After experiencing what was undoubtedly one of the highlights of first year, with the Rotman Design Challenge 2012 (RDC 2012), I was determined to pay it forward when the 2013 edition came along. While the competition itself only took place in March of this year, fervent preparations for RDC 2013 began in earnest shortly after our first year came to a close. From pitching to prospective clients, to liaising with our competition sponsor, to liaising with generous partners, to scouting locations, to inviting judges, to inviting speakers, to developing learning program, to managing internal and external teams, to managing multiple communication channels, to finally putting together “one of the most awesome case competitions ever” (testimonial by an enthusiastic participant!), and I was very fortunate to be a part of the awesome team behind the magic.
As the RDC Sponsor, Target challenged teams to find an innovative solution to, “How can Target leverage it’s ‘Expect More. Pay Less®’ brand promise and it’s mantra of ‘Design for All’ to become and be recognized as a leading company in sustainability?” Our eager participants came from schools across Canada, United States and Europe (we went international in just our third year!), from Aalto University, California College of the Arts, Darden School of Business, IIT Institute of Design, Ivey School of Business, McCombs School of Business, Ontario College of Art & Design, Sauder School of Business, Sloan School of Management, and of course, the Rotman School of Management. 125 eager business designers fully immersed themselves in the challenge, using business and design techniques and frameworks, to create amazingly creative concepts inspired by unique user insights. And their presentations resonated the words of our keynote speaker, Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management, offering a creative and “productive combination of analytical & intuitive thinking” to move the business world forward. Innovation was the theme of the day, with Daniel Duty from Target saying how, “engaging with their guests and building brand love, requires constant innovation.” Kate Heiny also offered words of wisdom for our eager participants, “Dream big, make it simple, make it look good, and you should be set!”
The Judges did not have an easy task as they deliberated extensively (timing one of the rooms was highly enlightening – so much wisdom & insight from our Judges!) to select the final 5 teams from IIT Design, OCAD, MIT Sloan and Rotman (It was a proud day for Rotmanites when two of their teams went into the final round!). The final round judges had an even trickier task as they reviewed, questioned and debated, before awarding first place to ‘Team Meta’ from IIT Design, second place to ‘We Almost Forgot Our Passports’ from MIT Sloan, and third place to ‘P-Type’ from Rotman! Yay! 😀
The RDC was an incredibly exhausting, yet amazingly exciting experience, and I particularly enjoyed meeting with eager business designers from different schools. In short, the RDC was like a design melting pot, where like-minded individuals came together, to share their curiosity, creativity, and commitment to innovation, and I can’t wait to see what the next year’s team has in store for Rotman and business design!