Explain which three of the HBR articles studied in the first five weeks would be most useful to conducting business enhancing research for a company of your choice (and explain why you have chosen that company); also explain how the research strategies and techniques discussed in those three articles could be used to improve the customer value proposition of that company
Let’s start by clearing up a few uncertainties
1. What is the word limit? 3,000 – 4,000 words
2. What is the purpose behind this assignment; why has it been set; why does it matter?
In this assignment you can demonstrate the comprehension and communication skills that underline your ability to apply the concepts and language introduced during the first five topics to a real business. This assignment will assist you to gain the skills that build credibility within an organization by using the language of contemporary business research in ways that address key competitive issues to do with customers, innovation, the future, business models, and customer value propositions. As a consequence, you will stand out when applying for a position or for a promotion, as having a deeper than usual understanding of how businesses can benefit from research-based insights into customers, innovations, and the future: someone with a future-oriented and strategic style of thinking.
3. Should you write using first person or third person?
Some academics always ask for third person so if that is what you are used to and comfortable with, use third person - but because this task is about you developing the skill of being able to convincingly explain what you know to others in a workplace, using first person is most appropriate.
4. What is the number of academic references that must be used?
Between five and nine journal articles, studied during the first five weeks of this course.
Many of you will be used to submitting assignments in which the lecturer has specified that you must use fifteen or even twenty-five references because you have to demonstrate that you have read widely.
In this assignment you have to demonstrate that you can APPLY the central ideas we have been studying to a real business. So what matters is the quality of your application of those central ideas, rather than exactly how many articles you refer to.
You might, for instance, want to explain what is meant by the term ‘business enhancement’ by referring to the ideas in Johnson, M. W., Christensen, C, M., and Kagermann, H (2008) “Reinventing Your Business Model”, Harvard Business Review, December 2008, pp51-59.
You might want also to refer to an industry article that has been published about the company you are using in your assignment, such as Colvin, C. 2018, “What the Hell Happened at GE?” Fortune Magazine http://fortune.com/longform/ge-decline-what-the-hell-happened/
You might want to focus on Christensen et al, “Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done”, Harvard Business Review, September 2016, pp54-62, when discussing innovations, but decide that Dawar, N (2018) “Marketing in the Age of Alexa”, Harvard Business Review, May–June 2018, pp80-86 should also be referred to because it provides an interesting example of Alexa as a successful innovation.
5. Exactly which articles should be used?
I have not specified exactly which articles should be used – just remember that the articles you use in explaining and applying research into customers, innovations, and the future, must come from the reading materials provided on CANVAS for this course.
In other words, if you spend a third of your assignment discussing, for instance, Goleman, D. 2013 “The Focused Leader” Harvard Business Review, December, pp51-60; or Kavadias, S. Ladas, K. and Loch, C. 2016, “the transformative business model” Harvard Business Review, pp91-98 you would put your assignment at risk because those articles are not on the reading list for this course and by using so many of your available words discussing them you would not have enough words left for discussion of articles that are on the reading list for this course.
6. Now for some more general advice:
You should structure your response into three sections: research aimed at understanding customers; research aimed at creating innovations; and research aimed at understanding the future.
Also be sure to do more than just summarise what each article has to say about each topic; instead of just summarising, explain the various ways in which the ideas presented in each article could be made relevant to the challenges faced by a particular business in a particular industry.
This means that you need information about that industry’s challenges in relation to customers, innovation, and the future. Obtaining that information may mean that you need to do some secondary research and reading in addition to your study of the journal articles provided on CANVAS.
When responding to: “explain how the research strategies and techniques discussed in those three articles could be used to improve a customer value proposition” be sure to begin with a clear explanation of what is meant by the term ‘customer value proposition’ and why it matters.
You should then present the customer value proposition currently being used by the organisation which you focus on in your assignment – and comment on the strengths and weaknesses of that value proposition. In particular, comment on ways it could be improved in relation to the three areas of customers, innovation, and the future. What additional useful knowledge could that company gain by using the data gathering and data analysis techniques presented in the three articles that you focus on?