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Logical Structuring Case Competition Training. Strategy and Operations January 8, 2008. Logical Structuring Agenda . Purpose and Objectives Logical Structuring & Storyboarding Quantitative and Qualitative Observations Professionalism Do’s and Don’ts Appendix . Purpose

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logical structuring case competition training

Logical StructuringCase Competition Training

Strategy and Operations

January 8, 2008

logical structuring agenda
Logical Structuring Agenda

Purpose and Objectives

Logical Structuring & Storyboarding

Quantitative and Qualitative Observations


Do’s and Don’ts




  • The purpose of this session is to help prepare you for this week’s case competition.
  • Objectives
  • By the end of this session you should have a better understanding of:
  • How to logically structure a case presentation:
    • Logical Structuring & Storyboarding
  • How to use quantitative and qualitative data to support your research
    • Research Tips
    • Example
  • How to execute a successful presentation:
    • Professionalism
  • Examples of previous presentations:
    • DOs & DON’Ts
logical structuring agenda4
Logical Structuring Agenda

Purpose and Objectives

Logical Structuring & Storyboarding

Quantitative and Qualitative Observations


Do’s and Don’ts



Why does structure matter?

  • Makes the message precise
    • Forces the writer to be “dead clear” about what they are communicating to the reader, preventing messages that are unclear, unintended, or intellectually empty
  • Reveals gaps in thinking
    • Enables the writer to identify gaps by anticipating and responding to the reader’s questions before the communication is delivered
  • Provides clarity to the reader
    • Prevents the reader from “working” to understand the message, thereby eliminating the possibility that your message is misunderstood or ignored entirely

Memo AJohn Collins telephoned to say he can’t make the meeting at 9:00. Hal Johnson says he doesn’t mind making it later or even tomorrow, but not before 10:30 and Don Clifford won’t return from Frankfurt until tomorrow late. The conference room is booked tomorrow, but free on Thursday. Thursday at 11:00 looks to be a good time. Is that okay with you?

Memo BCould we reschedule today’s 9:00 meeting to Thursday at 11:00? This would make it more convenient for Collins and Johnson, and would permit Clifford to be present. It is also the only other time this week that the conference room is free.


The Pyramid Structure

Governing Thought:States the answer to the question raised in the readers mind

Explains how or why

Key Line:

Major points which, taken together prove the answer


Data and facts which support the key line


An Unstructured Communication

  • ABC should go online
  • and the first priority should be to defend its current market share

Primary benefits

of the internet



and threats

ABC’s current customers are more likely to shop online than the general population

ABC’s competitors are increasing their online product assortment

Without an

online channel ABC risks losing some customers to competitors

ABC’s online sales in 2005 could reach $100mm


market share



Develop deeper relationships

with customers

Support ABC’s operating



A Structured Communication

  • Acme can reduce costs by $10mm in the next 2 years through some operational improvements

Governing Thought:

Differentiate service levels to save $2mm

Re-engineer core functions to save $5mm

Outsource non-core

functions to save $3mm

Key Line:

Evaluate internal cost of core function

Compare cost of function to best-in-class benchmarks

Adopt best practices based on benchmarks

Select non-core functions

Evaluate cost and service level of potential partners

Choose one partner for each function

Segment customers by value

Determine economic level of service for each segment

Shift lower value segments to lower cost channels



Three Key Rules to Apply When Building a Pyramid

  • Ideas at any level must be summaries of the ideas grouped below
    • Derived from high-level ideas
    • Point of a paragraph is a summary of the sentences it contains
  • Idea in each grouping must always be the same kind of ideas
    • All ideas are from the same logical grouping
    • Label idea with a plural noun
  • Ideas in each grouping must be in a logical order
    • Deductively
    • Chronologically
    • Structurally
    • Comparatively

Elements of the Introduction

  • Situation:

A statement about the subject with which you know the reader will agree

  • Complication:

The complicating event that create the tension in the story

Governing Thought:

  • Question:

The implicit question that results from the complication


Key Line:



Structuring a Response to How

S: Acme must increase its focus on the coyote market

C: Acme is not currently focused on the coyote market

Q: How can Acme focus on the coyote market?

Acme must develop a value proposition tailored to the coyote market.

Governing Thought:


Key Line:

Understand the uniqueneeds of coyotes

Adapt product line to meet coyote needs

Educate coyotes on Acme’s ability to meet their needs

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3


Structuring a Response to Why

S: Approval for DrugsRUs new lifestyle drug Antizak is taking longer than expected

C: DrugsRUs can spend $25 million to accelerate the approval process

Q: Should DrugsRUs spend $25 million to accelerate the approval process?

