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CASE WINNERS 2018
African Business Cases
sponsored by China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)
VITALITE Zambia Ltd: The intersection of solar energy technology and mobile money in Zambia
(case A & B), written by:
- Vimendree Perumal, UCT Graduate School of Business
- Peter Munthali, UCT Graduate School of Business
- Ralph Hamann, UCT Graduate School of Business
- John Fay, Vitalite
- Sarah Boyd, UCT Graduate School of Business
This case follows a social enterprise that provides solar energy solutions to bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) households in rural Zambia. In the months after the launch of their flagship solar household system (SHS) product in 2015, the small startup faces challenges with the payment and distribution elements of its business model. Together, the key decision makers propose different strategies for addressing these issues and scaling the business, with particular emphasis placed on the option of introducing mobile payment options. Part B of the case finds the team nearly three years later to summarise the methods of business model innovation (BMI) taken by VITALITE in response to the challenges from Part A, which include product innovation and communications strategy.
Bringing Technology to Market
sponsored by ESMT Berlin
Evaluating the Cognitive Analytics Frontier, written by:
- Adam Pah, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
- Alanna Lazarowich, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
Popular press frequently focuses on tech giants or start-ups when they discuss machine-learning, cognitive analytics, and artificial intelligence, but our desire was to write a case that demonstrated the possible impact of this new technology at established businesses in established industries. The case brings forth numerous possible paths, pursuing a low-risk traditional or a high-risk technological solution, and partners, low-risk Fortune 500 or start-up companies, that the protagonist must consider as he decides what form the solution should take and how it should be implemented. We hope that this case helps students understand how to evaluate technical change and how to implement it with partners as they move forward in their careers and innovate at organizations in all industries.
Continuous Improvement: The Journey to Excellence
SEAT: Achieving excellence in production and quality, written by:
- Cristina Giménez Thomse, ESADE Business School
- Cristina Sancha, OBS Business School
- Susanna Salvador-Iborra, ESADE Business School
“SEAT: Achieving excellence in production and quality” aims to make students reflect on lean manufacturing beyond its tools or techniques. In fact, the objective of the case is to demonstrate students the importance of soft aspects, such as team alignment, in the lean manufacturing strategy.
Corporate Social Responsibility
sponsored by ESC PAU Business School
Tata Motors (A): A History of Service in a New Era of Corporate Social Responsibility - Tata Motors (B): More from Less for More, written by:
- Craig Smith, INSEAD
- Erin McCormick, freelance
This case tells the story of India’s fascinating experiment in mandating corporate social responsibility and how one company has responded. Tata companies have been committed to corporate social responsibility for over 150 years; Tata Motors Ltd. is no exception. Nonetheless, the new law helps prompt substantial changes in what it does on CSR.
sponsored by EMLyon Business School
The Carrot Rewards Wellness App: Innovating in the Behaviour Change Market, written by:
- Pierre Chandon, INSEAD
- Shilaan Alzahawi, Stanford University Graduate School of Business
With competition from more than 150,000 health and wellness apps, how can serial social entrepreneur Andreas Souvaliotis nudge people to walk more or learn about nutrition or personal finance: B2B or B2C? Free or freemium? Alone or in collaboration? And who is going to pay to reward these inherently worthy but non-commercial behaviors? For more information about the case, please visit https://cases.insead.edu/carrot-rewards/.
The case analyzes the decisions that a Spanish SME that develops video games must make regarding business models and its pricing strategy. Questions are raised by the company about the launch of the “Mafia Business School App” when comparing it to three games made by the same company that are already on the market. Each one has a totally different business model: “Language Challenge,” “Microsiervos Quiz,” and “Desafío Maldini.” It also has to do with the situation of the mobile app and games market, as well as its evolution.
Yes Bank – The Case of Unrecognized Promoter, written by:
- Pooja Gupta, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management-Bengaluru
- Semila Fernandes, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management-Bengaluru
The case revolves around the ongoing power struggle in Yes Bank between the two promoter families. Mr. Rana Kapoor, co-founder of the bank and currently the Managing Director and CEO of Yes Bank who holds 13.72% shares in the bank is on one side of this dispute. On the other side is his sister-in-law, Madhu Kapur (wife of late Mr. Ashok Kapur) who owns 12% of the shares. Yes Bank was incorporated in 2004 by Rana Kapoor and Late Ashok Kapur, and was set up as a new age private sector bank. The dispute started after the death of Ashok Kapur in the terrorist attack on 26th November, 2008. Madhu Kapur and her family believe that as promoter shareholder they have an equal right to nominate members for the board of directors and have proposed their names on various occasions. The court in its judgement has upheld the rights of Madhu Kapur and her family in having a say in appointment of independent directors.
