- Apr 10, 2015
When Professor Nicole Haggerty took the podium to introduce the first-ever Deloitte Innovation Forum, sponsored by Monitor Deloitte, she was met with cheers and applause. The fifth Learning Through Action event of the year was much anticipated by HBA students.
The challenge was to imagine innovations that Canadian Tire could put into action using its Tested for Life in Canada network, where 15,000 people across the country test Canadian Tire products and provide feedback to the store.
Ivey students were encouraged to imagine new possibilities for the program and not be constrained by what the Canadian retail icon currently does. Innovation was key.
After spending their year learning from cases and participating in classroom discussions, the students were eager to deal with a real life challenge.
The Inspiration – Doblin partner talks innovation
Brian Quinn from Doblin, a firm specializing in innovation and part of Deloitte Consulting, spoke to the HBA students before they began the challenge. He encouraged the students to treat innovation as a discipline, just as they would with finance or marketing.
Quinn discussed Doblin’s Ten Types of Innovation:
- Profit Model – how you make money
- Network – how you connect with others to create value
- Configuration – how you align your talent and assets
- Process – how you use significant or superior methods to do your work
- Product Performance – how you employ distinguishing features and functionality
- Product System – how you create complementary products and services
- Service – how you support and enhance the value of your offerings
- Channel – how you deliver your offerings to customers and users
- Brand – how you represent your offerings and business
- Customer Engagement – how you foster distinctive interactions
After giving his insights, the students left to get to work on completing the task at hand. They only had about 30 hours.
The Competition – 30 hours later two HBA students describe their experience
Groups presented their ideas to their peers and to judges on Friday morning. From there, three teams were awarded for their creative ideas and innovation.
David Ferguson, a member of one of the winning teams, said the structure of the presentations made the competition unique. Judges were allowed to interrupt the student presentations at any given time with questions – and they certainly used this to their advantage.
Ferguson admitted preparing for the spontaneous questions was the biggest challenge, but said they contributed to an important lesson.
“You have to be ready to go talk about anything at any time,” he said. “When you’re communicating, that’s the test. The judges haven’t been sitting in the room with you for the past two days. They just want to get the idea. You have to get right to the point.”
Maggie Zhu and her teammates also placed in the top three. She drew connections between the Innovation Challenge and other group assignments, mainly the 48-hour reports.
“I think that with every 48-hour report, you learn something new,” she said. “What I really took away from this competition, as cheesy as it is, is the innovation aspect. We’ve never really been pushed at any other point in the program to make something out of nothing. For this, there were no case facts, there was no framework. It was all about your imagination."
This was the first year for the Deloitte Innovation Forum, but judging by the quality of the presentations and the students’ excitement, it won’t be the last.