On February 23, 2013 Foster students won the Intercollegiate Marketing Competition held at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. This is the third time Foster students have won the competition. The case was about Modo, a Vancouver co-op that offers a car sharing program. The students had three hours to read the marketing case and prepare a solution. At the competition they had 20 minutes to present their solution and 10 minutes for Q&A with the judges.
The judges commented on how professional the team was and how they were the only team to “understand the total picture” of the problem and address the main issue Modo is facing.
The team was comprised of Jordan Barr, Marnie Brown and Elliott Klein, all are juniors at Foster and members of the UW American Marketing Association (AMA). They, along with Leta Beard, their faculty coach and lecturer of marketing at Foster, traveled to Vancouver to compete in the competition. Barr is president of AMA and studying marketing, Brown is studying accounting and Klein is studying marketing. The three were selected from a pool of applicants from the UW American Marketing Association.
“I am extremely proud of this team. They worked very hard on their case practice sessions and took the initiative to learn as much as they could before heading up to Vancouver. The judges came up to the team after the announcement and commented on how well they did and said they were anxious to implement some of the team’s suggestions,” said Beard.
The American Marketing Association is a national organization comprised of marketing professionals and students of marketing. The UW AMA is a student run organization at the Foster School of Business.
Bruce Avolio, executive director of the Foster School’s Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking, spoke at TEDxUmeå on January 17, 2013. The theme was “Leadership, creativity and innovation” and Avolio’s talk was titled, “Showing up for leadership…Ta Dah!” In his talk Avolio discusses three types of leadership: leadership that grows people, leadership that sustains people and leadership that diminishes people.
When a leader grows people, she empowers them to take ownership and challenge conventions. Leaders who grow people share a common trait—they all had people in their lives who set extremely high expectations for them. When they failed to meet these expectations, they were supported and encouraged to get up and do it again, and this process was repeated over and over. As a result they developed the ability to transform other people into leaders.
Avolio shared examples of how people can show up for leadership. You can be a leader who grows people by:
Showing up with great expectations.
Showing up claiming leadership.
Showing up over and over.
Showing up with everyone.
Avolio said, “We can all grow a better world together. Why don’t we do it?”
Increasing protein-based food in Nigeria, promoting coffee in Rwanda, reducing indoor air pollution from cooking in Bangladesh, building a wheelchair out of bamboo—these are a few of the ideas presented in the 2013 Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition. The competition, which was hosted by the Foster School’s Global Business Center, had 14 semi-finalist teams from Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, and the U.S.—including one UW team—competing in Seattle for over $30,000 in prizes. The winners were announced at a celebration dinner on February 28, 2013.
Grand Prize $12,500 = Jorsey Ashbel Farms
Jorsey Ashbel Farms turn mango seeds into livestock feed. This tackles the poverty issue of protein-energy malnutrition, which affects millions of disadvantaged people in Nigeria, particularly women and children. They have already generated $31,000 in revenue, proving their business model works. When Mauricio Vivero from the Seattle International Foundation announced the winning team he said, “The final judges noted that the winners proved the model worked, which was fundamental, and also that the business plan thoughtfully and fully addressed the social good.” Blessing Oritseweyinmi Mene from National Open University in Nigeria and Ashbel Ngalabak Ayuba from Ahmadu Bello University presented the idea at GSEC. The other team member is Godson Chizurum Ogumka from Abia State University. This prize was sponsored by the Seattle International Foundation and Microsoft.
Information & Communication Technology Prize $10,000 = Social Cops
Prukalpa Sankar and Varun Banka from Nanyang Technological University launched Social Cops so ordinary citizens could easily report civic issues such as uncollected trash, potholes, leaking water pipes, etc. to local government officials with their mobile phone in their home country India. The civic reporting platform will begin a pilot this summer in Delhi. This prize was sponsored by Microsoft.
Global Health Prize $10,000 = LifeChair
LifeChair produces a wheelchair made of bamboo and rickshaw wheels. It is significantly less expensive than the wheelchairs currently available in Bangladesh and is designed and built to be used in rural areas. Makame Mahmud and Naseef Us Sakib from University of Dhaka created this company to help handicapped Bangladeshis become active members of society. This prize was sponsored by the UW Department of Global Health. Rotary Prize for Social Impact $1,500 = Coffee Promo Co.
