TEMA 5 in commando mode!
Published on 12 June 2021 by NEOMA
The Innovation Field Project has final year TEMA students confronted with real-life business problems. In 9 days, they have to understand the issues and come up with solutions using the knowledge they have acquired over 5 years.
Created 9 years ago by Annie Falantin, professor with the Information Systems, Supply Chain Management & Decision Support Department, the Innovation Field Project is a lightning strike mission in a company that brings the programme to a close and revives all the courses and skills developed throughout the curriculum. Spending 8 hours per day, evenings (and even late into the night) during 9 straight days, the students assume the role of consultants with the job of providing the companies involved in the project with strategic and operational solutions to their problems.
For Annie Falantin and Nathalie Fontaine, teacher and Learning Designer at NEOMA, and co-project managers, the learning objectives are clearly defined:
- Develop a strategic diagnosis of an organisation and develop a project and an operational action plan in one or more specific areas;
- Acquire, develop or confirm the skills required by an organisational consultant;
- Test the students’ organisational skills, behaviour and knowledge of strategic analysis in a realistic business context;
- Manage a business development project from “A as in Audit” to “P as in Prototyping and Planning”;
- Manage a group project under pressure.
Everything begins with the companies themselves making a presentation of the issues they are facing. In 2021, Annie and Nathalie’s students were invited to work for 3 different organisations:
- The City of Reims, looking for innovative ideas they can incorporate into their bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2028.
- Two dentists, currently following the Objectif Manager training course, who invited the students to create a dental clinic for the future.
- A crèche director, seeking a solution that will allow parents to buy and then collect baby products directly from the crèche.
The students are then divided into groups of 5 or 6 to begin their mission. “First of all, they have to understand the company and its jargon, customers, suppliers, strategy, environment, constraints, needs, expectations …” explains Annie. “Then, once this full audit has been done, each group has to identify their own specific issues to solve.”
The mission continues at a very fast pace! The third day is spent developing ideas and drafting detailed descriptions of each preliminary project. On day 4, the companies approve (or not) the proposals and the students launch the development of their innovations on days 5, 6 and 7.
At the end of day 7, each group hands in a 90-120-page summary report to their professors who review it overnight and hand it back the following morning. The second to last day is spent correcting and fine-tuning the projects before the final presentation to the companies, which concludes the assignment.
“After the presentations, which were held both face to face and remotely this year, depending on the availability of the companies, myself, Annie and the students were all completely exhausted, but extremely HAPPY! “says Nathalie. “It really is a great experience, which the students really appreciate and one which has a positive impact both in academic and relational terms.” This was further confirmed by Éva, who wrote to her teachers at the end of the mission: “I wanted to thank you because the Innovation Field Project was very rewarding and challenging. I also really liked the group I was working with during the module. We were all perfectly complementary Thank you also for your sound advice, energy and generosity.”
Bravo to the students for their commitment to this mission and for the ideas and solutions they came up with, which aroused great interest from the participating companies, all three of which were impressed by the work carried out and the quality of the presentations.