Taking on the WBS Healthcare Case Challenge

25 July 2019

Full-time MBA participant, Fiorello Fernandes, describes what it's like to take part in the WBS Healthcare Case Challenge 2019.

Having worked in the aerospace industry for almost a decade, designing accurate and reliable customer interface products, I always felt designing an intuitive and responsive customer journey would come as second nature to me. However, participating in the Warwick Business School (WBS) Healthcare Case Challenge gave me a completely new perspective on designing complicated and critically important customer solutions. It was not just a test of my ability to dive deep into an unfamiliar category but was also a test of my design thinking skills, to take apart an existing system and put together a new solution. Meeting some of the most venerated product design and digital transformation experts from GE was a privilege that has further fuelled my ambitions.

What is the Case Challenge? 

The WBS Healthcare Case Challenge, now in its 7th year, attracts participants from business schools all around the globe. The competition challenges participants to find innovative solutions to pressing real-world healthcare problems. This year’s event was sponsored by the WBS Case Challenge’s long-time sponsors GE healthcare and Pfizer, and the topic was to find innovative ways to enable adoption and increase engagement of digital solutions among patients, medical professionals and various other related stakeholders. It is a real problem that is plaguing the rapidly ageing population in the United Kingdom. It is important to not let technology and a complicated user journey hold our customers back from using our services.

The Case Challenge caught my attention almost a year ago, when I first read about how a group of MBA students developed an innovative approach to tackle atrial fibrillation – the idea of business creating such a meaningful impact in core medicine captured my imagination. I was lucky to have the honour of representing WBS this year. I chose my team carefully since I wanted a functionally diverse team that would bring different strengths to the project. My team of six had fellow MBA students, a master’s in marketing student and two medical students, all of whom are very passionate and are driven by an intrinsic desire to make a real change. Working with such a diverse team was a privilege and an interesting challenge which helped me develop my leadership and team building skills.

My key takeaways from the Case Challenge 2019: 

If I had to boil down my learnings down to three key points to help the next round of participants, I would have to say the following:

  • I know this one is going to sound obvious, but I am going to say it anyway - put yourself in the end user’s shoes. Simple! It all starts there, with the customer. Gain a deeper understanding of the realities faced by the actual end user. Spend time with them. Uncover their latent needs and make your leap from there. Traditionally, technological progress drives customers, now we are finally allowing customers to decide the direction of technology.
  • Do not work in silos. Working with a diverse team is your biggest strength. Make marketing, product design, operations and finance talk to each other and to the end users. They won’t like it but still, find a way to make them work together and stay solutions focused. Trust me when I say the best solutions are multi-dimensional and need different perspectives coming together.
  • Stay calm when all that stress strikes together. The beauty of studying at WBS is the number of opportunities you are given to excel. In the run up to the WBS Healthcare Case Challenge, I had five other commitments and deadlines, all somehow coming together at the same time. This included a study trip to Germany, internship interviews, module assignment deadlines and the start of another case challenge. It can get overwhelming. It’s up to you how you make every opportunity a stepping-stone to your goals.

WBS gives us the opportunity to make a real difference in this world – use business skills for a sustainable future. I cannot wait to see what the participants bring to the table next year. 

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