Coffee Promo Co. was started by Jean-Christophe Rusatira and Candide Mujawayezu, two medical students from the National University of Rwanda. Their goal is to install washing stations right at the coffee farm so the farmers can sell their beans already sorted and processed and get a much higher price, as well as improve yields by providing more training to farmers and planting better coffee trees. Once the farmers and workers make more money from coffee bean production, they will have more money to spend on healthcare and education to improve their communities and living standards. This prize was sponsored by the Seattle Rotary.
National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance E-Team Prize $5,000 and a Venture Lab Workshop = Disease Diagnostic Group
Disease Diagnostic Group uses the low-cost Rapid Assessment of Malaria (RAM) device to provide a handheld diagnosis for malaria in one minute at very low cost. This team also won the Investor’s Choice Award at the 2013 Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition Trade Show.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn spoke at the beginning of the celebration dinner. He said that while the people who proclaimed Seattle as a city of the future 50 years ago didn’t get everything right, they were right in a few areas. “They did get it right that it is appropriate, it is right to be innovative, creative, and idealistic. It is right to think about others and that’s how we’re going to keep working to build a city of the future.”
The keynote speaker at the award banquet was Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, owner and CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen, which produces products for prevention of infectious diseases such as malaria. The company’s LifeStraw® water filters were named one of the best inventions by Time and one of the best innovations by Esquire and also won the Saatchi & Saatchi Award for World Changing Ideas. Frandsen, however, said of accolades LifeStraw® has received, “None of this matters unless it’s in the hands of the people who need it most, and that’s where the real innovation is.” He covered three kinds of innovation required to solve global health issues: innovation around creativity of new tool development, innovation around the deployment of new tools, and innovation around financing.
Guest post by Jene Etheridge, Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) Ambassador, Foster undergrad and President of UW Social Entrepreneurship Club
Entrepreneurs, students, engineers, and investors filled Anthony’s Forum in Dempsey Hall on the UW Campus with excitement and curiosity as teams from all over the world prepared to present at the 2013 Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition’s Trade Show. The evening began with one-minute pitches from each team which highlighted their solutions and resulting benefits for social issues. The issues ranged from problems of respiratory disease and unclean water to accessible housing and resources.
Volunteer judges from the Seattle business, education and nonprofit community joined community members and host families—all of whom were given a hypothetical $1,000 to invest in the teams, culminating in an “Investor’s Choice” and “People’s Choice” Prize awarded at the end of the event. Judges included representatives from the Evans School of Public Affairs, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Sophos Law Firm, Ness Consulting, and various UW departments.
When I talked to Brijesh Sharma, a first-time GSEC attendee and a Hubert Humphrey Fellow, he emphasized his intrigue in the range of ideas and innovative solutions. “The hardest part is choosing who to invest in,” he said, “but it’s an opportunity to test the teams’ ideas and helps build confidence for them.” An emphasis on high social impact instead of profit is something that an undergraduate business student isn’t used to hearing, but for this week the lens is re-focused through GSEC, which defines success by social impact.
I was curious as to how some of these companies even started, and was interested in Prukalpa Sankar’s story about where the idea came from for Social Cops, an open web and mobile platform where citizens, councils and corporations come together to solve civic problems. “We didn’t want to go corporate when we studied business.” She mentioned that they were inspired to start Social Cops because of the social movement, India Against Corruption. Not only are these social movements creating catalysts for change, but also urging members in their communities to mobilize and take action into their own hands.
Although some in attendance were major players in the business world, I realized they were there to find a cause they believed in that had the right people to carry out a solution with a positive social impact. I knew my fellow ambassadors would leave the trade show inspired to make change in our own communities. When I talked to Joyce Tang, a student ambassador for the livestock provider Jorsey Ashbel Farms, she emphasized even more student involvement for events like GSEC. “You meet the world here!” She told me as we watched the teams attentively answering questions from judges. “I think people forget that business can be used to benefit others too.” GSEC is somewhere to get inspired, because we see how social entrepreneurship is even more important to the founders of these companies. They’re passionate about these innovative solutions because they have grown up with these issues firsthand.
