FDE Casebook volume 1

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Ashesi University
The experiential nature of the course, Foundations of Design and Entrepreneurship (FDE), provided the opportunity for students to explore real-world problems of interest, run a business simulation on the solutions concepts while going through the motions that start-up goes through in setting up. Despite being first-year students, the structure of the course made them encounter actual challenges around team formation, supply chain management, production, marketing, finance etc., where they had to make decisions considering a variety of factors. To capture some of these decision scenarios for teaching purposes, the following teaching case studies were written. Specific areas of business were identified for each case and to draw out the illustrations needed to meet the teaching objectives, some of the challenges were embellished and some of the storylines adapted for illustrative effect. The names of the characters in the cases have been altered to protect the identity of the students. The cases can be used at the undergraduate level and below. Some specific cases may be used at the graduate level if the context is of importance to the instructor. However, since the operations of the student teams were business simulations, they do not have very informative appendixes or exhibits to support a graduate school level course. In the following, we provide a navigational overview of the different business areas of interest represented in the cases. The first area of focus is team formation. This was one of the contentious areas of engagement for team members as, for many of these students, this is the first time they were participating in a project team with real outcomes. A business is only as good as the people working for it, and without a cordial and harmonious relationship, a chaotic outcome will ensue. To explore issues of teamwork, which determines whether an investor will be interested in funding, the case of Teamware outlines steps the team went through to bond and deliver value to make their business concept investible. Another case study on team formation focused on the motivation to perform. As the saying goes, a product is only as good as the attitude of the people that make them, and in the case of Ripple, the importance of human resource management became evident. The 6 CEO of Ripple had to ensure that team members felt motivated since they developed an apathetic and lackadaisical attitude towards work. The team members needed work rules and regulations. They needed to have a sense of direction and purpose. The message here was that products are not the only driving force of a business, people are as well. Thus, businesses need to invest in people, and TIPS was another case study exhibits this notion. In the case of Mollia Dormir, the team had a pending conflict which threatened the success of their business simulation. All parties involved believed they were on the right, which led to no progress. A conflict resolution process had to be implemented to curb the situation from escalating and to ensure progress and performance. Moving on from team formation to the venture development process, the case of Instalight Enterprise illustrates the 6 chronological stages of new product and business development. The team had an initial concept in mind, however, after the prototype production, they had to reevaluate certain activities they had undertaken as they spent more time and money than expected. The case modelled how to iterate and make changes as and when they are needed during the development process. When a solution concept has been developed and tested, there is the need to explore avenues for resources needed to exploit that business opportunity. The CompressiBowl case is an illustration of one of the FDE readings titled “Raising Money For New And Emerging Companies”. This reading focuses on how the life cycle of a business determines the funding source to target. It further focuses on the factors to understand when raising money for a business, specifically for an emerging business such as CompressiBowl. The case, therefore, provides a good overview of how funding works. Despite the funding available for a business, there is also the case of viability which is one of the three parts of determining a potentially successful business: desirability, feasibility and viability - as the students are taught. A business might be desirable and feasible, however, without viability, the business might not succeed in the long term. This was evidenced in the case of Easy B. This case illustrates a business concept that was constantly in search of resources as they were caught in a spending spiral with no incoming funds. The case considers whether the business was viable in the first place. 7 There are a few other cases that we have not commented on here but hold promise for teaching on various topics in an undergraduate class as noted earlier. We hope that through these scenarios, you will be able to teach your students and your teams some valuable skills about how to tackle everyday business challenges and how to succeed in the process. [NB: Taken from introduction]
Authors of individual chapters include: Gordon Adomdza, Emefa Dako, Ebow Spio, Nepeti Nicanor, Rose Dodd, Sena Agbodjah Agyepong
Foundations of Design and Entrepreneurship (FDE), Ashesi University, teaching case studies, business simulations