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Case Studies by Anne-Marie Carrick

53 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 25 Sep 2017

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Abstract:
This is a condensed version of the cases EBX Group (A): Eike Batista and the X-Factor/EBX Group (B): Autopsy of a failure. It describes the boom and bust of the EBX Group and its founder, Eike Batista. The first part traces the history of the Brazilian conglomerate from its origins as a small gold-mining operation in the early 1980s to 2012 when it has become a diversified national and global player in multiple industries. It examines Batista’s personal drive, motivations and choices, and how these influenced the strategy deployed by the company. Known for his huge ‘risk appetite’, Batista had an extraordinary ability to exploit gaps in the market when starting new businesses. The second part of the case recounts the “historic” downfall of the ‘X Empire’ which was of a magnitude and speed never seen before in the history. Batista’s personal net worth of US$30 billion – making him the seventh wealthiest person in the world and the richest in Brazil – had plummeted to US$200 million as debts piled up and the stock price went into freefall. In January 2014, Bloomberg reported that Batista had “a negative net worth”.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case illustrates and explains the following: 1. The assets and liabilities of one of the world’s largest emerging markets – Brazil. 2. The concept of ‘institutional voids’ in emerging markets, and how companies both overcome and capitalize on these to create distinct value. 3. How business groups are formed and add value in emerging markets. 4. The challenges of making the transition from an entrepreneurial business to an operational one. 5. The concept of organizational ambidexterity – how firms need to be both entrepreneurial and innovative as well as operationally efficient – the ability to both exploit and explore. 6. Diseconomies of time compression

Keywords:
Mining, Oil & Gas, Diversified Conglomerates, Emerging Markets, Brazil, Institutional Voids, Entrepreneurship, South America

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published: 31 Aug 2017

  • Topic: Operations
  • Industry: Computer industry, Retail
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
On 15 May 2001, the first Apple retail store was opened to the public at Tysons Corner, Virginia, and the same day a second store was opened in Glendale, California. With retail branded experiences virtually unknown in the industry at the time, the decision to launch the Apple retail programme was greeted with scepticism. However, within the first week they welcomed 7,700 visitors, with sales of almost $600,000 – testimony to its undoubtable success – and went on to roll out another 24 stores.
Fifteen years on, there are over 450 Apple stores globally, with higher sales per square foot – $5009 – than any other retail location in the United States. Even today, people still wonder what made them so successful and how it can be replicated.
Having successfully designed a brand-defining experience for Apple retail that created immense value, Eight Inc. had to decide how this level of success could be replicated for other potential clients. The case describes the relationship between Apple and Eight Inc., who were initially hired by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to work on first the MacWorld tradeshows. It traces the steps in the process, from establishing the case to each minute detail in the design process. The case describes how the team built not just a store but a breakthrough branded customer experience.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. To introduce and analyse a framework to design branded experiences. The case shows how designing a (retail) branded experience is different from designing a space or designing a service, and supersedes the latter. It also shows the business value that can be created through branded experiences.
2. The role of brand values in guiding the design principles for all the elements that contribute to the user experience. Understanding what those brand values are and how they are perceived by the target user is crucial in the design process.
3. A branded experience is the engagement of the user with the brand through the products/services, communication messages, the staff (and other users) behaviours, and the physical (and digital) space. The management of the experience design process requires an approach that combines modular and integrative principles. While the design of products/services, communication, behaviours and space are typically done separately by different disciplines, the integration of all these elements must be considered throughout the process so that they combine to create a holistic experience.
The design of the Apple retail stores was not just an example of a good experience design, it was a breakthrough in the computer, technology and retail space. This provides a rich context to discuss the key success factors behind creating an outstanding branded user experience. One was the level of deep and detailed involvement of top-level management throughout the process, critical in defining the brand values that guided the rest of the design process and enabling the team to push the boundaries.

Keywords:
Innovation, Design, Retail, Experience Design, Computing Industry, Organizational Transformation

published: 24 Jul 2017

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Industrial manufacturing
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
The case describes General Electric’s transformation from an industrial manufacturer to an industrial analytics giant. It opens in 2009 when CEO Jeff Immelt decides that GE, a hardware maker, needs to be more capable in software. The narrative traces his early efforts to consolidate and coordinate software capabilities in a central unit (GE Software Center) headed by Bill Ruh in Silicon Valley. It documents the realization of the potential for big data and analytics for customers to which GE has sold industrial equipment for decades. Opportunities related to ‘predictive maintenance’ seem attractive given the significant economic costs of unplanned maintenance and repair for GE customers. Equipment optimization through analytics also has potential to increase their margins, especially for those that face increased competition and lack pricing power. As GE roars down the runway to becoming the leading player in the digitization of industry,the question is can it reach the critical speed to break free of the tarmac and sustain flight?