Troy Hudson, one of the participating investor judges, added a new perspective to the group as an immigrant from Guyana and Seattle business executive. “It’s important to use these business
skills to solve social problems and reinvest the profit back into a sustainable solution,” he said. The judges, along with fellow students and members of the Seattle community, offered a great opportunity for dynamic discussion on past projects and international travels, as well as innovative resources.
It seemed like the two hours had been only minutes when the announcements were made for the Investors’ and People’s Choice Awards. For the first time in GSEC history, each team received votes from the investor judges. The deliberation was so difficult the People’s Choice Award was presented to two teams: Eco-Chula from University of Dhaka in Bangladesh and Coffee Promo Co. from National University of Rwanda. The Investors’ Award was presented to one of the U.S. teams, Disease Diagnostic Group from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Congrats everyone!
Guest post by Kelly Shen, Foster undergrad and Certificate in International Studies in Business (CISB) student
She is a Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) ambassador to Team LifeChair from Bangladesh.
Around noon on Monday, the Douglas Forum slowly filled up as teams from all across the world staggered in to attend orientation for one of the most prestigious competitions for university-level students. Amongst the crowd this year were engineering students from India and business students from Bangladesh, community members from the area, UW professors and students. For some, this was their first time traveling outside of their home countries; for others, their first time in America and for some, their first time in Seattle.
Each year, the Global Business Center hosts the week-long Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition on the University of Washington campus and brings together undergraduate and graduate students driven by the common goal of creating sustainable, positive solutions to the issues they face in their home countries and around the world. Unlike case competitions, participants of the GSEC come to the competition knowing what they are competing on—a solution for a challenging social issue. For many of the participants, this week is a chance for them to showcase their months, and even years, of hard work.
The majority of the teams arrived over the weekend. Armed with heavy coats and umbrellas, they took on sightseeing in Seattle during the day. One team, from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India told me about their Seattle exploration. When I asked if they went to the first Starbucks and Pike Place Market, one team member replied “Too many people!” and his teammate laughed, “Too many fish!” When I asked if there was anything in particular they wanted to see in Seattle, the team told me that anything would be fun since they were too busy preparing their presentation before their trip to even look up what to do in Seattle. This just shows the passion these teams have for bettering society.
At night, these teams are up all night working—partially because of jet lag but mostly by their drive to deliver the perfect presentation. When I first met the LifeChair team from the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, they told me that they had been up since 1:00 a.m. working. It was 1:00 in the afternoon. As you can imagine, most of these teams have traveled more than halfway across the world, boarding flights which last more than 10 hours. One team, FastTrack House, even told me about how they rode camels on their 20 hours layover in Dubai. But none of this stopped them—despite the jet lag and adjusting the change in environment, the teams persevered to deliver their elevator pitches and presentations to coaching round judges Monday afternoon.
Each year since GSEC first began in 2005, the scale of global issues and scope of solutions competition participants bring to the table have greatly increased. This year, GSEC is honored to invite 34 students from 9 nationalities and 12 universities in the United States, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Singapore. For these teams, getting to Seattle was no easy feat either. This year, the teams beat out 91 other competitors from 67 universities in 29 countries to get a chance to pitch their idea to the judges on Thursday. So if you see them around campus this week, congratulate them! Great job, GSEC teams and I can’t wait to see what this week has in store for you!
Dr. Leroy Hood, a pioneer in the systems approach to biology and medicine, spoke at UW Foster School in January 2013 about innovation, complexity, P4 Medicine—predictive, preventative, personalized, and participatory—and much more.
Dr. Hood has played a role in founding more than fourteen biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Darwin, and The Accelerator and Integrated Diagnostics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Of the 6,000+ scientists world-wide who belong to one or more of these academies, Dr. Hood is one of only fifteen people accepted to all three. Additionally, Dr. Hood has published more than 700 peer reviewed articles and currently holds 36 patents.
In a career of dramatic innovation, Dr. Hood has seen a number of paradigm shifts. He identified four common traits. Each paradigm change:
Fundamentally altered how, in his case, scientists think about biology and the practice of biology.