This case describes how an intrapreneur helped Credit Suisse launch a commercially viable impact investing business in Asia. It specifically details the investment strategy and process for a new impact fund aligning social impact objectives with commercial goals of the bank. It also presents two new investment opportunities needing evaluation.
For&From is a unique store chain launched by some of Inditex’ brands in partnership with social organizations, through a franchising model. The partnership sought to create a support ecosystem for people with special needs, so that they would receive training in retail, gain experience and strengthen their self-esteem.
Indian Management Issues and Opportunities
sponsored by Curtin Business School
Turning sand into gold – Service Transformation – A Case of Delhi International Airport, written by:
- Gandhali Divekar, Parigha Research and Consultancy
- Prachee Javadekar, Parigha Research and Consultancy
- D.V.R. Seshadri, Indian School of Business
“Turning sand into gold” is the case of Delhi International Airport’s Transformation from the poorly serviced airport to the Airport of service excellence. Delhi International Airport is the first Indian airport to be listed in the world’s best airports. Case covers the airport development time line from the year 2007 to 2016. It discusses the challenges faced by GMR Team to transform the mundane airport service to the holistic service experience for the passengers.
This case narrates how the protagonist GM Rao, Chairman GMR Group leaded this transformation to create the airport of world class service standards. Delhi International Airport is the first airport venture under Public Private Partnership Policy, by Government of India. Hence, it made extremely challenging for GMR team to bring in Customer centric service approach / mindset, customer service culture amongst the various service providers in the value chain which also includes the government agencies. So, the other objective of this case is to elaborate responsibility and mindset of the multiple stakeholders in creating ‘The Service Experience’ for the customers.
This case is based on Experience economy principles with the backdrop of emerging policy model and socioeconomic diversity in India. It helps us to understand how the leader, Mr GM Rao with his team-built service transformation strategy which is a combination of the airport Policies, Processes and People as the part of the organization design (the organization’s physiology and anatomy). And the rituals, actions and pride as part of the organization structure, values and symbols which are embedded in the employees’ heart (the organization’s psychology).
Latin American Business Cases
sponsored by Universidad Externado de Colombia
LATAM: A Latin American Airline’s Emergence as a Global Player, written by:
- Syeda Maseeha Qumer, ICFAI
- Debapratim Purkayastha, ICFAI
The case discusses the emergence of LATAM Airlines as a leading airline in Latin America after a historic cross-border merger between Chile’s LAN and Brazil’s TAM airlines. The merger of LAN and TAM was one of the most significant developments in the history of Latin American aviation as the association created one of the largest airline groups in the world in terms of network connections, providing passenger transport services to about 135 destinations in 24 countries.
The case describes the trends in the Latin American aviation industry and the rationale behind the merger. The merger enabled the Chilean carrier LAN to realize its long-held dream of gaining entry into the vast and rapidly growing Brazilian air travel market. On the other hand, for TAM which had been struggling with falling profits, the merger helped in placing it on a solid footing and provided access to more profitable long-haul flights. The case discusses the perceived synergies to both the airlines from the merger and how the merger was expected to propel LATAM to the list of the top fifteen air carriers in the world, a first for a Latin American airline.
The case goes on to discuss the problems faced by LATAM post-merger and the possible challenges the airline could face going forward as high fuel prices, currency fluctuations, and aggressive competition continue to haunt the group. Some key challenges before Enrique Cueto, CEO of LATAM, were how to ensure that the merged entity achieved the projected synergies, weathered potential obstacles, and emerged as a dominant player in the global aviation sector.SHORT CASE SUMMARY
The case discusses the globalization of fashion and the trajectory of Fashion Forward Dubai. Since its inception in 2013, FFWD had striven to offer an alternative to traditional fashion weeks by showcasing collections of local designers to fashion buyers, journalists and customers on the catwalk and on internet. Over 15,000 attendees came to the show and more than 100,000 followed it online. In 2018, FFWD’s co-founder, Ramzi Nakad, has to decide whether to continue the B2B+B2C event showcasing emerging brands in Dubai Design District, or create a digital fashion platform to sell direct-to-customers and give brands instant international exposure and access to e-commerce without the high costs of runway shows. The case asks to what extent the global fashion industry is ripe for digital disruption.
Google and Project Maven – (A) Big Tech, Government and the AI Arms Race – (B) An Eventful Week in June, written by:
- Gianpiero Petriglieri, INSEAD
- Jaimie Stettin, The Business Romantic Society
In April 2018, after it became known that Google was collaborating with the US Department of Defense (DoD) on Project Maven, over 3,000 Google employees signed an internal memo addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai asking him to (a) cancel the project immediately, and (b) enforce a policy stating that the company would never build warfare technology. At the time, the DoD was ramping up collaboration with tech companies on the advice of a newly formed Innovation Board that included Silicon Valley executives. Drones, robots and AI were increasingly deployed in intelligence and combat operations. The battle for supremacy in AI research and application was considered a 21st century “arms race.”
