The Leeds Net Impact Case Competition Opportunity

This is a follow up to my last post, found here. Check it out for the full picture.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post called “The Leeds Net Impact Case Competition Travesty”. It included my thoughts and opinions about the results of a business case competition, with a few takeaways listed and a healthy dollop of strong language. That post broke my previous record number of hits for three days straight, getting much more attention than I thought it would.

This resulted in many positive reactions (mainly from people at my business school) and, unsurprisingly, many negative reactions as well. I was naively unprepared for the latter, assuming that only friends and acquaintances would see my blog, and was stopped short when a classmate was contacted by a Leeds student and competition volunteer. He had been a major part of the competition, and was clearly upset by what I had written.  This resulted in a phone meeting scheduled between myself, a BGI classmate named Greg who had competed in the finals, and three Leeds students/volunteers in charge of next year’s competition.

That phone call happened one week later. Luckily, we all had time to reflect on both the competition and my blog post and had gained some perspective from both sides. It was obvious that both parties had come into the phone call with open minds, and the resulting conversation was centered around suggestions on how to improve the competition next year. Here is some of what we duscussed:

  1. Invite someone from Net Impact to be a judge– The Leeds students were thinking of implementing this, and I wholly support the idea.  Bringing in someone with more of a background in sustainability will bring in more diversity of opinion into the judging panel.
  2. The judging rubric- We had some back and forth around the judging methods.  I’m all for creating a level playing field, letting all the judges have equal say as to who should win. I feel that as of now, whoever has the strongest opinions and personality can sway the rest of the judges one way or another. The current driving thought at Leeds is the desire to create a conversation in the judging room: a great learning opportunity is missed if judges simply add up points and walk away. This lead me to suggest a third way where we can meet in the middle- Why not have a set rubric that makes sure that all the requirements of the case are met (worth, say, 50% of the final points), while the judges argue and discuss the other 50%.  Would this be a good solution?  The Leeds students heard me out and agreed to talk about it further among their peers.
  3. Feedback from the judges after the final round– Greg made the point that none of the teams in the finals this year got any feedback from the judges after the final round.  Leeds assured us that it was a fluke that this had happened, and having feedback available was actually planned into the competition.  It was a simple mistake that happened in the process of herding cats and judge feedback is very much an important part of the competition. Special attention will be paid to this during the 2012 competition.

All in all, showing the willingness to talk about improving the system proves how serious this competition is taken. I’ve never stopped thinking that the Leeds Case Competition is a terrific case competition: it is obvious that the students involved are incredibly passionate, intelligent, and capable, and the phone conversation helped me confirm that.  The students I spoke to are true leaders.

The future of the competition is in good hands.

The opinions in this article are solely those of the author (who apologizes to anyone who may have been upset by his previous post) and not those of BGI or of any competitor in the competition.


4 responses to this post.

  1. i love it when passion creates change.


  2. Posted by Greg Lotakis on March 9, 2011 at 1:04 am

    A great takeaway for me on this is the importance for our students at BGI to make sure our voices don’t come across as the last word in sustainability. While it is important to challenge, create dialogue, and engage others in the discussion we must focus on what can be learned from both sides so as to create change.

    A great consolation was knowing the judges had to fight through our pitch, which created significant dialogue. You can’t grow anything without planting a seed.

    And my sincere thanks to the Leeds students who took the time to hear us out and consider how the competition may be improved (in our opinions) in the future with a few considerations. More so, I appreciate that this was handled between the students of two business schools – no deans, no faculty, no administration… just future change agents.


  3. I love that you all came together, seeing this as an opportunity for change and growth! Good work by all. I am so thankful to be a part of a learning community that embraces taking risks in order to make the future better for more people.

    I look forward to the Leeds Net Impact Business Case Competition next year… it will be better than ever!


  4. I was recommended this website through my cousin. I’m no longer certain whether or not this submit is written by him as no one else know such distinct approximately my trouble. You’re wonderful! Thank you!


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