Faced enormous initial skepticism and, in some cases, actual hostility because there were perceived threats to the traditional way of getting things done.
Forced the creation of new organizational structures—the bureaucracy that comes from existing organizational structures hurts the ability to change the way you think about something.
Required enormous risk taking.
Watch the video below for more highlights from his talk, including how the Human Genome Project transformed biology, implications of P4 Medicine, and his thoughts on the future of systems biology.
Leroy Hood was one of UW Foster School of Business Dean Jim Jiambalvo’s guest speakers at the annual Leaders to Legends Breakfast Lecture Series, which include notable leaders in an array of industries from greater Seattle and around the country.
Paul Davis, CEO of Coinstar, spoke at the Foster School of Business’s Leaders to Legends Breakfast Series in November 2012. His talk focused on how Coinstar has reinvented itself to become a leader in the automated retail space—otherwise known as kiosks—through innovation.
One of the largest and best-known parts of Coinstar’s business is Redbox, the popular automated movie DVD kiosk business. Redbox comprises more than 80 percent of Coinstar’s revenue. Redbox’s business model centers on value, simplicity and convenience, and it’s been highly successful. It’s a $2 billion business and there are over 42,000 Redbox kiosks in the U.S.
In addition to Redbox, Coinstar is involved in eight other companies. These companies, like Redbox, embody value, simplicity, and convenience. A perfect example is Rubi, a new twist on vending machine coffee. Coinstar is launching this in partnership with Seattle’s Best Coffee, which is owned by Starbucks. Rubi utilizes French press technology and offers single cup brewing—beans are ground on the spot—that starts at $1 a cup. It offers affordable, high quality coffee from a vending machine.
Other Coinstar properties include Alula, which allows you to turn gift cards into cash at 70-85 percent of the value of the card, and Eco ATM, which allows you to get cash for your cell phone on the spot. They’re looking at expanding this to all electronics.
Coinstar looks for innovative opportunities in the automated retail space in myriad places. It holds big-idea competitions within the company, talks to venture capitalists and private equity firms, holds white-board competitions at universities, and utilizes a nation-wide innovator network.
Coinstar has also developed criteria and a process for finding new companies. It only considers businesses that can scale or expand outside of the U.S. and that are capable of $100 million in revenue. All of the ideas are also consumer-tested before being seriously pursued. And once an idea is vetted, Coinstar hires an entrepreneur with deep domain expertise to launch and grow the company. The entrepreneur is given four years to do this and his or her compensation is tied to the success of the company. This systematic approach is paying off. All but one of the ideas Coinstar has pursued have succeeded; industry standard is typically a 25 percent success rate.
Coinstar has been steadily rising on Fortune’s “Fastest-Growing Companies” list for the past few years. Despite critics, they are successfully reinventing—or rather inventing—the automated retail space. Look for Coinstar products in all kinds of kiosks near you.
Since giving this talk, Paul Davis announced he will retire from Coinstar. Scott Di Valerio, currently CFO of Coinstar, will become CEO in early April.
Paul Davis was one of UW Foster School of Business Dean Jim Jiambalvo’s guest speakers at the annual Leaders to Legends Breakfast Lecture Series, which include notable leaders in an array of industries from greater Seattle and around the country.
Guest post by Jonathan Brogaard, an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Foster School
Is high frequency trading good or bad for financial markets? In January, the Foster School Department of Finance and Business Economics hosted a high-level summit to discuss how the increasing automation of financial markets is affecting investors, market volatility and order execution.
The discussion brought together Foster finance faculty and senior executives from local investment firms.
As an early investigator of this emerging topic in finance, I was asked to present the leading academic findings.
First, a bit of definition. High frequency trading (or HFT) is the fastest subset of computer-based algorithmic trading. HFTs act either as market makers or exploit inefficiencies in the market. They buy and sell constantly, hold very little inventory at any given time, and end each day with zero positions. In short, they run a volume business, picking up fractions of a penny over and over and over again. This leads to regular—and sometimes extravagant—profitability.
But HFTs are shrouded in mystery. Little is known about these firms and their algorithms that dominate market trading. HFTs are obtuse and generally unregulated. And they have been linked to scary events such as the flash crash of May 6, 2010.
