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Corporate Entrepreneurship Students Use Design Thinking to Offer Alternatives to Fifth Third

July 2013

A team of Corporate Entrepreneurship students worked closely with Fifth Third Bank to address an opportunity within the Business Banking Line of Business. The students were charged with finding a "disruptive" solution to transform the relationship between small business owners and banks. The students also researched methods/tools for entrepreneurs and small business owners to delegate more of the administrative duties so they could focus on generating revenue and building customer relationships.

Fifth Third executives presented the charge to the students and they jointly created a project plan and formal engagement letter. An aggressive customer research campaign was conducted and completed during the first half of the semester. The student "consultants" presented their findings to Fifth Third at the corporate headquarters.

The second half of the semester, students combined their research results with info gleaned from multiple brainstorming sessions. Using "design thinking" tools and techniques, they developed an opportunity that Fifth Third executives had not yet considered.

The final presentation included two very innovative solutions to the bank's problem. Michael Rash, Senior Vice President, Business Banking, remarked, "I have to tell you how proud I was of the two teams yesterday. I thought they did a great job of not only bringing forth a change opportunity (and by the way it was spot on and included things we had not yet contemplated), but also in the way they presented themselves. The entire consulting engagement yielded two important solutions."

It was a win for the students, as well. One noted, "This course gave me the opportunity to apply my thinking to a real world consulting engagement. It broadened the scope of my thinking process and allowed me to see how effective I can be with a team when we are all giving it our best effort."