DrugsRUs should spend $25 million to accelerate the approval process for Antizak

Governing Thought:


The Antizak market is expected to top $1 billion per year

Earlier approval allows DrugRUs more time before patent protection expires, which is worth $200 million in profit

Competitors are developing a substitute that may capture the market if launched first

Key Line:

Reason 1

Reason 2

Reason 3

which question is raised how or why
Which Question is Raised - How or Why?

S: The plant is not meeting its widget production goals

C: The production line is frequently stopped because of insufficient parts

Q: What should the plant do differently?

A: The parts procurement process needs to be redesigned to reduce fulfillment time

S: Sow’s Ear Inc. developed a silk purse product line 2 years ago

C: Since then, the silk purse division has been unprofitable

Q: What should Sow’s Ear do?

A: Sow’s Ear Inc. should abandon its silk purse product line

S: ABC, a book retailer, is considering developing an online channel

C: The online retail book market is dominated by 2 strong players

Q: Should ABC develop an online channel?

A: Yes, ABC should go online

S: You have undertaken a number of initiatives to improve customer service

C: Customer service continues to result in decreased customer satisfaction

Q: How can we improve customers service?

A: We must redesign customer service


List the Points

Identify the Type of Point

Summarize the Points

Order the Points

Clarifying Grouped Ideas

  • Synthesize findings from interviews, research and analysis
  • Create a list of key points
  • Put the points into categories by defining the kind of problem being discussed, attempting to use similar level of abstraction across categories
  • Write a sentence that states the “essence” of each category
  • Put the points in logical order, such as order of importance or time order
  • Activities:

The Importance of MECE


  • Making Dinner:
  • Select menu
  • Buy ingredient
  • Prepare courses
  • Do any of the points overlap?
  • MutuallyExclusive
  • MECE
  • Mobile Phone Types:
  • Analog
  • Digital
  • GSM
  • Reasons to acquire competitor ABC:
  • Complimentary customer base
  • Superior technology
  • Digestible size
  • Have all possibilities been covered?
  • CollectivelyExhaustive

Points across horizontal levels of the pyramid should be MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive)


Creating a storyboard provides an outline for the presentation and the path you will follow:

  • Uses Pyramid Structure as a foundation
  • Maps out the storyline of a presentation
  • Establishes team and judging panel’s expectations about what is to be produced and delivered
  • Helps organize work and define data needs
  • Establishes evaluation frameworks and criteria used in the assessment
  • Facilitates greater productivity and higher quality
  • Keeps an engagement focused
creating the storyboard
Creating the Storyboard


Page 1

Cutting Edge Corporation should close its razor manufacturing operation in Wisconsin and manufacture razors in Mexico

Page 2

Governing Thought:

Overall costs in Mexico are 75% lower than in Wisconsin, resulting in recovery of moving costs in 6 months

Mexico provides an operating environment that is as stable as Wisconsin, ensuring continuity of operations

Manufacturing technology is more advanced in Mexico than in Wisconsin, enabling Cutting Edge to leverageleading edge capabilities

Each requiresa set-uppage

Key Line:


One page for each idea

logical structuring agenda18
Logical Structuring Agenda

Purpose and Objectives

Logical Structuring & Storyboarding

Quantitative and Qualitative Observations


Do’s and Don’ts



Quantitative and Qualitative Observations

  • It’s important to use both quantitative and qualitative observations to support your recommendation
    • Qualitative data and analysis is required as hard justification for your recommendation (e.g., dollar savings, head count reduction)
    • Qualitative data can be used to support and explain the meaning of quantitative research
    • Combining methods leads to a balanced, persuasive argument

Research Tips

  • Structuring your research using a defined approach can help you research effectively in a short period of time
    • Several models can be applied to help you structure your research. One example is Porter’s Five Forces
  • Your approach to case research should mirror the logical structuring of your presentation
    • Governing Thought (Recommendation)  Key Lines  Support
  • But how do you know what your recommendations are before conducting your research?
  • Answer: Guess.
    • Based on your initial impressions of the case, generate some hypotheses on what you think the company should do. Then, based on your hypotheses, look for supporting evidence
    • The advantage of this approach is that it can dramatically reduce the amount of time spent on research. You will be focusing your efforts on facts that support your hypotheses
  • Begin by creating a research log
    • This is a file that documents all of the research sources that have been reviewed and includes a summary of key findings, facts and sourcing information. A research log allows for easy dissemination of key findings saving time. Assign a format and owner up front
logical structuring agenda22
Logical Structuring Agenda

