(Business) Competition as a Cheap Idea Gathering Sources
Since i’m currently studying in post-graduate program (in management), there were some (well, quite many of them) business case competitions. And the topic wideness vary from one to another competition. For example, one that I followed in April, it asked how to improve in almost all aspect (not limited by anything), while for my last 2 competitions, one only asked about ‘what kind of business should we enter in the next 5 years’ (of course you have to give recommendation supported by solid background data) and another one was about finding new distribution channel. In short, they always want the solutions to improve their performance in many aspect, which ultimately able to increase its profit growth (ultimate goal of a business?)
I can tell, the companies in the cases are not ‘small’. They are giants, like JNE, Cipaganti, and Sosro. Yet, maybe they need creative solutions from us as post-graduate students, backed with strong analysis. After all, all we have to do is do some analysis due to current condition of the company. Majority will use SWOT tools to identify this. So, at least, the companies will now see clearer their internal and external factors, that maybe they have the blind spots that until now not recognized by themselves. After that, they will be able to get many ideas from the entering teams. Imagine, if each team contributed to 3 ideas. 50 teams would generate about 150 ideas. Even if the feasible ideas only 10% of it, still it is 15 ideas, right? Compared to the cost they spent (be a sponsor, provide prize money), I think it should be cheaper than consulting fee (hourly rate) from consulting company. At least, if they want to hire consulting companies, they will be able to select from those 15 ideas, and become very detail when they are discussing with the consultant, given that all the general analysis has been done by the competition participants (we will not able to get the detailed data, right? the companies might not like the idea to open all of their source to public, since their competitors will be able to see those too).
This was not a new thing in management practice. But maybe, in the future, there will be a tendency for some companies to permit their problem to be written in research case and ask for solutions from academic practitioner. Remember, they might not use our ideas 100%. Still, at least, they would gathered a lot of ideas for sure in the short time and ‘cheap’ cost.
*honestly, i like this kind of competition, especially if I have many times before the deadline. The data gathering process, the idea brainstorming process, and then writing recommendations in convincing ways is something that you (maybe) never do regularly, right?