CIP Projects Spring 2019

The following projects will be available to students in the Mack Institute’s Spring 2019 Collaborative Innovation Program (MGMT 892).

We encourage all Wharton MBA students — including West Coast and WEMBA students — to apply, as well as graduate students from other schools at the University of Pennsylvania.

To be considered for this class, please submit your application by uploading your resume and ranking your project choices using the form below by January 1, 2019. Sign up here for updates about CIP.

To read the full project descriptions, click the project titles below.

1) Strategic Roadmap for growth of a financial services firm

Organizational Background

Company A is a Japanese multinational financial service group that operates commercial bank, investment bank, trust bank, credit card, leasing and consumer finance. The company has been working with startups, VCs, and universities to explore new business and innovative technologies including fintech, AI, machine learning, etc. In addition, the company invests in some VCs in Japan and the U.S. as LP to expand its network in the startup ecosystem. The company owns a variety of internal departments that focus on R&D and collaboration with startups. Each department works closely, but the company assumes that there is some room to improve in terms of organization to accelerate its business in the areas.

Project Summary

The project requires building a strategic roadmap for Company A to expand its enterprise consumer base.

Objectives and Deliverables

Strategic roadmap on how best to expand their consumer base. The roadmap should be supported by:

  • An analysis of digitization in commercial banks and the subsequent business opportunities that it provides for the future
  • A market study on emerging technologies that have the potential to disrupt financial services. This will require identification of technologies and services that will disrupt banking business.
  • Based on the above two, a strategic roadmap with:
    • Potential options for Company A to acquire, ally, or partner with for its products and services. This should include a market analysis of firms not just in fintech but other industries as well, and an investment analysis for value.
    • An open innovation strategy to enhance the company’s current activities around collaborative innovation. This could include a CVC, co-development, or alliances with start-ups.

2) Customer segment analysis (“Adulting”: An evolving life-stage for young Americans)

Organizational Background

Company B is a multi-national Japanese automobile manufacturer with its North America business headquartered in Franklin, TN. This project is on behalf of Company B’s market intelligence (MI) team. The MI is responsible for the customer research and insights for the North American market. Included among the various research responsibilities is tracking non-automotive trends (social, cultural, political, environmental, political, technological, and generational) that ultimately impact mobility. It is MI’s responsibility to inform Company B of the impending impact of these trends.

Project Summary

Company B’s MI is interested in informing the organization about how young Americans (18-35) are transitioning into adulthood. When once this was a very linear and predictable process, it has become a more fluid and non-linear journey. Young Americans now go through this stage of life in a very different environment and with a completely different set of expectations. Increasingly, people are expecting brands to help them navigate this important stage of life. In other words, how can Company B help young Americans “adult”?

Objectives and Deliverables

To develop a trend overview presentation describing this evolving life-stage, the drivers causing this evolution, and opportunity areas for Company B to address the challenges in the journey of a young American as they transition through young adulthood. Specific deliverables:

  1. Identify and describe 3-5 highly influential macro trends shaping how young Americans are approaching important adult milestones for the first time ,such ask seeking higher education, starting a career, establishing a home, marriage, and children.
  2. Describe emerging attitudes toward the above-mentioned milestones and if there is an expectation for these attitudes to evolve in the next 5-10 years (if so, how).
  3. Identify the 5 largest emerging challenges young Americans have as they approach adulthood.
  4. Provide 3 specific examples of how brands in the U.S. (across categories) are assisting young Americans to overcome these tension areas. Examples should also demonstrate how these initiatives have proven to be successful.
  5. Recommend unique customer-facing initiatives Company B can employ to help young Americans navigate this life-stage in ways that would promote higher opinions of Company B. Recommendations should include evidence around a positive ROI. Recommendations do not necessarily need to be directly linked to mobility. They can be marketing, service, or product-related. Please avoid generic recommendations around subscriptions and ride-sharing.
  6. (Choose one):
    • Create a short video (less than 4 minutes) summarizing some or all of the findings from points #1-3. Footage can include testimonials, stock footage, or any other visual effects to communicate these points. Please obtain written or recorded consent of those you record to share their image and likeness on the public domain.
    • Create a survey about any of the above-mentioned areas (minimum sample size of 50 respondents in the appropriate age range). Results should either support the findings or support your recommendations. Please share details related to the methodology of the survey.