Purpose and Objectives

Logical Structuring & Storyboarding

Quantitative and Qualitative Observations


Do’s and Don’ts



Professionalism – Execution of the presentation

There are two key avenues for case competitors to convey professionalism:

    • The execution of the presentation
    • The presentation materials
  • Assign roles early – subject matter experts and presenters
    • Who answers questions on which topics?
  • Rehearse the presentation to clearly define:
    • Sequence – what order will the team members will present in?
    • Duration – how long should each section take?
    • Hand-offs – how will each section of the presentation smoothly and logically transition from one team member to the next?
    • Contingency plan – which sections could be reduced or eliminated?
  • Pay special attention to numbers, statistics, charts and analysis
    • Inability to convincingly defend figures is a common pitfall
    • Be able to recall sources and assumptions without having to use reference material

Professionalism – Presentation Materials

  • Alignment
    • Check text and object alignment to ensure a consistent look across slides
    • Ensure headings and text boxes are in the same place, as you flip through your slides
  • Colour Scheme
    • A muted colour scheme is generally recommended
    • Avoid dark backgrounds, very bright colours or too many colours
    • Ensure that your colour scheme both prints well and projects well
  • Font
    • Sans-serif font styles tend to work best: Arial, Verdana, Tahoma
    • Font size should be readable, but not too large (min ~12pt)
  • Consistency
    • Be consistent with font size, font style and colour scheme
    • Be consistent with punctuation at the end of bullets - Either use it or do not, but do not use it inconsistently
    • Be consistent with overall structure—i.e. use of tag lines versus just headers
    • Use the slide master to create a template to ensure consistency
logical structuring agenda25
Logical Structuring Agenda

Purpose and Objectives

Logical Structuring & Storyboarding

Quantitative and Qualitative Observations


Do’s and Don’ts



DOs & DON’Ts


  • Brainstorm as a team to develop a strategy and agree to an execution plan
  • Divide and conquer the work to efficiently execute on the plan
    • Determine required tasks, dependencies and agree to roles for each team member
    • Have each person create their slides based on an agreed upon template (designed in ‘Slide Master’)
  • Avoid ‘version control’ issues by having one person own the ‘master’ and others provide send over their slides for inclusion in the master
  • Proof-read your presentation for spelling, grammar, content and logic
  • Recognize each others’ strengths in determining roles for the presentation
    • Group members should present material they are most comfortable with
    • Confident speakers can present larger portions of the presentation
  • Leave time to rest the night before the presentation

DOs & DON’Ts


  • Don’t fall victim to ‘analysis paralysis’
    • Instead, set a deadline for making a recommendation decision and stick to it
    • You will not come up with a recommendation that is irrefutable and 100% supported by the facts, so at some point, your group must make a decision and run with it – spend the rest of the time supporting your decision and creating a compelling story
  • Don’t let disagreements impact your team’s dynamics
    • Agree upfront on a conflict resolution method (e.g. vote or unanimous agreement)
    • Disagreements can lead to productive discussions, so take a few minutes to hear each point of view and then make a decision on next steps
  • Don’t leave facts or figures unsourced – always include references in the research log for easy footnoting in your final presentation
  • Don’t leave formatting until the end
last year s case competition topic
Last Year’s Case Competition Topic
  • Question
  • In early 2006, managers in technology and media companies around the world observed Google with awe, envy, and fear. The company’s opportunities seemed boundless. What would Google do next?
  • Two Options
  • One option was to stay focused on the company’s distinctive competence: developing superior search solutions and monetizing those solutions through targeted advertising.
  • Alternatively, Google could branch into new arenas:
    • Build Google into a portal like Yahoo! Or MSN by aggregating content into thematic channels
    • Extend Google’s role in e-commerce beyond search into a more active role as an intermediary facilitating transactions
    • Challenge Microsoft’s hegemony over the PC desktop by developing products to compete with Office and Windows

Evaluation Criteria

  • Analysis
  • Identified key problems
  • Used supporting facts/data
  • Drew accurate conclusions
  • Considered risk
  • Offered original insights
  • Presentation
  • Spoke clearly and concisely
  • Structured storyline well
  • Slides were visually attractive
  • Showed enthusiasm and professionalism
  • Recommendation
  • Followed logically from analysis
  • Dealt with all issues raised
  • Used decision criteria
  • Showed sounds business judgment
  • End result was practical/realistic
  • Question & Answer
  • Answered question posed
  • Provided convincing explanations
  • Admitted weakness
  • Answered as a team

