Blog by Fiona McKie, Head of Innovation at RoS
One of the best things about working in innovation at RoS is that I get to be involved in activities that allow us to collaborate externally and work with people from different sectors, professional backgrounds or perspectives, achieving outcomes that would not have been possible if taken from a single viewpoint.
The University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School MBA Consultancy Week Challenge Programme is a great example of this. This is the second time that RoS have provided a challenge to an MBA team and this year was just as insightful, valuable and fun to be part of.
The concept of the challenge is that teams are given just one week to answer a question from a sponsor organisation – simple in theory. In reality it’s really challenging for many reasons.
The MBA students, who are already experienced managers and business leaders from all over the world, are asked to work with each other very closely; forming a team immediately and delivering an output that in more traditional project management frameworks could take many weeks to complete.
On top of that, the questions the teams are posed are generally wicked problems – because realistically if the answer was straight forward, then it really wouldn’t be a challenge now would it…
I am describing all of this not only from the perspective of a sponsor of a challenge two years running but also as someone who has been a student in this scenario.
When I was an MBA student at University of Glasgow I took part in a consultancy challenge in Denmark – a project experience that I have never forgotten. So I know that when it is called a challenge week it really is a challenge. It’s immensely worthwhile too though and all the hard work pays off once you submit your final report.
So back to the RoS challenge for 2018… we asked our team to look at open innovation including types of open innovation, the different models and approaches that can be taken, the benefits and challenges of these types of initiatives, and examples in practice of where this approach has been used.
The team, made up of four students, did an amazing job and submitted an end report that not only answered the brief but also demonstrated wider areas that I hadn’t previously considered. At the end of the challenge we then had the opportunity to meet up with our team and network with others from the Adam Smith Business School as well as with corporate and public sector challenge sponsors at the award ceremony for the best project.
The Professor Raymond Miquel award is given out every year, adding another layer of competition to the already motivated students, and although the RoS team didn’t bag the prize this time round they still submitted a fantastic response to the challenge set and the most immediate next steps for us will be to welcome our team to our Glasgow offices to deliver their presentation to interested stakeholders.
Their research and findings will also form part of the work that the innovation team will be doing over the summer to analyse some real opportunities for open innovation at RoS so I can safely say that taking part this year in the consultancy week challenge was more than worth it.
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