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Departments Open for Collaboration
Growth StrategyFor your reference, we've included some sample project ideas below. We encourage educators to mix-and-match components from various departments so that the projects are cross functional in nature. In all cases, we customize the projects based on company goals and course teaching objectives.
Growth Plan and KPI Performance Assessment
- How has the business evolved over time? How does the team feel about the past, present, and future of the business?
- What key metrics does the company use to run the business and make key strategic decisions? How are these calculated? What does the company envision for the future for each metric? Does that seem to align with management expectations?
- What are some key concerns and areas of focus that the host company should consider when preparing for the future of the business?
Industry Benchmarking Assessment
- Who are the biggest competitors and how do they stack up against the company's model? Do a SWOT assessment.
- Do any companies present interesting opportunities for partnerships? What about potential mergers and acquisitions?
- Who are the key thought leaders and media outlets in the space? What are they publishing and how do they interact with companies like yours?
- Design a comprehensive industry overview report. Pay close attention to the key players, their growth trajectory, and the major regions where they find the most success.
Customer Retention & Growth
- How well does the company address customer needs from a product and service perspective? Do their customers seem happy with their purchase?
- What’s the general customer perception of the company’s brand?
- How large are the largest accounts compared to the smaller accounts? What makes the difference between these two contract-types?
- What percentage of accounts can scale to becoming 50-200% larger? Does the company seem positioned to scale?
Establish Company Goals & Projections
- Analyze the company’s growth plan. What areas of the business seem most opportunistic and/or concerning? Consider their growth plan and existing traction.
- How does the company today compare to the company months and/or years ago?
- What does the company want to look like in the future?
- What are the KPIs and how well well do they tie to your assessment of company performance in strategic areas?
- How do you think the KPIs will change as the business scales?
We've included some sample project ideas below. We encourage users to mix-and-match components from various departments for the best cross functional project experience. In all cases, we customize the projects based on company goals and student learning objectives.
Industry Marketing Benchmarking Analysis
- What is the company's target demographic, product, and business model?
- What is the customer’s problem and how the company's product or service is solving that problem?
- How would you compare the company's products with the rest of the providers in the industry? Pay close attention to how other companies are marketing their products and positioning the brands.
- How would you compare the company’s marketing performance to competitors?
- What improvements would you recommend based on your assessment?
- Marketing Strategy Impact Analysis
- Examine the company's past marketing strategies. What worked? What did not? How would you showcase progress over time?
- Compile data into a visualization to track trends of successful and less successful strategies.
- Compare the company's marketing tactics with competitors to showcase what works effectively - or not effectively - with certain customer demographics
- What other marketing strategies could be used to benefit the company?
- What technologies could be involved in different marketing strategies? How can you use them most effectively? How would you measure success?
Marketing Strategy Development
- What are the company's past marketing strategies? What worked? What did not? How would you showcase progress over time?
- What is the customer’s perception of the company’s brand, product, and services?
- Propose 2-3 digital, experiential, or social, marketing strategies for the company to consider. Assess cost, reach, mediums, and any other components needed for a full understanding of this investment.
- Select one campaign and develop a road-map that will prepare the company to launch your campaign. Keep in mind timing, required resources (budget, people, etc.), projected results, and how you would measure ROI.
Customer Brand Perception Analysis
- Does the company assess their brand perception at all? If so, what do you find interesting about the process or findings?
- Conduct structured customer interviews to gain a better understanding of their customers’ preferences, purchasing habits, and decision-making processes. Consider: Demographics, Discovery Channels, and their Product Aptitude
- Suggest a new effective process to collect more customer data on brand perception and customer experience.
Marketing Mix Assessment & Recommendations
- Consider a 360 marketing approach when deciding the appropriate channels to utilize. What is the current marketing mix for the company? Analyze where the company spends the most and where the company performs bests.
- Propose an alternative marketing mix for the company that you think will work best for the product, industry, and customer type. Where should the company allocate resources to generate better performance? Consider paid advertising, social, display, content, guerrilla , experiential, affiliate, partnerships, etc.
- What are the costs and benefits of using your strategy? What are the key risks and costs? Compare these risks with potential reach and benefit.
Analyze and Suggest Improvements for Internal Communication and Tools
- Investigate current ways the company’s team is communicating internally. How active is the company from a communication standpoint? What suite of tools are they using? How well are these tools integrated with one another? Consider: calendar, chat, email, and project management at the very minimum.
- Does the team seem to be using all of the same tools and doing so effectively? How do these tools compare to similar tools on the market? How do these tools affect productivity and employee satisfaction? Note: This assignment requires interviews and surveys of significant internal stakeholders at the company.
- Is there a cheat sheet when it comes to communication and project management at the company? If so, review the manual and provide recommendations on updates based on what you’ve learned from the company personnel. If not, produce a rough draft of the manual or cheat sheet and review it with your project managers.
- Provide the company with a proposal including the analysis of the status quo of communication in the company and thoroughly examine recommendations for future improvement.
Automation Assessment & Recommendations
- What suite of tools is the company currently using? How well are these tools integrated with one another?
- How can the company be better automating certain processes to improve productivity?
- Find 2-3 areas that could use automation.
- Select one area of potential automation to focus on. Build automation or suggest step-by-step process of how automation can accomplish the desired business objective. How would this automation save money and/or time for the business?
Cross Functional Departmental Cooperation Assessment & Recommendations
- What are the different functional areas?
