This article was written with the assistance of Haas intern, Micah Sanders.
On January 6, 2014, the UGBA193i students in Bangalore collaborated with teams of Indian MBAs for a business model innovation workshop at IDIOM‘s head office.
DREAM:IN is a startup program developed by IDIOM. It is a for-profit, sustainable enterprise that helps people innovate themselves based on their dreams and goals in life. The founders of DREAM:IN saw that many Indians knew how to take advantage of circumstances, but only a few were able to maximize their opportunities. Thus, the company teaches people ways to better use the assets that are at their disposal. Nonetheless, their target audience is really everyone as IDIOM’s aim is to get people to Wake up and start Dreaming.
Before coming into the workshop, Professor Darwin gave the Haas students a lecture on the various strategies and methods by which businesses can create wealth. The core principles he emphasized highlighted the significance of value creation and value capture. According to Darwin, every company has assets that it allocates in order to make profit. Nonetheless, the strategy a company chooses to deploy its capital can be tailored through open innovation.
Darwin also introduced the concept of asset access (the sharing economy) versus asset ownership. The distinctions, while small, make a big difference in whether business models can succeed or not. A model that cannot scale technology, no matter how fast that new technology is introduced, will never emerge as a successful company.
These principles were applied in full force at the DREAM:IN workshop with Indian MBA students. After introducing themselves, the Haas group collaborated with their Indian counterparts to define the eight areas of business model innovation in a start-up idea for their respective companies; namely value creation, value capture, key partnerships, key activities, key resources, customer relationship management, customer segments, and distribution channels. Ideas ranged from college career centers, to hospitals, to shuttle services for those commuting to work.
All the companies brought to the students’ discussion involved both profitable and social aspects. The students’ biggest challenge was to provide services through business models different from traditional profit making schemes, while maintaing the same standard of service. Groups of four Haas students intermixed with two to four Indian MBAs talked about the challenges of bringing high quality talent to the district of Tumkur.
After exchanging ideas for various solutions, the students enjoyed a traditional south Indian lunch of paneer, assorted rice, and curries. They learned a little more of each other’s backgrounds, connecting on a much more personal level regarding hobbies, school life, finding jobs, and family expectations. They found that their similarities much outweigh their differences and their potential in working together is limitless. The Haas students also learned about a typical Indian MBA’s routine, which comprised of yoga at 5:30am, classes from 8:30-5:00pm, and time for homework from 5:00-7:30pm. The dedication and commitment to education that is evident in the speed of the nation’s economic growth.
After lunch, the Indian and Haas students spoke in depth about how realistic their value creation and capture models were. They broke down the project into questions that they had to ask in order to further the idea stage. This included questions such as: “how much would people be willing to pay for ___ services? What preexisting notions or alternatives are they currently using?”
The greatest hurdle that arose among the students, however, was the factor of trust and sharing of ideas. The ideas they had developed were innovative, but they are fairly new to the community and yet to be proven credible—how can the Tumkur residents be convinced to accept them? The Haas students acted as consultants to the Indian MBAs, whose focus was on the entrepreneurship area of the ideation process.
The students also set up a framework and outline for the presentation that they later gave on January 10 to senior level executives from Apollo Hospitals, IDIOM, IIM Bangalore, Blue Planet Run Foundation, and International College of Media & Design in India. The Indian MBAs were challenged by Professor Darwin to come up with their own presentation. Professor Darwin was hopeful and confident that the MBAs would reach the same creative and feasible level of innovation that he had previously experienced with Chinese students last year. Indian and Haas students concluded with to-do lists on both sides, ready to contact students, parents, peers, and companies to prepare for their Tumkur challenge presentation.
Class of 2014