Executive training on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government
The Director of New Economy Academy within the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government was tasked with developing a four-day executive workshop to foster innovation and entrepreneurship for 60 top executives from private and public sectors in the CLMVT countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand).
Elaine Chen of ConceptSpring was engaged as a co-director of the program. Elaine co-designed the curriculum to cover innovation, entrepreneurship and corporate entrepreneurship, delivered all of the content on the last two topics, and designed and implemented a team project in which executives from different countries and sectors worked together in small groups to solve cross-border commerce problems in these five countries.
In the words of the Director: “It was a very successful program and the level of satisfaction from participants were very high.”
One-week-long executive training in entrepreneurship on behalf of MIT
For a few years, MIT offered a one-week-long intensive entrepreneurship bootcamp to 70-100 executive MBA students from the Turkey Sabanci University.
Elaine of ConceptSpring was engaged to help redesign the curriculum and deliver the training program, especially the team project componenbt, to ensure that the learning objectives for the program was met: First, participants shall understand and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, helping them be flexible and resilient in future ventures; second, participants shall acquire new entrepreneurial skills that will serve them well, wherever their future professional paths might lead them.
In the words of the Program Director: “Elaine was masterful in restructuring the team focused processes of the program’s objectives such as coaching sessions, facilitating project work and preparing the teams for final presentations. After only one week, under Elaine’s capable leadership, the students, most employed by large organizations, delivered impressive business plan presentations for viable new ventures.”
Helping a FinTech consulting business test drive a new product venture in a new market
The CEO of a FinTech consulting business had developed significant core expertise in data based alternative credit scoring techniques through contract work with clients. He wanted to explore how the company might leverage this asset to transform its business model from a service business to a product business.
The company engaged ConceptSpring to help them assess the technical, organizational and business level assets they had, and come up with a framework to explore the new, product-based venture while continuing to grow and expand the existing, service-based business.
In the matter of a few weeks, ConceptSpring worked with the team to define how resources and value will flow between the existing business and the new venture, clarified roles and responsibilities for staff members, and coached the tiger team in charge of the new business in developing and implementing a pilot plan that started with discovery research of end customers and proceeded rapidly to digital experimentation and rapid testing of product offerings.
The company was able to leverage the best of both worlds – the assets from the core business helped fuel rapid progress in the new venture exploration, and learnings from the latter helped make the core business more effective.
In the words of the CEO: “Elaine worked with my product team intensively over a three month period, during which she helped take an idea from concept to a defined MVP with a clear execution plan.”
Helping a not-for-profit academic office launch a new venture within its existing offerings
The Managing Director of the Entrepreneurship Center of a major research university saw that while the Center had a great portfolio of academic and program offerings to help students learn how to build startups, these offerings were high-touch and difficult to scale – and demand was outstripping supply. He wanted to explore building a new venture within the framework of the existing courses and programs to supplement the student experience with an on-line, self- service, one-stop-shop platform. This is a fundamental change in how the Center engaged with students.
Elaine of ConceptSpring worked closely with the developer of this new platform to assess the strengths and weaknesses of existing offerings, build knowledge about student workflows and use cases, and helped shape the platform to meet student needs based on mainstream workflows. Through application of startup best practices, including heavy integration of customer empathy work and prototype testing with students, the platform went live two weeks from inception with functional features that helped students find curated classes and resources to meet their needs.
Helping a 47 year old company embrace Lean Startup
The General Manager and VP of the Software Business Unit for a 47-year-old company that provides solutions in apparel design and development to major brands like Polo Ralph Lauren and Burberry wanted to find a way to help the company’s software product teams embrace the customer-centric mindset and spirit of experimentation and iteration commonly found in startups.
The GM engaged ConceptSpring to work side by side with two of the product teams, each in charge of a different software product line, to test drive Lean Startup techniques like customer development and testing Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) with end customers. This work was done in collaboration with another company that delivered Lean Startup training.
Elaine of ConceptSpring helped the company’s product leaders understand and adapt standard Lean Startup techniques to their specific organization and customer base. We worked together to prototype and implement techniques like contextural interviews and observation for primary market research, as well as landing page tests for digital experimentation and behavioral testing to test for product interest.
In the words of the Director of Product Management for one of the major product lines: “We discovered new insights into our customers’ daily challenges and were able to refine our solution to better meet our customers’ needs.”
Helping a not-for-profit organization revamp its innovation process
The CEO and CEO of a not-for-profit organization had built a technical organization to develop an open source software platform to support academic and corporate researchers as they work to support openness, integrity and reproducibility of scholarly research. The organization had grown rapidly and was exhibiting signs of growing pains, which manifested in difficulties in estimating work and delivering quality products to end users.
The organization engaged ConceptSpring to assess the technical team in terms of people, process and product to build knowledge about how people and work was organized. We interviewed 14 team members to understand the as-is state. Together with the team, we developed an understanding of the top areas where their needs have outstripped their existing processes. ConceptSpring provided them with actionable insights and recommendations that they could begin implementing in the next day, which the team did with immediate results.
In the words of the COO: “Elaine expertly assessed the organization’s areas of strength and needs for improvement. She is extraordinarily adept at understanding the inner workings of a tech operation, and could quickly digest the team composition, processes, and outputs. Her recommendations were right on, and we have already seen improvement in the team’s effectiveness. ”