Note: This should not be considered a study focused specifically around generational cohorts. Rather, the focus should be focused around the life-stage itself.

3) Go-to-market strategy and business model analysis for a telecommunications firm to enter Mexico

Organizational Background

Company C is a large Guatemalan telecommunications firm with a customer base of more than 245,000 companies in 17 countries. It has significant presence in the market with a spread across various locations in each country. It is focused on providing B2B technological solutions for carriers in Latin America with a main product portfolio of connectivity (internet, data products and satellite services), mobile data, cloud services, and security. The company guarantees excellence in the services that it provides to its customers with a high performance and availability network.

Problem Context

As a part of its growth strategy, Company C has recently acquired a capacity infrastructure firm in Cancún in anticipation of venturing into the Mexican market. Leveraging the new acquisition, the company intends to expand its presence in Mexico.

Also, Company C is looking for advice on more such strategic alliances/acquisitions for catering to multinational companies from Mexico to LATAM and backwards (just as in the United States.)

Project Summary

This project requires identification of a strategy for new market penetration in Mexico for generating a robust business value. The company views Mexico as an untapped market and its product and service offerings might be niche and of significant value. The strategic recommendation should be for a potential area of robust growth for the company as well as of significant value to the region.

Objectives and Deliverables

  • Understand the Mexican market for connectivity and data services, current product and service offerings in the markets, and potential sectors that the company could venture into. This includes products in need, market opportunities, and new products that might be launched with current infrastructure (products can be developed on-demand with raw materials of Company C).
  • Identify key categories for future growth and investigation. Categories include data services such as internet, cloud, security, and other IT, data, and connectivity related services
  • Identify top 10 states for penetration. Prioritize them according to potential market share that can be acquired. Design a market entry strategy for the identified states.
  • Identify potential categories of organizations that the company can partner with/ally/acquire for market penetration (Virtual Wallet, etc.) and, if possible, identify new organizations for the company to ally with.

4) Exploring small business segment opportunity for a financial services firm

Organizational Background

Company D is an American multi-national financial services organization interested in growing its small business portfolio, particularly with larger small businesses ($100k+ in annual revenues). It has been serving the small business segment for years and has capabilities across multiple products: deposits, lending, merchant services, payroll, treasury management and a unit to support dentists and doctors and their unique needs. With the evolution of the national small business profile leaning towards smaller, start-up businesses, Company D is looking at how to acquire, deepen and retain existing, larger small businesses that are beyond the start-up phase. Company D has done some initial research and put together 5 key strategies/focus areas to win in this space (see below). While all are important, there’s interest in identifying the target state service model and the loyalty/rewards most appealing to these types of businesses.

Propose Deliverables Based on These 5 Key Strategies

  • Operationalize the end state SMB sub-segmentation for marketing, sales and service.
  • Serve through a differentiated service model that delivers integrated customer experiences that are scalable, cost effective, and aligned to customer needs.
  • Solve customer pain points and improve issue resolution.
  • Develop simple, intuitive, omni-channel account opening and value-added digital money management experiences.
  • Design and deliver value-based solutions and guidance in a clear, transparent, and rewarding way.

Objectives and Deliverables

  1. Validate and/or enhance 5 key focus areas for Company D. Quantify returns likely to materialize from each investment area and distill from the analysis a path forward that will accelerate growth and lead to the most advantageous market position.
  2. Identify value-added services, capabilities and/or products that would be attractive to these business owners and would enhance acquisition, deepening, and retention activities. Recommendations would include feedback from customers and would be prioritized based on appeal/value.
  3. Document and quantify the target state customer journey of what it means to be a relationship manager to a small business owner across the acquisition/onboarding and servicing parts of their banking relationship. How do SB owners want to connect with their bank? How often? About what? What channels are most helpful and for what? Are they as comfortable working with their bank virtually vs. in person?
  4. Define what is most important for these larger companies when it comes to being recognized and rewarded for their loyalty and relationship.
    1. What does “being recognized by your bank” look like to them?
    2. What additional services or perks do they want as they give more of their business to a bank?
    3. What criteria seems most appealing to receive rewards (i.e., balances, products, tenure, etc.)?
    4. If a bank offered the above, would they switch banks and, if so, what would it take to win their business?