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case examines the general market for and growth of industrial analytics and what in Europe is called Industrie 4.0 (or the fourth industrial revolution) - as well as what it requires in terms of both financial and human capital investment. It invites participants to assess some of the early moves of arguably one of the biggest first-movers in the game, and through this analysis gain an enhanced idea of what actions directly impact digitization’s success. Since GE’s journey has only just begun, they are asked to contemplate how to get started in industrial analytics, and then how to sustain success.

Keywords:
Industrial Internet, Internet of Things, Smart Factory, Digital Transformation, Analytics, Industrial Manufacturing

published: 24 Jul 2017

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Explosives, Chemical, Mining
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
In March 2015, Alberto Calderon was appointed Managing Director and CEO of Orica, the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil, gas, and construction markets.
The company had been performing badly, with the stock price down and reported losses, even before the recent mining industry downturn. A major asset write-down was needed after the disappointing 2006 acquisition of the ground services business Minova. After cutting costs to restore profitability, Calderon determines that Orica must be strategically repositioned from the largest supplier to the “trusted partner of choice”.
The new positioning holds out some prospect of profitable growth, but simply announcing the intent will not make it happen. The CEO must convey the need to change as well as the rationale for the new positioning, which is so different from the past that new capabilities and new leaders are required. How can he achieve this transformation in the midst of a mining industry downturn when its steel-making customers have over a decade’s worth of excess capacity?

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case is designed to help participants appreciate the challenges of pursuing the strategic repositioning from supplier to partner, of getting management and employees to understand and embrace transformation, and determining and executing the key actions necessary to instil the capabilities and skills required to achieve the vision.

Keywords:
Strategic Transformation, Mining Industry, Chemical Industry, Cultural Change, Restructuring, Leadership

published: 24 Jul 2017

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Abstract:
The Swiss company TAG Heuer, maker of luxury watches, is part of the LVMH group (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton). In 2015, CEO Jean-Claude Biver is deciding whether to launch its first-ever fully connected Swiss watch, manufactured in partnership with Google and Intel. Entering this new market presents an unprecedented challenge: making a watch based on a technology (microprocessors) that the Swiss have not mastered. Is Tag Heuer ready to compete in the digital space - and potentially without the traditional 'Swiss Made' label? Case B takes up the story following the successful launch of the TAG Heuer connected watch. Sales are beyond all expectations for the luxury Swiss watchmaker and its partners Intel and Google. There are a few surprises too – the consumers are older than they expected and the watches sell out far quicker than anticipated – hence the company runs into some supply chain issues.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
To learn how a nation achieves international success in a specific industry and how multinational corporations enable the emergence of clusters and benefit from them. In particular, how the Swiss luxury watch industry (in particular TAG Heuer) reacted and dealt with the challenge from connected watches such as the Apple Watch. Four key issues are addressed: 1. The importance of the 'Swiss Made' label for this market. 2. How to make a connected watch 'eternal' in the spirit of traditional mechanical watches. 3. How TAG Heuer prepared for a profound digital transformation by learning from the technology cluster in Silicon Valley (locating a team of engineers there and managing the partnership with Google and Intel). 4. How a company dealt with digital disruption in a conservative industry – Swiss watchmaking. 5. How multinationals identify technology in other clusters – “technology scouting” - and set up relevant processes.

Keywords:
Watches, Luxury, Wearables, Connected Watches, Digital Transformation, Google, Intel, Clusters, Jean-Claude Biver, Global Strategy, Digital Disruption, Apple Watch, Swissmade, Silicon Valley, Switzerland

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published: 29 May 2017

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Abstract:
In 2011, Partners Group is nearing the end of a year-long quest for a new mandate from a European pension fund, Future Plan. The fund has struggled with its 6-year old PE programme, consistently falling short of its target allocation to the asset class and generating poor returns, seemingly always one step behind the opportunity in the market. Future Plan has built its PE programme by investing in closed-end funds of PE products managed by two executives, one focused on European markets, the other on global markets. But the fallout from the global economic crisis wreaked havoc with Future Plan’s PE programme and something has to change. With an interest in expanding its PE activity to include secondary and direct investment strategies, Future Plan begins a manager search process with one goal in mind: to achieve the target return to the asset class by 2014. The case charts Partners Group’s role in the selection process and how its expertise and services, along with a novel holding structure, offer a way to achieve Future Plan’s goals.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case provides a ringside seat to follow the actions taken by a medium-sized pension fund when managing its private equity portfolio allocation. Students explore the rationale behind making investment decisions, the key challenges faced by institutional investors when constructing and managing a PE portfolio, and compare the characteristics of primary, secondary and direct PE investments. The case provides data and a step-by-step guide for students to develop an investment strategy (across these three categories) that will enable Future Plan to hit its target allocation to PE by year-end 2014 and achieve its goals.

