Hult Business Challenge BOS Autumn/Fall 2021 Introductions Dr. Poynter’s Role: Mentor –

Hult Business Challenge

BOS Autumn/Fall 2021


Dr. Poynter’s Role: Mentor – not Lecturer/Teacher. You drive, the Mentor answers questions and provides suggestions in order to avoid crashes.

Course page:

Campus – classes, announcements, local module

Course Description & Timelines

Client virtual visit and course kickoff Tuesday 7 Sept 1300 USA ET. Global – all students.

Client: “IBM’s Innovation Studios”

Workshops: ~3 Boston

Team formation: by Wednesday 15 September. Size 4-5 people.

Innovation Studios (IS)

Your Mentor wrote the following to the client on 7 September – Via London. IS’s (Wolfgang’s) Reply (Your mentor will seldom do this.)

Q – The Innovation Studio appears to be IBM’s Marketing & Sales R&D unit – 120 people in 20 locations who advise 350,000 IBM employees on how to improve their own marketing and sales activities.  
A – I would more say that the IBM Innovation Studios are 

a) an on-site location to experience IBM and our technology and 

b) a team of experts supporting pre-sales activities (such as technology explorations, design thinking workshops, or external events).

Q – The key word here is “improve”.  With that in mind, can you provide us with some insights into the current sales approaches.  E.G. excerpts of a sales pitch, videos, events, post-purchase training video, etc.   Failing that, a general description of what usually occurs when your sales teams sell.  I recognize there may be no “usual”.

A – We categorize our meetings in five distinct categories (see slide 48 in the deck): 

1. Events (typically multi-client and larger groups)

2. Industry Explorations (more high-level overviews on possible technologies and use-cases, typically at the beginning of the sales cycle)

3. IBM Garage Framing(workshops to get from idea to actionable path forward)

4. Client Briefing (in-depth discussion about a client’s problem and proposed IBM solution of product or service)

5. Post-Sales (Meeting after deal closure to define a roadmap for implementation for service or optimize usage of sold product)


Also these different types of briefings are along the following high-level sales stages (see slide 56 in the deck)

Q – What is the likely identity of the client’s decision-maker – “C” level, tech, finance, etc.

A – The target audience for us is very very diverse, reaching from junior developers, all the way to the C-suite. It depends on the customer, the use-case and the product or service we are selling. However, typically the most impactful visits are with key decision makers that have buying and decision power, so C-suid and Line of Business heads, most often from either IT, Data, Technology (CIO, CDO, CTO) or Business (CEO, CFO, COO) lines.


Further unsolicited information from the client received 13 September:

“While we are renaming our centers to IBM Innovation Studio, different companies call their centers where clients visit different names (e.g., Briefing Centers, Center of Excellence, etc.). The Association of Briefing Program Managers ( is an association where 600 companies exchange information and best practices related to client centers. This information might further define for the professors and students the general function of our business.”


Mentor’s comments onThe Challenge (The Mentor is NOT your client):

“A” – Essentially 4 separate questions about the operation, perception, and strategy of IS.

“B” – The core deliverable – the “meat” according to Wolfgang. Four related questions.

“C” – How to implement your solutions to A and B within IS around the world, and a unclear question about “financing the projects”.


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