A small group of academics, including myself, study the effect of HFTs on market quality—how well markets operate. The consensus of our findings is that, on average, HFTs are improving the quality of markets. That is, they are adding to price discovery (making prices more informative), increasing liquidity (making more shares available to be bought and sold), and decreasing spreads (the price difference between what a buyer and a seller will pay).
But what are traditional investors experiencing in the markets? Our workshop guests voiced a variety of opinions on HFTs, and shared experiences that will help me and other researchers fine-tune our measurements to better reflect the realities of an increasingly computerized market.
We certainly share their concerns about the lack of understanding around high frequency trading. We have much to learn. Do HFTs increase or decrease the risk of flash crashes? What is their presence doing to investor confidence? Are they beneficial in the market for smaller stocks?
We tend to fear what we don’t know. But high frequency trading is certainly here to stay. So we’re working diligently to shed light on this powerful new force in the financial markets.
Guest post by Ben Flajole, Evening MBA 2014 and Evening MBAA VP of Alumni Affairs at the Foster School of Business
“If you’re up at a whiteboard listing all of the things that make a good leader, I don’t think many of you would put ‘4.0 student,’ right?” With that remark, Eric Sprunk, VP of Merchandising and Product at Nike, saw most, if not all, of the crowd breathe a sigh of relief. As the featured speaker at the MBA Perspectives on Leadership event on January 10, Sprunk spent time discussing what, if not perfect grades, makes people great leaders.
Sprunk’s presentation on leadership at Nike highlighted some key differences between being a good manager and a good leader. To him, a good leader creates an environment in which people are encouraged and allowed to achieve their best work every day; a good manager makes sure the employees have what they need to be able to do that. He then referenced the traits he considers necessary for good leadership, which were defined by a student in a prior session as “soft skills”:
Courage: having authenticity and honesty in your interactions with others.
Energy: bringing great enthusiasm to your team and never asking for more from them than you are willing to give yourself.
Balance: knowing that burnout is real and that feeling like a good son, daughter, dad, mom, husband, and/or wife is crucial for producing your best work.
Ideally, as Sprunk stated, we’re able to be great managers and leaders simultaneously. However, that’s not always the case. While good managers generate good results, it is often good leaders that produce the best results by leading with vision, strategy, and having and exercising the traits listed above.
Watch the video below for more highlights from his talk.
Management theories and approaches fall in and out of favor, as any experienced manager can tell you. That’s a fact of life in the business world, and one that makes the half-century staying power of the Aerospace Industry Manufacturing Seminar, or AIMS, all the more impressive.
AIMS is a two-week residential leadership development program created and administered in partnership by Boeing and Executive Education at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Over the years more than 3,000 Boeing employees have gone through the program. All have benefited from the program’s focus on such topics as improving the global supply chain, increasing efficiencies and productivity in operations management, boosting business performance, and becoming effective leaders of change management.
AIMS celebrated its 50th anniversary in July 2012, and students of Class 97 currently in the program joined some of the past graduates and UW representatives in mid-July for a dinner and reception at the Foster School of Business to honor this milestone and celebrate the program’s many accomplishments.
“AIMS is a great program and a wonderful partnership with Boeing and the University of Washington said Bill Schnettgoeke, vice president of Supply and Operations Chain for Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Lean+ Enterprise Initiative Leader, who spoke at the event. “Its success is due to its ability to evolve from a focus on manufacturing to encompass Engineering, Supplier Management, Quality, among other areas – all the better to support the businesses. As we work across the value stream, it brings a cross section of people together.”
Tim Copes, vice president of Manufacturing and Safety for Commercial Airplanes, also spoke at the July 19 dinner at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“As an AIMS graduate myself, I can attest to how well the program prepared me to take on the challenges I’ve faced throughout my career,” said Copes, who completed the program in 1993. “The program’s endurance speaks volumes about its ability to give managers the skills they need to contribute to Boeing’s growth and profitability, and about the company’s commitment to developing the strengths of its leaders.”
The AIMS program is a nomination program for managers and executives from across Boeing who have at least three years of experience with the company.