The US and in many countries across the globe is facing a pending challenge in an aging population, falling birth rate and economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. These issues will have huge implications on the size of the workforce and the consumer base with ramifications on a global basis.
Your team has been hired by a global private equity firm to investigate the implications of an aging population, isolate a problem area, and propose a compelling product or service that they can invest in. The assumption is that they are willing to invest in projects that are “long term bets” but they must have compelling insights, data and strategic plans in order to make these investments. They want an innovative solution, something that isn’t just an extension of the past. Your mission is to deliver these insights, data and plan.
In order to succeed you need to dig deep into the societal, economic, environmental and technological contexts to identify the underlying problem(s). In particular, your client (the global private equity firm) is interested in learning about global market trends and opportunities related (but not limited to):
- Life expectancy and health care
- Transfer and consolidation of wealth
- Movement of people, including immigration
- Connection to external environment
- Future of work
- Future of retirement
- Consumer behavior
The creative solution and investment opportunity will then be presented to your client at the end of the program.
In particular your mission is to:
- Identify global trends that are associated with an aging population which are driving consumer behavior. What are they, and what are the implications for a product or a service?
- Determine how you might interpret this trend and its implications in a region or a country and sector or industry.
- Isolate and select the problem(s) that need to be solved as they relate to this trend.
- Scope the problem and validate it based on data - primary and secondary research.
- Propose a product or service to address the problem or capture the opportunity.
- Communicate the work you have done on the project and your detailed proposal to the private equity firm.
This requires deep understanding of underlying problems, and creativity in developing sustainable yet realistic solutions for the future with the support of latest and emerging technologies and trends. You want to anticipate these systemic impediments and leverage high impact opportunities, especially to address the impact of an aging population.
Your proposal should:
- Be grounded in extensive research and analysis of the context and stakeholders.
- Showcase feasibility of execution and application supported by your insights.
- Demonstrate real-world application through prototyping.
- Convince with state-of-the-art market analytics and realism in implementation plans.
In terms of assessment, your team is strongly encouraged to find external mentors who can support you with problem related expertise your team may be encountering when it comes to collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data to verify problems and generate solutions. You are expected to conduct extensive research associated to the problem context in a condensed period of time.
You will start by creating a Trends Matrix - a high-level summary of trends and how they impact your project. It can also show how trends happening in one area may have influenced others. From here, you will write an Intent Statement that outlines your initiation intentions for the work you are undertaking. [Team Assignments Due March 29]
Next, you will lay out the design of your investigation, assumptions, how you intend to test them, and preliminary definition of the problem. These will be summarized in a Contextual Research Plan and Mapping. [Team Assignment Due April 13]
You will then continue your journey and report back individually on anticipated types of solutions (advice, product/service, model, or venture, etc.) and the feasibility of execution and application. This individual Insights Clustering and Concept report will be your contribution to the overall work product of the team and will be identified as such. [Individual Assignment Due April 25]
As your team learns about the properties of the problem-solution fit, we will apply means of design thinking to generate solutions and build a prototype (digital or other format) to address the problem. The culmination of the journey is your final Project Recommendation and Presentation to your clients and receiving valuable feedback from your peers regarding your great contribution. [Team Assignment Due May 12]
The best projects will be strategically justified and connected to an aging population, competitively focused, and written with a senior executive audience in mind. Teams will be confronted with decisions regarding how ambitious a proposal is to develop in order to present the winning proposal to solving a particular problem. New and bold is good, but so is immediate, tangible, and actionable as long as the problem is significant enough and you are not shadowing existing solutions.
Ultimately, a particularly strong proposal will present:
- A deep understanding of the chosen problem setting based on rigorous scientific work.
- Fresh ideas driven by independent research combined with creative futures-oriented thinking.
- Clarity on the most promising targets for effort and investment from the standpoint of market segment,
- Consumer Behavior and benchmarks with strategic priorities in mind.
- Original insights into stakeholder benefits and their thorough modeling and quantification.
- Well justified, feasible and anchored recommendations and actions.
- An understanding that each context has unique challenges, which can be identified through secondary sources and people connected with each geography or demographic.
Sources and people connected with each geography or demographic.
This summative assignment is the culmination of your work. It should lay out a compelling story for your client that addresses the challenge you have been given. Your recommendations and presentation should also incorporate the changes, developments and improvements that resulted from team coaching sessions throughout the course.
The deliverables are:
a) A Project Recommendations Report of up to 50 pages that summarizes the team's work, including prototypes, data, and primary research. The Report should be double-spaced, properly formatted in 12-point font.
b) A presentation that will be submitted and presented to the clients.
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