Terry Huang

Aron Lau

Ke Zhang

Godmans Chow

what is the situation
What is the situation?
  • Question: What should Google do?
  • Complication: Company is facing boundless opportunities.
  • Stay focused with Google’s distinctive competencies.
  • Branch into new arenas.
  • Recommendation: Google should stay with its core competencies – providing superior search solutions
  • $6.5 billion by end of 2011


overview of the approach
Overview of the approach
  • Measurement Metrics:
  • Market Potential
  • Fit with Mission

Option 1

Option 2

google should stay focus with its core competence
Google should stay focus with its core competence
  • Driven by Company Philosophy
  • It is best to do one thing really, really well – developing superior search solutions
  • Market Potential
  • Has opportunity to further monetize its search solutions through targeted advertising

Charts’ data sourced from provided Business Case Description


Google should not branch into new arenas. The three arenas proposed deviates from the company mission, or have tremendous risks (market potential).

  • Google’s mission - To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Inconsistent Font

Build Google into a portal

“We’re not in the portal business, we’re in the business of making all the world’s information accessible and useful.”

- Schemidt

Extend Google’s role in e-commerce

Acting as an intermediary facilitating transactions (Google Checkout) is consistent with the mission of the company.

Develop products to compete with Office and Windows

“There is strategic leverage in building an ecosystem around content and advertising that is an extension of our search mission.”

- Schemidt

Google should not extend in e-commerce or develop products to compete with Microsoft due to the high risks (market potential) involved.
  • Extend Google’s role in e-commerce
  • 1. Strong competition:
  • eBay has 39.2% of the e-commerce market. eBay facilitates eCommerce by offering tools such as PayPal1.
  • PayPal has 24% market share of U.S. online payments market. It is eBay’s major electronic payment method1.
  • 2. No incentive for PayPal users to switch to using Google Checkout
  • 3. Despite Google Checkout’s launch in June, 2006. PayPal posted revenues of $417 million, a 37% growth rate compared with 2005’s fourth quarter2.

Inconsistent Alignment

1 Wikipedia.org

2 CNN.com

Google should not extend in e-commerce or develop products to compete with Microsoft due to the high risks (market potential) involved.
  • 1. Strong competition: Microsoft
  • 2. Difficult for new entrant: OpenOffice currently only has 14% of the enterprise software market as of 2004 – Hard to convince user to switch to new desktop applications1
  • 3. Relatively small potential revenue
  • The market for Office is only an annual revenue of $1 billion1
  • Too small of a market size comparing to Google's currently advertising business (140 million vs. 6.1 billion)

Develop products to compete with Office and Windows

1 Wikipedia.org

Google should continue to strengthen its expansion into the international online advertisement market.

U.S. internet user is 30% of all users in the world.

By 2009, it will decrease and become 27.7%.

U.S. online ads spending slowed down recently while online ads spending from the international market are increasing at a faster speed.



The Winning Case Used Extensive DATA to Back Up its Statement

We believe the emerging mobile advertising market is a fit for both Google’s technological expertise and philosophies.
  • The potential of the mobile user base is promising, projected to rise to 1 billion users of 3G data services by 2011.
  • Mobile advertising revenues is expected to reach $2.9 billion dollars by 2011.

More Data!!

Asia – Europe Business: 3G in the world : June 20th 2006

TVweek.com: Nov 15th 2006

We believe the emerging narrowcasting market is a fit for both Google’s technological expertise and philosophies.
  • Narrowcasting revenue in the US is projected to reach $1.2 billion by 2009 - >$700 million in network/software operations.
  • Targeted online gaming advertising worth is projected to be worth $0.5 billion by 2010.

Even More Data!!!

CapV InfoStats March 2005

Businessweek Jan 2007

Google can approach to enter the international online searching and advertising market with relative ease.
  • To continue strength its expansion in the international online advertisement market
  • Identify potential international market to expand its service

Conduct market research to understand customer behavior

Develop localized applications and adapt to taste of local customers

Cooperate with local business (partnership, M&A)

google can approach to enter the narrowcasting and mobile advertising market with relative ease
Google can approach to enter the narrowcasting and mobile advertising market with relative ease

Inconsistent Font

  • Tie into the current and emerging markets with Google’s current technology and infrastructure.











Targeted User






Public Spaces




Mobile device users



San Fran Wifi


Game developers


Mobile service providers



google s projected growth in the next 5 years
Google’s projected growth in the next 5 years

Recommendation Again Backed Up by DATA!

Clear Visual Representation