Leder Business Students take first place at Royal Roads Design Thinking Challenge
Leder Students Bring Solutions to the City During Construction in Internal Case Competition
Our internal case competition this year focused on the loss to businesses due to city construction. We partnered with the City of Edmonton to create a case where our students could come up with solutions for the City of Edmonton and small businesses around the city to manage the loss they face when there is construction.
As a frequent small business visitor, I often see a blocked road or lots of construction and it immediately turns me in the opposite direction. Often times I don’t even bother trying to get to the final location if there is lots of construction. So, the city and small businesses wondered, how we can come up with a solution to aid small businesses who are struggling due to the lengthy construction time periods.
Seven teams were formed, and they got to work interviewing businesses, looking at other cities who have programs in place to reduce the impact on small businesses, and creating a solution. All the teams had awesome ideas, but one team truly had a good understanding of a way to mitigate the impact. Faith Carnegie, Diquita Cardinal, Jenae Charlebois, and Deserinque Ricketts, decided on creating a Construction Mitigation Program. This would involve having communication and public meetings so that construction workers, business owners, and customers could have a voice in what would help to minimize construction disruption. The program would also include free advertising around the city for particular businesses in construction zones. A few more perks to the program would be partnering with underground parkades to provide additional free parking, street art, and grants for businesses facing long term construction. Finally, the program would have program liaisons who would be in charge of communicating with the businesses to keep updated on the struggles they are facing and find ways in attempt to resolve the issues.
It is great to have the opportunity for our students to help solve, real-life and current issues. A big thank you to the City of Edmonton for partnering with us and a congrats to all the teams who came out and participated. We are looking forward to what next year’s case might bring!
Last place isn’t a great place to start, but we took on the attitude, you can only go up from here. We spent hours working on a video and coming up with a solution, but our delivery was perhaps not as strong as we thought. When we sat in the circle with other teams and received feedback we were devastated at the results. We knew the only way to recover was to be sad for an hour and then get back to work. Through the course of the evening we had to prepare there were tears, breakthroughs, and excitement and we ended up pulling it off for the next presentations. The judges were impressed, and we had one round to go with a completely different challenge: how do you get downtown avoiders, who work downtown, to hang out downtown, and bring two other people with them? Daniel was sick and was off to take a nap (an unfortunate way to start our big day), Anna and I stayed to listen to some guest speakers, and Marshall went to write down his ideas. We reconvened for lunch and after went up to work. We came up with what we thought was a fairly good idea and we went to prototype it on other teams. We asked for real and critical feedback and they were not shy on offering it to us. So, in true design thinking fashion we tried new ideas, several times, before we came up with our final product, a Family Friendly Victoria. While there were many components, we essentially wanted to show families in Victoria that they could go downtown and there were opportunities for their families to have fun. We went to bed around 3am, thanks to our fearless coach for finding us endless supplies of coffee throughout the night, we planned to be ready to go by 8am to get our rounds of practice in. With hours before our presentation we knew we were still lacking one thing, a catchy intro. Joking and sleep deprived we thought wouldn’t it be funny to prank Paula and say that we are doing a song and dance for our intro? We brought her in and took on serious faces to see what she would say. Much to Marshalls shock and Daniels horror she loved it and forward we went. We did our song and dance, and an excellent presentation and felt very happy to take a relaxing walk in the gardens before heading to the gala in the evening. Overall, we took first place in competition and learned more than we ever thought we could about design thinking and how to trust the process. We are all so thankful for the opportunity and are excited to see the new students taking on more case competitions in the future. - by Megan Apperloo, 3rd Year Business Student, and Design Challenge team member