5) Business plan for starting a new line of business (Wealth Management)

Organizational Background

Company E is a $750 million retail financial institution headquartered in Los Angeles, CA with seven branches strategically located throughout California to cater to its niche customer base. It was established in 1982 and is a fully owned subsidiary of the largest bank in India, which has over 24,000 branches, 59,000 ATMs, and over 198 foreign offices. Through its branch and online network, Company E has a strong presence and specialization in specific business sectors and expanded strategic markets. It offers an extensive portfolio of commercial lending solutions as well as consumer, business, and international services. It is FDIC insured, with clients in various parts of the U.S.

Project Summary

Company E is seeking to expand its business and product line offerings for retail customers. It has a large retail customer base but does not offer wealth management services. It is now seeking help in developing a business plan to opening a wealth management channel. The project includes identifying demand and customer segments to target, competitor analysis, and a high-level cost-benefit analysis for a successful implementation of the business line.

Objectives and Deliverables

  • Study the potential for a wealth management business line through assessment of opportunities and risks. Focus could be on the California HNI and HNW segments
  • Build a business plan for the bank to implement the new line of business. The plan should evaluate the business value proposition and should include:
    • Competitor analysis
    • Consumer segment analysis with gap assessment of needs and market offerings
    • Comparative analysis for organic and inorganic options, followed by a scenario analysis with cost-benefit analysis, margins, risk, etc. for each recommended option
  • High-level assessment of IT and regulatory compliance requirements for both options

6) Redefining Retail and Digital Strategy for Financial Services

Organizational Background

Company F is a NYC-based subsidiary of the largest bank in India with over 24,000 branches in India, 59,000 ATMs, and 198 overseas offices spread over 37 countries having the largest presence in foreign markets among Indian banks. The firm is one of the top 50 global banks with assets worth more than USD 531 billion, 209,572 employees, 500 million customers and 740 million accounts. Company F is FDIC insured and offers a bouquet of services to the clients by dedicated verticals for corporate credit, trade finance, deposits and remittances, correspondent banking and treasury.

Project Summary

Company F is a single branch setup with a New York State license. Owing to regulatory restrictions the branch can offer only liabilities and remittances products to its customers. It is seeking a strategic roadmap for multi-channel outreach to overcome the constraint of physical presence. Further, it is seeking advice to help the bank in

  • building its presence through digital platforms
  • expanding its product offerings
  • taking a focused approach to target specific customer segments

Objectives and Deliverables

  • An in-depth market analysis of liabilities product offerings in the U.S., and a study of competitors, their product and service offerings, and a gap analysis of the market need. Students can use a variety of methods to research, including interviews with necessary stakeholders.
  • A customer segmentation study to throw light on the needs and preferences of different customer segments, based on the gap analysis above. It should also provide insight into tech trends that these segments are inclined towards.
  • A strategic road map for digital retail in a single-branch setup with limited physical presence. The roadmap should cover (1) a customer outreach strategy for high-value segments along with an implementable plan for digital outreach, (2) product strategy for the segments to be targeted, and (3) positioning strategy for the bank for these segments. Potentially, product suggestions on the introduction of new retail liability products, keeping in consideration the technology enablers, cost factors, and compliance and regulatory risks.

7) Strategic roadmap for two major macro themes impacting financial services

Organizational Background

Company G works tirelessly to provide consumers, corporations, governments, and institutions with a broad range of financial services and products. It strives to create the best outcomes for its clients and customers with financial ingenuity that leads to solutions that are simple, creative, and responsible. With $18.5 B in revenues last quarter and net income of $4.5 B, Company G serves the interest of its clients around the world while providing value to the economies of those countries in which it operates.

Through investing in growing firms, a vibrant entrepreneurship program within the company, as well as product and strategy development, Company G provides valuable partnerships to its businesses and helps the company as a whole respond to meaningful macro trends that are impacting its consumers.

Project Summary

The project seeks to build a strategic roadmap for addressing two macro themes that are impacting the firm’s customers.

