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CASE WINNERS

African Business Cases

Sponsored by China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

'Reel Gardening: Pursuing a Social Mission through Market Mechanisms' written by:

  • Wiboon Kittilaksanawong, Saitama University, JP
  • Marta Paszta, Nagoya University of Commerce & Business, JP

In May 2021, Claire Reid, the founder of social enterprise start-up Reel Gardening, spoke about her ambitious ten-year plan to help secure nutritious food for impoverished people in South Africa and elsewhere in the world. Reel Gardening produced and sold a paper strip packed with seeds and fertilizer. Although the company had grown significantly, it had to manage the dual mission of social contribution and financial sustainability. The company had to determine whether expansion would shift it away from its social mission. Should Reid pursue an ambitious growth strategy, or should she keep the company small, grow it slowly, and focus on the larger social impact? Going forward, how should the company manage its growth, both strategically and financially?

Bringing Technology to Market

Sponsored by EFMD Global 

'Innovate Storytelling: How Webtoon Entertainment Transformed Comics' written by:

  • Renée Mauborgne , INSEAD, FR
  • W.Chan Kim , INSEAD, FR
  • Oh Young Koo , INSEAD, FR

EFMD Global would like to warmly thank The Case Centre for their expertise and contribution in assessing the cases submitted in the 'Bringing Technology to Market' category.

WEBTOON Entertainment is a platform that connects creators and users of digital comic content in a vertical layout format, optimized for PC and mobile browsing. It is not only a hub for digital comics for 82 million monthly active users and 800,000 creators, but also a rich pool of original stories that are being adapted into other media like films, TV shows, and novels. The case explores the key milestones of WEBTOON Entertainment to show how the company transformed the comic book industry and became the world’s largest storytelling platform.

More specifically, it describes how the company unlocked new creative talents and built an ecosystem for webtoon business based on a platform economy, monetized the once-free content into a multi-billion-dollar business, and rolled it out globally despite cultural and language barriers. Finally, the case describes the challenges ahead that WEBTOON Entertainment faces in the lucrative yet competitive digital comics industry.

Continuous Improvement: The Journey to Excellence

Sponsored by EFMD Global

'Cybersecurity at FireEye: Human + AI' written by:

  • Steven Miller, Singapore Management University, SG
  • Lipika Bhattacharya, Singapore Management University, SG

EFMD Global would like to warmly thank The Case Centre for their expertise and contribution in assessing the cases submitted in the 'Continuous Improvement: The Journey to Excellence' category.

This case explores how a multinational cybersecurity firm, FireEye (now called Mandiant), kept pace with the speed of cybersecurity threat changes by using AI-based solutions to provide improved services to its clients. FireEye used a conceptual AI use case framework called the ‘Automatability Spectrum’ to determine the appropriate degree of automation for developing different solutions. Tasks that involved complex decision-making, were more uncertain, and incorporated human verification were augmented with AI while repetitive tasks were fully automated. This Human+AI approach enabled FireEye to both expand and scale its support services.

However, cyber attackers were constantly ‘upping their game’ with rapid technological innovations that were creating new threat exposures, requiring improvements in FireEye AI solutions along different parts of the Automatability Spectrum. The case examines the Human+AI approach, and assesses its benefits, amidst an ever-changing world where continuous improvement in AI solution building is critical in keeping pace with disruption and emerging threats.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Sponsored by ESC PAU Business School

'Back Market and the Global E-Waste Crisis' written by:

  • Syeda Maseeha Qumer, ICFAI, IN

The case explores how e-waste is a complex environmental issue and the role companies like Back Market can play in combating it. Paris based renewed electronics online marketplace Back Market is tackling the e-waste crisis by offering a sustainable alternative to new tech through the creation of an online marketplace specializing in selling professionally refurbished electronic and household appliances at affordable prices to environmentally responsible customers looking to purchase used products. However, the company has been facing some challenges in its fight against e-waste, including building consumer trust in refurbished tech, influencing consumer behaviour in order to make refurbished their first choice for electronic purchases, expanding to new markets and sustaining growth. With e-waste being such a critical issue for the planet as well as for human life, what more can Back Market do to capitalize on its commitment and encourage more consumers to use its refurbished products?

Entrepreneurship

Sponsored by emlyon business school

'ApiYoo: A New Breed of Entrepreneurship' written by:

  • Gao Wang, China Europe International Business School, CN
  • Qiong Zhu, China Europe International Business School, CN
  • Rui Zhang, China Europe International Business School, CN

Is there space for startups in a fully matured market where market incumbents are embroiled in cut-throat competition? And if so, how can new entrants carve out a niche? Through its own experience, ApiYoo has come up with an answer. As a 4-year-old startup in consumer goods, ApiYoo has distinguished itself from others in that while most startups begin by concentrating on just one single brand, ApiYoo established seven brands in different market segments. For every new entry, it has adopted a strategy of appearance differentiation. After four years of development, in 2020, it achieved annual operating revenue of ¥1.2 billion, against its larger ¥10 billion goal for a yearly income by 2025. Although its strategy has borne some fruit, consumers' aesthetic preferences are subjective and volatile. Therefore, it will face challenges in realising an 8-fold growth within five years.