The details of Google’s participation in Project Maven were not clear, but the company repeatedly described its role as “non-offensive.” The project involved developing AI to assist in the analysis of video footage captured by surveillance drones, making it more efficient and accurate. Neverthless, visual recognition had the potential to digitally assist—if not automate—drones’ capabilities to verify the identity of targets. Google, which was shifting its focus and investment towards AI, was considered one of the global leaders in the field. The employees who signed the memo argued that its involvement in Project Maven might hurt its reputation and ability to attract talent at a time when public trust in technology was waning, and suggested that developing military technology was at odds with the company’s original motto “Do no evil.”
Case (A) put students in the shoes of a recent Google hire faced with the choice of signing the memo, and invites them to consider how they would respond as the CEO of a company to a petition against one of the company’s contracts. Case (B) documents the internal debate and Google’s response, and invites students to ask whether the company did “the right thing” in the words of its new motto. The case can be used with MBA and executive audiences. The purpose is not necessarily to debate the merits of collaboration between private and public sector, but rather for students to reflect—as citizens and leaders of companies and society—on the opportunities and obligations that come with both. More and more companies attract talent with the promise of work that has personal meaning and allows people to make a positive difference. Once they do, nothing is “just business.” The case offers an opportunity to explore the relationship between business and government, the responsibility of a global organization and of its leaders, and the expression, encouragement, and management of debate and dissent.
The case discusses the global food processing giant Nestle's problems relating to modern slavery in its cocoa supply chain. The company faced allegations of using child labor in its cocoa supply chain in Ivory Coast and was also accused of failing to disclose this to customers at the point of sale. Some critics argued that Nestle was not doing enough and was not being transparent enough in its efforts to eliminate child labor within its global cocoa supply chain. However, in a rare disclosure, Nestlé reported in 2015 that it had uncovered forced labor in its seafood supply chain in Thailand. Magdi Batato (Batato) Executive Vice President and Head of Operations at Nestle said that the company was committed to preventing and eliminating child labor in its supply chain. Analysts wondered whether Nestle's admission of slavery was honest or was just an attempt to fend off child labor allegations in other parts of its business and bring consumers onside. The case explores how modern slavery is a complex supply chain issue for Nestle and why it needs to be addressed. Though Nestle had implemented an action plan to combat slavery within its supply chain, the obnoxious practice still permeated West African cocoa farms, and was in fact on the rise. Nestle had tried to maintain ethical and environmental standards within its supply chain but how well these initiatives matched up to the challenges of modern slavery was still questioned by its critics. According to them child labor in Nestle's cocoa supply chain was a complex issue and gathering reliable evidence about what was happening on the ground would not only be vital, but also challenging for Batato. Given its global scale and influence, can Nestle play a crucial role in eliminating slavery from the global cocoa supply chain? Can Batato lead the company's ongoing commitment to tackle slavery? Can its commitment go far enough to enact change and put an end to modern slavery in the global cocoa industry? How?
Hema case series is special in that it can help students think strategically about business model innovations, as well as explore how data and technologies can drive these innovations. Case (A) illustrates the formation and evolution of Hema’s integrated online and offline business model in the Chinese retail market. Case (B) focuses on the data and technology drivers behind the company’s business model. Defects had appeared, one after another, in the evolution of Hema’s business model. Therefore, it needed to make decisions on the following questions: Should efforts be made, simultaneously, on business model exploration and business expansion; or should priority be given to first overcoming the shortcomings and improving the business model? With the arrival of the 5G era, how should Hema leverage emerging technologies to evolve into a more sustainable and profitable platform?
Dalmia Bharat Foundation had been using a variety of metrics for measuring water harvested and water used by the company. The Foundation required a measure that valued water in financial terms to help justify the foundation’s targets and funding. The case explores the possible use of the metric Social Return on Investmentas a tool for measurement and investment decisions.
The case “The Greater Manchester Waste Development Authority – Challenges in Sustainable Waste Management” is highly relevant to the present-day students, as the cities across the world are facing a major problem in managing waste sustainably. The case rightly brings out different perspectives of urban waste management, building necessary networks, and challenges faced in implementing the plan. Of particular interest to the students and practitioners was the circular economy and the Modus Operandi encompassing maintenance, repair, reuse, recycle was designed to contribute to its mission of waste management.