Keywords:
Private Equity, Partners Group, Pension Fund, Institutional Investor, Portfolio Construction, Portfolio Management, Portfolio Optimization, Target Asset Allocation, Global Financial Crisis, Direct Investment, Secondary Investment, Primary Fund Commitment, Limited Partner, Private Equity Programme

published: 29 Mar 2017

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Abstract:
The case describes how Spanish entrepreneurs Daniel González de Vega and Javier Arroyo founded Smartick with the aim of tackling the poor level of math education in their native Spain. Smartick is a self-financed enterprise that combines social impact with profitability. The two entrepreneurs are up against stiff competition, notably from the education giant Khan Academy, who not only has major financial backing but also offers its service free of charge. After two years of developing and testing a mix of the leading offline methods and state-of-the-art web-based technologies, Smartick is ready to make a big push into the after-school math learning space. Javier and Daniel are mulling over three options for their long-term marketing strategy. They are looking to segment the market and find the right segment to implement the strong brand positioning necessary to impact Spain’s math education culture and society. The three options are to focus on B2B through schools, a combination of B2B and B2C, and a B2C-only approach. They must also decide on a pricing model and a communication strategy.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
After the case discussion, students should be able to: - understand the value of a differentiated product, even in the presence of a popular free alternative, - apply a segmentation-targeting-positioning approach to online education specifically, and to any other market or category, - recommend a pricing strategy to match the overall strategy of the company.

Keywords:
Edtech, Online Education, Branding, Marketing, Social Impact, Pricing Models, E-Learning, Entrepreneurship, Segmentation, Targeting, Brand Positioning, Software-As-Service, Brand Identity, Customer Centricity

published: 27 Feb 2017

  • Topic: Entrepreneurship
  • Industry: Telecoms, connected traffic cloud
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case describes how telecom giant Ericsson’s Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) team developed the Connected Traffic Cloud (CTC) due be launched at the prestigious Mobile World Congress. The CTC solution had already created a huge buzz internally. Competition was tough to be selected for launch at this annual conference, witness to the solution’s huge potential for Ericsson’s expansion into new arenas. All the customers the team hoped to reach were present at the conference. The timing was also good as the six year project in Germany where Ericsson had partnered with a consortia on ITS had reached its final stages with positive results in the domain. For the CTC solution to be successful building an ecosystem would be essential be it with road authorities, auto manufacturers, service providers or IT companies the possibilities were endless. The case discusses the challenges Ericsson faced constructing this ecosystem and options for monetizing the innovative solution. It was a new and complex landscape for Ericsson to navigate but with 140 years in the telecom space the company had global scale and local presence required for the ITS domain. Auto manufacturers were looking to redefine their value chains with cars becoming connected and automated, and were therefore investing in communication and cloud solutions.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Students should gain an understanding of what makes an ecosystem - what partnerships, what service / product offerings, and what business model. They should be able to answer the following questions: • What are the biggest risks of Ericsson’s current approach to Connected Traffic Cloud? • How are competitors likely to respond or enter this space when it matures? • What are the key modifications that Ericsson must make to create and capture value in this space?

Keywords:
Corporate Entrepreneurship, Connected Traffic Cloud, Infrastructure, Sweden, Intelligent Transport Systems, Transport, Networked Society, Connected Vehicle Cloud, The Internet of Things

published: 27 Jan 2017

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Abstract:
The case describes the rise of BlaBlaCar to global leadership of long-haul ridesharing and to prominence as one of Europe's most successful startups. It focuses on a critical juncture when the company has recently emerged as the European leader and has raised $100 million to go global.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access additional teaching material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case allows an integrated coverage of most elements of a core strategy course, including: industry analysis, competitive advantage, business models, company value chain, platform dynamics and positive feedback, acquisitions and global expansion. For entrepreneurship, it covers the founding and scaling of a new venture.

Keywords:
Sharing Economy, Global Expansion, Disruption, Platform Strategy, Ridesharing, Green Business, Competitive Strategy, Business Models

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published: 14 Oct 2016

  • Industry: Hospital

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Abstract:
This case shows how Fiona Jenkins, Head of Physiotherapy for South Devon Health Services, reviewed and redesigned the stroke service care pathway. She had just four months to present a proposal and then implement it in accordance with the National Service Framework (NSF) guidelines. These guidelines specified that a stroke specialist should examine all individuals admitted with a diagnosis of stroke. Her challenge was to coordinate the different stakeholders - primary care, secondary care and social services. In addition, she had to do this without any additional funding. The case describes the different options open to her and how she decides on a plan. Some of the players are suspicious, and even threaten to resign if the plan is implemented.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The learning objectives of this case are to: 1) Understand the process of leading organizational change, with a focus on the sequencing of actions, leadership skills, engagement and input from various stakeholders 2) Know key systems and structures associated with service integration. (i.e., shift from unit to service focus) 3) Understand leadership strategies to engage powerful constituents in the change process 4) Know management practices to promote the implementation of externally mandated regulations/service innovations

Keywords:
Organisational Change, Leadership, Service Redesign, Chronic Disease Management, Health Care Management, Management of Innovation, Staff Role Change, Public Sector Management

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