Objectives and Deliverables

  • Develop a strategic thesis and storyline on two most impactful macro themes for Company G’s consumer bank – economic vitality and banking at the speed of life. These themes will serve as the foundation for how Company G’s senior leadership identifies and evaluates key target customer segments and the ways in which Company G can meet their needs. They will also serve as the key strategy for D10x, the internal startup incubator at Company G, in which they will base their future startups on themes analyzed by the student team.
  • The thesis on each of the themes should analyze the themes’ impact on consumers, the opportunity that they bring to Company G, and how best can the company leverage the opportunity given its resources. It should strike the right balance of
    • Information (e.g., macro trends, technological advancements, demographic shifts, etc.) and
    • Strategy/provocation (e.g., how does the world of banking look different as a result of these trends/shifts/advancements? What implications have they had on shifting consumer preferences and needs? How have external startups or incumbent companies reacted to these shifts?)
  • Create a point-of-view and definition around the themes of economic vitality and banking at the speed of life, supported by proof points mentioned above (trends, shifting consumer preferences, tech advancement, external and competitive activity, etc.)

8) Building a Customer Lifetime Value Model given dynamic purchase behaviors

Organizational Background

Company H is one of the world’s largest publishers in the English, Spanish, and Portuguese languages on Amazon. It is a U.S. company, employs nearly 10,000 people globally, and has published 15,000 titles under 250 divisions and imprints.

Project Summary

The project will be a 2-way customer lifetime value model for the U.S. market, both for bottom-up (focus on end consumers for books, factoring in our market share) as well as top-down (focus on retailer/market segments).

The goal of the project will be to produce both an attribution model as well as actionable insights for growth areas for Company H’s core market of book consumption, given the shifting purchase behaviors towards digital.

Objectives and Deliverables

  • A bottom-up CLV model blending previous consumer proprietary around key segments research as well as CRM data
  • A top-down model of retailer segmentation
  • An integration of the models of customer and retail segments featuring dynamic scenario modeling for potential share-shifts in physical and digital purchase behaviors going forward
  • Strategic analysis of the implications of the models, with a focus on potential growth segments (consumers plus retailers) 2019-2024

9) Developing a 360-degree Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) strategy for a vehicle manufacturer

Organizational Background

Company I, a $1.3B revenue commercial vehicles manufacturer (OEM), is planning to grow by 30% in sales by the end of 2019 by investments in local production, its own wholesale organization, and a third party dealer network.

Project Summary

The project aims to help the Company‘s commercial vehicles division transition from a traditional retail/wholesale organization towards selling on the basis of a 360-degree total cost of ownership (TCO.) TCO analysis, also called lifecycle cost analysis, is meant to uncover all the lifetime costs that follow from owning the vehicle. Students are expected to create a strategy along with a brief implementation plan and a set of metrics for performance tracking.

Objectives and Deliverables

  • Conduct a robust industry analysis to
    • validate the company’s in-house TCO concept against industry and customer requirements across various customer segments
    • define the future TCO trends and identify those of value for implementation within the company’s TCO strategy
    • assess the existing economic models for comparable offerings in the marketplace
  • Develop a 360-degree TCO strategy for the company covering all the marketing Ps and leveraging TCO excellence in marketing and communication concepts
  • The strategy should be followed by an implementation plan and a defined set of KPIs for performance tracking

10) Designing a digital transformation strategy for a traditional vehicles manufacturer

Organizational Background

Company J, a $1.3B revenue commercial vehicles manufacturer (OEM), is planning to grow by 30% in sales by end of 2019 by investments in local production, its own wholesale organization, and a third party dealer network.

Project Summary

The project aims to help the company’s commercial vehicles division transition the classical wholesale/retail organization into a sustainable and profitable digital environment.

Objectives and Deliverables

  • Design a transformation strategy for the company to transition from a traditional retail sales organization to a modern, online, data-driven sales organization. The strategy should inform on creating a robust data platform and should encompass:
    • an effective methodology of creating a customer retention strategy in conjunction with the new data platform
    • opportunities for additional revenues – given future challenges such as electric vehicles, reduced parts, and service consumption
    • finding the right balance between USA franchise laws, customer behaviors, and current dealer network
  • The strategy should be followed by an implementation plan and a defined set of KPIs for performance tracking

11) Consumer Behavior Analysis and Application for a Greece-Based Insurer

Organizational Background

Company K is a Greece-based insurer with € 2.5 billion in assets. It is seeking help in translating concepts of behavioral economics to business and transforming the way it designs products and conducts its business in insurance.