- How do they interact with each other?
- What improvements could you recommend to improve internal interdepartmental communication? Think standing meetings, internal newsletters, new checklists, and other mechanisms that might help improve cross functional department collaborations.
Logistics & Supply Chain
Raw Materials Audit
- What raw materials are being used? Where are they getting the raw materials? How is the relationship with these suppliers? How do current key stakeholders feel about these raw materials and/or suppliers?
- What is the cost of raw materials? How does this compare with other suppliers?
- Explore potential new raw materials providers. Do any of them present potential benefits for the company (improved quality or reduced cost)?
Manufacturing to Distribution Process Mapping & Improvements
- How does the company get their products to distributors?
- How is the company currently manufacturing the products?
- What is the process of preparing the final goods for distribution?
- How does the distribution system work? How long does it take to get from destination to destination?
- Can any of this be automated or optimized? This about increasing efficiency and/or reducing costs.
Distribution System Testing
- How does the company distribute their products?
- How reliable are the distributors?
- How far-reaching are these distributors?
- Are there better potential distributors? What about potential new distributor relationships?
New Distribution Partner Assessments
- Understand the current distribution partner relationships. Map out how products get to end customers and in what quantities.
- Assess potential new markets for the product. What regions seem the most appealing? Why? Select one region and make the case why this is the most ideal region to enter.
- What distribution partners would be able to help you reach your selected region? What other products are they distributing?
- How does entering this new region impact revenues and costs?
Research & Development
- How much information does the company have on the market? What about their target audience and customers? Use this information to get up-to-speed on the business.
- What does the competitive environment look like? How would you benchmark your company against competitors? What are your competitors’ current market advantages, weaknesses? Create a competitor research reports including products, pricing, market share, and marketing tactics.
- Create a broader industry and market environment research report, which includes: market size and trends, market demographics (e.g. age, gender, income), regulatory landscape, marketing channels and strategies, and sociographics (e.g. beliefs and attitudes, interests, lifestyle factors)
- Who your current customers? How well does this align with the company’s defined target audience? Who are the potential customers? What, when, where and how do they buy your products?
- What strategies does the company currently use to attract new customers? To what extent are these strategies effective? What other strategies could the company use to attract more potential customers? Why do you think your new strategies would be effective?
- Create a customer research report including customer demographics, social and lifestyle trends, needs and expectations, attitude towards you and your competitors.
Product Development & Updates
- What existing products does the company offer? How satisfied are current customers with the current product offerings?
- What improvements could be made to existing products? How would you suggest updating current products to meet existing and potential customers’ needs?
- What new products does the company have on the horizon? Do you expect that these products will meet customers’ demands? What are the product guidelines and regulatory specifications that need to be followed while developing the new product?
- Can you project how well products will fair in the market? Does this align with management expectations? Why or why not?
Business Innovation Assessment
- How has your company improved over time?
- What are key ways for the company to improve overall performance?
- How might you be able to reduce expenses and/or increase revenues?
- How will expanding affect current operations? Do you have a reliable operations (think HR, implementation, and operations)?
- How would you compare your performance with competitors?
- What KPIs is the company tracking? How does the growth plan address these KPIs?
Company Talent Skills Mapping
- Get up-to-speed on the business model and organizational chart.
- How does the company manage talent? What’s the on-boarding process? How well is the company able to retain talent?
- How satisfied are employees with the current organizational structure?
- What crucial skills are required for each department/function? How do these departments link with other departments? Do they lend/share skills in between parts of the organization? Can this be done more efficiently or effectively?
Organizational Vision, Values, and Goals Temperature Check
- Get up-to-speed on the current business model and organizational structure.
- Does the company seem to have a clear organizational vision, mission, and goals? How does this differ when speaking to folks in different departments that are at different levels within the organization?
- How does the organization come up with the vision, values, and goals? How does management share this vision with the rest of the organization? Is this an effective process?
- Is there a way to measure progress when it comes to adoption of organizational vision, mission, and values?
Talent Management Troubleshooting
- Get up-to-speed on the current business model and organizational structure.
- Interview key stakeholders and learn more about strengths and weaknesses of the current organizational set-up. Be sure to assess whether the organization has addressed any of these challenges previously.
- Synthesize data and distill challenges to 2-3 concrete challenge statements that need to be addressed by management. Why do you feel these are the most important based on your research?
- How can the organization address these challenges? Are there specific tools or tactics that might be able to help?
- Get up-to-speed on the current business model and organizational structure. Where is the company most productive? Where is the company struggling?
- What are the main challenges that exist for struggling parts of the business? How far are they from meeting expectations?
- What is the final level of output that is needed?
- Map the output gaps.
- Map the inputs and processes that will be needed to achieve the desired outcomes.
Recruiting Process Assessment
- How does the company recruit talent?
- What process does the company use to funnel talent into the business?
- What tools are most/least effective? How much does the company pay for those tools? Can you measure the ROI?
- What tools could the company be using more efficiently? Are there other tools or best practices that you’d recommend the company adopts? How would this impact the current process? How much would it cost and how would you measure the impact?
Training & Development Program Creation
- Get up-to-speed on the current business model and organizational structure and identify a key function that has room for improvement in terms of process and/or technology.
- Get up-to-speed on the company’s current training and development tools and tactics.
- How does the department need to be trained? Can you repurpose some of the existing tools or structure for the training or will you need new materials?
- How will you measure success of your training?