Case Competitions are so 2007
Today, the cool kids Crowdsource
The concept is rather simple: students need to understand how to solve real problems. This is why business cases have been a staple in every university around the globe, and have even been stated as a critical component to undergraduate degrees. In a case competition, undergraduate students attend as a team to derive a solution for a particular problem. A solution presented as a recommendation to a panel of judges who decide on the winning proposal. This model is straightforward and scalable, yet the case competition structure hasn’t scaled much in the last 20 years. Have business case competitions have reached a plateau? Are we using a model that no longer fits the world as it is? When we consider Marshall Goldsmith’s point of "what got you here—is not going to get you there.", The answer is yes. Thankfully, Crowdsourcing projects are elevating the very same model to suit the needs and desires of the students who wish to participate and those who already do.
Let’s show you why:
1. Everyone’s had enough of awkward Networking
The appeal for students to attend Case Competitions is the exposure to a vast network of industry professionals. Often panel judges consist of past competitors and key business leaders, proving to be an excellent networking opportunity. However, the resulting scope is often much smaller than the brochures lead students and faculty to believe. Many industry professionals and students find them to be forced and fake, leaving engaging interactions few and far between.
Crowdsourced submissions, on the other hand, are judged by stakeholders in the initial problem. An innovator won’t compete in a project they are not already passionate about, providing a sense of relatability to the sponsoring brand. Any interactions that take place are authentic and precise, and you won’t be forced into talking about the weather.
There’s always a monetary cost to someone
Where case competitions require physical presence and a registration fee to participate, crowdsourced solutions are submitted online via their free innovator and team profiles. Travel costs are eliminated as there is no requirement to physically attend any summits, conferences, or physical competitions to participate in a project. There is no registration fee to have an innovator profile, and your membership never expires. Now students who felt restricted by their income have free rein to share their solutions for some of the world's considerate problems without an initial investment. Talk about a win-win!
Students have great ideas and no time for the bureaucracy.
Students are required to follow specific instructions in hopes of being granted a spot on a team of competitors. Even with evidence proving that most millionaires have a GPA of 2.9; some case competitions and universities still require a higher minimum grade-point-average, as if it holds bearing on their ability to solve a business problem. Other competitions have a lengthy interview process spanning over several weeks, and many have both. These obstacles created by many case competitions have nothing to do with the caliber of solutions and does not limit a student’s capacity for excellence.
In crowd-projects, the innovator is given the opportunity to be their own boss. Your GPA hold no weight in your ability to create innovative solutions to real world problems. There is no requirement to share your transcripts, or time to allocate for an interview just to have a profile. It takes less than 5 minutes to set up, and you’re ready to start submitting your solutions to over 200 challenges.
Impact + Prize > Prize Alone
Even if these teams provide a prize-winning recommendation, their excitement slowly dwindles. Soon students began realizing that their idea, as ingenious as it was, will likely never be implemented. Even with the increased use of live-cases, many competition’s cases are derived specifically for the competition versus to solve a real world problem. Leaving their participation in any competition as series of items featured on their resume, in hopes that it might carry weight with their future employers.
In crowdsourcing projects, participants are no longer wasting their creative capacity on items that will only serve as fillers on their resumes. Crowdsource Projects are 100% sponsored by organizations in search of a solution and shared globally. As these submissions become a critical component to solving seriously complex issues, all participants now can say that they contributed to expanding access to clean energy[a] with Booz Allen, maintaining the physical health and hygiene of astronauts[b] while deployed in space with NASA, or even re-designing US national infrastructure[c] with Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Innovators are paid for an idea that will actually leave an impact on someone’s life.
If you’ve read the whole article or even skimmed, it may be no surprise to you that case competitions are no longer as useful as they once were - and crowdsourcing is steamrolling them with innovation. Crowdsourcing broadens the concept of Open Innovation because competing is truly open to anyone with a solution. This understanding has allowed Crowdsource Projects to expand not only rapidly, but globally as well. Now, an individual in Senegal has the opportunity to ideate a solution as much as a student in Alabama. These projects are the experience of the future, proving to be the elevated and innovative staple for undergraduates. Many universities and their students have decided to take the leap towards the modern era. Realizing that crowdsourcing projects add an element of actual implementation, recognition, and engagement with some of the world’s most influential organizations like NASA[d], Coca-cola[e], and National Geographic[f], which also proves to be an excellent talking point if you’re ever stuck networking event again.
Get with the times. Create an Innovator Profile and join the movement for a crowdsourced future.