014, and the impact on hotels could be even greater today given Airbnb's strong growth since then.

In addition to access to more rooms, travelers reaped other rewards in places where Airbnb competed with hotels, the study shows. During busy travel times, guests enjoyed an average "consumer surplus" of $57 per night. This surplus didn't necessarily amount to more money in a visitor's pocket, but it did mean better accommodations at more reasonable prices, Farronato explains.

"Consumers don't always pay a lower price," Farronato says. "What changes is the quality of the listings. You might find a Fifth Avenue apartment or a place by the beach at a more reasonable price than you would if Airbnb wasn't an option. Or a listing might have additional amenities, like a kitchen. And if you still prefer a hotel room, competition from Airbnb means you'll pay a lower price for it."

Airbnb's rapid growth

Airbnb, an online community marketplace where people can list and book short-term lodging accommodations around the world, was founded in 2008 and has grown rapidly at a time when plenty of other industry-disrupting platforms have flourished, including Uber, Craigslist, and Spotify.

Airbnb offers listings in 191 countries, and its total number of listings—4 million-—is higher than the top five major hotel brands combined.

To compare the performance of hotels versus Airbnb, the researchers used hotel data from STR, which tracks more than 161,000 hotels, as well as proprietary data provided by Airbnb, creating "the perfect setup to study market competition between new online platforms and traditional service providers," Farronato says. They studied prices and occupancy rates in 50 major US cities between 2011 and 2014, targeting markets with the largest number of hotels.

During the study period, Airbnb made a relatively small dent in the overall short-term accommodations market. Its rooms represented 4 percent of all guests and less than 1 percent of total housing units across all cities. And Airbnb didn't have much effect on hotel occupancy rates overall. Since Airbnb bookings occurred especially when hotels were already near full capacity, a large share of these bookings—between 40 and 60 percent—would not have been made at hotels if Airbnb wasn't an option.

The San Francisco-based home-sharing platform still made its mark on the hotel industry, however. The researchers found that Airbnb's growth through 2014 reduced hotel variable profits by up to 3.7 percent in the 10 US cities with the largest Airbnb presence.

This effect was particularly strong in cities with limited hotel capacity during peak demand days. On those days, hotel room prices were affected relatively more than occupancy rates, meaning that a hotel in one of these cities might still be fully booked during a peak period, but the competition from Airbnb may have forced the hotel to lower its rates for those rooms.

Airbnb rooms were more plentiful in cities with a big demand for accommodations, as well as areas with higher-priced hotels, like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In other places such as Oklahoma City and Memphis, however, listings were sparse by comparison.

"It's important to note that not all cities are affected by Airbnb," Farronato says. "In Atlanta or Houston, there are enough hotel rooms to satisfy the demand, so peer hosts don't find it attractive to enter the market as much there."

Within each city, more Airbnb rooms cropped up during popular travel periods, such as Christmas and the summer. Sports games, festivals, and other events also led to a spike in listings. In Cambridge, Mass., the biggest listing period came during college graduation time.

And that's the beauty of Airbnb for hosts: They can respond quickly to market conditions, keeping their homes for private use when prices are low and hosting travelers only when the demand for rooms—and the payoff from renting them—is highest.

"As a host, you might not want to risk renting out your place for just $80 a night," Farronato says. "But when the pope comes to Philly, and hotel prices are $200, it becomes worth your while to put your spare room out for rent. Airbnb hosts are in this sweet spot where they can take advantage of only the high-demand periods and stay out of the market at other times."

Hotels fight back

Lodging groups have not taken Airbnb's incursions lightly. Starting in 2016, the American Hotel and Lodging Association backed efforts by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New York to investigate Airbnb's impact on local housing prices, according to The New York Times. The AHLA also launched a campaign to portray Airbnb hosts as being, in reality, commercial operators looking to compete illegally with hotels.

As margin pressure increases from Airbnb properties over time, hotels will be forced to step up the competition even more. The problem: fixed investment costs. The demand for rooms is always fluctuating, but it's not efficient for hotels to build enough capacity to satisfy the peaks, so they are challenged with finding the right middle ground.

"When the pope comes to Philly, and hotel prices are $200, it becomes worth your while to put your spare room out for rent"

"If you have too much capacity, you will have a lot of empty rooms most of the time," Farronato says. "And if you have too little capacity, you won't be able to satisfy the demand, and Airbnb hosts will come in and drive prices down when demand is high."

Farronato said home-sharing platforms are likely to gain even more ground over time as consumers become increasingly aware of their benefits, so it's important for hotels to find creative ways to compete. At the same time, as cities add home-sharing regulations, both the benefits of Airbnb to consumers and hosts, as well as the effects on hotels, will likely become less pronounced.

Just as Airbnb is adding experience packages to its home-rental offerings, so too are hotels such as Marriott International. And maybe hotels could even find ways to alter their building spaces on the fly to accommodate the peaks and valleys of consumer demand.

"You could have rooms that quickly and dynamically change from hotel rooms into conference rooms. So you can have this flexible capacity of rooms that are available on New Year's Eve, but become conference spaces at other times," Farronato says. "It requires a whole new way of designing things. It's all worth thinking about."
Reproduced from Harvard Business Working Knowledge