'Twiga – Improving Market Access for Farmers in Kenya' written by:

  • K B S Kumar, ICFAI Business School, IN
  • Indu Perepu, ICFAI Business School, IN

Twiga, founded by entrepreneurs Grant Brooke and Peter Njojo, is a mobile-based B2B tech platform supplying fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers in rural Kenya directly to small and medium-sized vendors and kiosks known as Mama Mobgas, in Nairobi. Twiga aimed to address the issues plaguing the produce supply chain in Kenya by linking the farmers with informal vendors through a cashless mobile technology platform. Twiga supported them with cold storage, warehouses, and an efficient supply chain. In the process, Twiga eliminated the middlemen, minimized post-harvest losses, and lowered the price of the fresh produce; farmers got assured offtake and a better deal for their crop, and vendors got good quality produce delivered to their doorstep. The highly scalable and replicable model of Twiga could hold the answer to the challenges of food insecurity and food inflation.

Family Business

Sponsored by Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut

'Pollo Campero, the Taste of Latin America: Can it Capture the US?' written by:

  • V. Namratha Prasad, ICFAI Business School, IN

The case talks about the growth journey of the world’s largest Latin American (LatAm) chicken chain Pollo Campero (PC) from a small family-run business in Guatemala to a Multilatina company with more than 350 restaurants across the world, as of 2022. The case starts off with a brief history of PC and describes the most important factor in its success – both in LatAm and international markets – its ability to create a feeling of ‘coming home’ in the minds of its customers. Also, its focus on family-style meals, rather than on individual tickets, meant that it got more revenue on each sale.
The case takes an in-depth look into PC’s strategy to move away from the niche Hispanic market in the US chicken QSR market and target the mainstream to have higher growth. Considering that the US is a melting pot of cultures, can PC one day become ‘Americans’ Favorite Fried Chicken Chain’?

FINANCE AND BANKING

Sponsored by Portsmouth Business School

'US Bancorp – Fighting Off Malicious Attacks and Ensuring Business Continuity' written by:

  • V. Namratha Prasad, ICFAI Business School, IN

Malicious attacks and online financial fraud have become numerous and costlier than ever. The case documents the measures taken by US-based banking conglomerate US Bancorp to fend them off and ensure business continuity. It describes, in particular, a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks from an international entity that US Bancorp combatted effectively due to it being well-prepared.
US Bancorp also took measures to prevent the rising instances of identity theft and malware faced by its customers. The case provides an insight into the tools and technologies adopted by the bank to prevent fraud, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and geolocation services. An in-depth look is also taken into the framework for security and control at the bank, including disaster recovery planning and business continuity planning. It remained to be seen if US Bancorp could effectively leverage technology to navigate the ever-changing fraud landscape in the future.

Hidden Champions

Sponsored by EBS Business School

'Coming of Age in Central Asia: BI Group's Quest for Growth' written by:

  • Onajomo Akemu, Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business, KZ
  • Atanu Rakshit, Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business, KZ

Founded as a food trading company in 1995—shortly after the collapse the Soviet Union—BI Group grew to become the largest construction company in Kazakhstan. The company constructs civil infrastructure, such as bridges, residential and commercial real estate in Kazakhstan’s major cities, and iconic architectural landmarks in Kazakhstan’s new capital, Astana. With over $1 billion in revenue, 5,800 employees, a healthy profit margin, a close-knit organizational culture, BI Group had a dominant share in its home market by 2019. In that year, the company was recognized as the 198th (of the top 250) largest construction firms by revenue globally.

Despite this impressive achievement, BI’s Chairman and Founder, Aidyn Rakhimbayev, and his top leadership team realized that BI Group would soon outgrow its home market. In 2019, Rakhimbayev set an ambitious strategic goal for the company: to become one of the top 100 global contractors in the construction industry by 2024. That goal would place BI in the same league as the most sophisticated European, Chinese, American and Japanese global construction firms. To achieve the goal BI’s Group’s had to triple revenues, expand into foreign countries and develop capabilities in the industrial segment of the construction industry.

After reviewing the company’s experience constructing physical assets, Rakhimbayev and his leadership team took stock of the countries BI Group had targeted across the Former Soviet Union. How attractive were these markets? What were the risks to BI Group of expanding abroad? As he pondered these questions, he wondered whether BI should concentrate on the construction business in Kazakhstan or divert resources to opportunities in the European Union? If so, which foreign markets and segments should the company target? And how could he, his board of directors and BI’s top managers manage construction projects successfully in those foreign markets?