Project Summary

The objective of the project is to bring the concepts of behavioral economics to understand consumer behavior and subsequently suggest methods of effective product design to improve customer outreach as well as penetration. Please see additional details about this project here.

Objectives and Deliverables

The team can choose one among the following three approaches to this project:

  1. Behavioral profiling: Enhancing profiling data through the collection of behavioral variables on consumers
    • Identification of behavioral characteristics that offer robust clustering (in addition to demographics and purchase behavior) and techniques to gather data
    • Identification of behavioral heuristics/mechanisms that trigger the desired behavior
      OR
  2. Behaviorally Modified Communication: A/B testing proposal using actual communication from European insurance firms (preferably Company K’s)
    • Case study review on current practices in behavioral interventions in insurance communication
    • Build a case for intervention in insurance communication for the European market using existing research conducted
    • Leverage behavioral insight on communication to design treatments to existing pieces of communication (likely letters)
    • Develop a communication strategy based on A/B testing trials with at least 5 treatments
    • Suggest the process through which company K can implement the said strategy
      OR
  3. Product development strategy using behavioral insights
    • Identify biases & heuristics relevant to insurance products
    • Design an approach for product development that includes behavioral tweaks

12) U.S. Market Entry Strategy for Indian Bicycle Manufacturer

Organizational Background

Company L is a 60-year old bicycle manufacturer in India, building ~6M cycles annually in various categories such as roadster, mountain bikes, city bikes, and kid categories. It holds a world record in manufacturing the most number of bicycles in a day. It is a market leader with 40% share by volume and has been growing organically and inorganically.

Project Summary

Company L is currently exploring the option of market entry into the U.S. and is seeking help in understanding the bicycle market and creating an entry strategy. With 99% of the ~$6B industry imports of the U.S. originating in China and the recent trade war between China and the U.S., Company L envisions diversification benefits for U.S. importers to trade with Indian manufacturers.

Objectives and Deliverables

  1. Analysis of market trends of the U.S. bicycle market by volume, value, and growth rates; product categories; price levels; and OEM vs aftermarket segregation. Market-level insights should also throw light on competitive brands in the U.S. and their market share.
  2. SWOT analysis of Company L to identify synergies between its various companies that can be leveraged for potential partnerships/ acquisitions in the U.S.
  3. Choose ONE of the following market entry strategies:
    • Create a business plan for organic entry by building brands and creating a distribution channel. The business plan should provide insight into consumer behavior and buying patterns, pricing study for existing products, target market segment, distribution channel, and financial returns.
    • Create a business plan for inorganic entry through acquisitions or joint ventures. The business plan should provide insight into potential partners, synergies for the partnership, investment size estimation, and value proposition for the combined entity.

13) Innovation Benchmarking and Implications for a Global Telecom Firm (Bay Area)

Project Scope

  • Study industry best practices, based on primary interactions with some internet companies, on how they approach accounting for various innovation related activities in terms of R&D expense, capex etc, related to exploring new disruptive technologies and use cases. Hypothesis is that internet companies have large R&D spend and low capex, whereas telcos seem opposite of that
  • In the context of above students should analyse how Company M should position itself; hypothesis being a hybrid of the two classifications, and rationale for the same.
  • Study some of the most innovative companies, comparable in size to Company M ($3Bn+) and in B2B space, in terms of models for customer co-innovation leveraging the start-up ecosystem (partner approach, not build) and provide different options for Company M to consider in light of current maturity in customer engagement
  • How to these companies measure impact of their innovation efforts at a company, customer and BU level? Tangible (financial) and intangibles (NPS, Innovation index etc)? In the context of Company M, recommend a measurement dashboard for all the key innovation / venturing programs underway.

Key Considerations

  • Project team to be based in the Bay area / SF campus
  • Research methodology must lay emphasis majorly on primary research leveraging the Wharton alumni network, and as needed complement it with secondary reports / insights available at Wharton
  • Provide insights from the data, including ‘so what’ for Company M, and not just present information gleaned from primary interviews / interactions
  • Regular reviews with Company M’s innovation team, including hypothesis formation, primary research plan, interim insights and final report

Rank Your Preferences

Note: If you are only interested in one project, feel free to rate others as a 12 or 13. If you are open to all projects, feel free to rank all 1.