Latin American Business Cases

Sponsored by Universidad Externado de Colombia

'Mazatlán: The Destination That Did Not Like Its Brands' written by:

  • Nicolas Kervyn, Université Catholique de Louvain, BE
  • Fernando Rey Castillo Villar, Universidad Panamericana (IPADE), MX
  • Silvestre Flores Gamboa, Universidad Autónoma de Occidente, CO
  • Manuel Lopezneria , Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP), MX
  • Matt Thomson , Ivey Business School , CA

The popular seaside town Mazatlán, in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, has many positive qualities as a tourist destination. However, the city has been plagued by violence and corruption linked to drug cartels and criminal organizations. For example, the Sinaloa Cartel is one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels, with historic and ongoing ties to Mazatlán. In fact, many local taxi drivers have decided to offer so-called “narco-tours,” charging a fee to take tourists to various points of interest where violent criminal activity has occurred. Mazatlán raises a dilemma for marketers of this popular tourist destination—for both positive and negative reasons. With widespread media coverage of crime related to drug cartels, how should marketers manage the town’s brand as a destination and target visitors to grow the Mazatlán’s tourism sector? 

MENA Business Cases

Sponsored by School of Business, The American University in Cairo (AUC)

'TruKKer: The Uberization of Trucking in MENA Region' written by:

  • Trilochan Tripathy, XLRI Jamshedpur, IN
  • Benudhar Sahu, XLRI Jamshedpur, IN

The case is about TruKKer, a UAE-based start-up, founded by Gaurav Biswas to offer tech-driven organized logistics services in the fragmented land freight market in the MENA region. The case examines how end-to-end digitization along with AI and ML tools in the aforesaid market spurred TruKKer’s growth, innovation, and competitive advantage in the MENA region. It offers detailed insights into TruKKer’s innovation-led land freight solutions and its mission to optimize logistics and fleet management in the land freight market. TruKKer’s home-base competitive advantage in MENA region intertwined with asset-light business model, technology, and third-party logistics solutions created value for diverse stakeholders, which could be subject matter of discussion in the strategic management curriculum of MBA and EMBA program.

Responsible Business

Sponsored by School of Business, The American University in Cairo (AUC)

'MITTI Café: enabling disability inclusion in India through scalable business model' written by:

  • Amy Moore, Gordon Institute of Business Science, ZA
  • Tracey Toefy, Gordon Institute of Business Science, ZA

The case explores the development of MITTI Café, an organisation that trains and employs individuals with intellectual, physical and/or psychiatric disabilities to work in inclusive kitchens and cafes in India. The protagonist is the founder of the café, Alina Alam, who has won several international awards for her work. The case highlights Alam’s approach and how she is trying to challenge societal and business perspectives relating to disability. From 2017 – 2021 Alam has scaled and operationalised the business, building her core team, leveraging several partnerships with stakeholders and putting into place offerings, processes and procedures that created a sustainable business model and blueprint.

MITTI Café aligns itself with several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with sustainability and social impact at the core of its strategy. It ends with Alam considering the future and what else needs to be taken into consideration to scale either within India or abroad.

Responsible Leadership

Sponsored by University of San Diego School of Business

'“Carbon is the new calorie”: Logitech’s carbon impact label to drive transparency in sustainability' written by:

  • Julia Binder, IMD - International Institute for Management Development, CH
  • Heather Cairns-Lee, IMD - International Institute for Management Development, CH

This case focuses on Logitech, a leading tech company that demonstrates a commitment to responsible leadership and sustainability. The case follows the journey of Prakash Arunkundrum, Head of Global Operations and Sustainability, and his team as they embark on an ambitious carbon labeling initiative to support Logitech’s aspiration to become climate positive. The team creates a transparent methodology for assessing, validating, and communicating the life cycle carbon value of their products. However, the most significant challenge they face is gaining industry-wide adoption of carbon labeling in the tech sector. The case highlights the multifaceted nature of realizing ambitious sustainability goals, involving multiple stakeholders, and the difficulties in building strong partnerships. It underscores the critical importance of responsible leadership, gaining internal support and driving meaningful change. Overall, this case serves as an inspiring example of how companies can prioritize responsible business practices and make a significant impact on our planet and society.

Women in Business

Sponsored by The Erasmus Centre for Women and Organisations (ECWO)

'Aspiration, Action, Determination: Zhu Jing, Founder of Sunkwan Group' written by:

  • Jean Lee, China Europe International Business School, CN
  • Xin Zheng, China Europe International Business School, CN
  • Liman Zhao, China Europe International Business School, CN

The case presents the challenges that Zhu Jing faces as a female entrepreneur in the real estate industry and how she has addressed them. In the past years, she has been focusing on improving product capabilities to win fair returns from the market and simultaneously making up for weak resources and capabilities with cooperation. Empathy, trust, empowerment, and other features of Zhu’s leadership and the company’s business philosophy give birth to a united executive team. However, China’s real estate industry has experienced dramatic changes since June 2021. Sunkwan re-designed a reward and punishment system for all executive members to overcome the challenges and motivate the team for better performance. The 2021 performance, however, fell short of expectations and Zhu hesitated on whether to punish executives according to the rules or administer a light punishment. The decision mirrors Zhu’s traits and leadership style as a female entrepreneur.

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