This year Waggl sponsored a team of Babson College Business School’s CiTE program students to identify innovative ways to scale growth and differentiation
|Waggl’s Alex Kinnebrew and Anton Franckeiss with Babson professor Allan Cohen and CiTE Students.
By: Alex Kinnebrew, Head of Strategy
WHY WAGGL and CiTE
This spring marked Waggl’s first year of participation in the Consulting in Technology Entrepreneurship (CiTE) program at Babson College. Waggl’s CEO and Founder, Michael Papay, is a Babson alumnus, and the CiTE program is dedicated to teaching students about entrepreneurship and innovation. For these reasons, we were thrilled to sponsor a student project and help Babson expand its unique entrepreneur community.
Participating in the Babson CiTE program also spoke to our core Waggl values. We believe a diversity of voices is essential to smart decision making. More often than not, teams and leaders do not leave their comfort zones when looking for answers or inspiration — even at their peril. By design, Waggl invites many voices to address a question or need, then relies on the wisdom of the crowd to help identify the best and most relevant responses — no matter where or from whom these come from. Simply, we believe this approach to solving the toughest, most important problems is the smartest thing any organization can do. Waggl helps companies leverage talent they don’t even know they have!
In this spirit, we were confident the undergraduates would produce compelling research that could bring fresh thinking to Waggl. To our delight, we were just as impressed by the quality of business insights and thoughtful recommendations delivered by the students. Many of these we are able to incorporate immediately into various aspects of our annual growth plan.
PROGRAM AND PRESENTATION
As sponsors of the CiTE program we traveled to the Babson SF Campus in late January to introduce Waggl and frame a project topic for their consideration. We asked, “How Can Waggl Leverage Network Effect to Grow our Business?” This topic was more abstract than other ‘client’ topics, however we liked it because it was applicable for us, and equally appropriate to today’s business environment. The esteemed Professor Allan Cohen who directs the CiTE program was also thrilled to see the students challenged by a strategic question faced by many early-stage companies.
Over the course of the semester, Waggl was pleased to host the students on several occasions at our Sausalito headquarters. By getting to know who on the Waggl team was working on what, students experienced first-hand both the opportunities and constraints that often face a growing company. Michael Papay recalled the Babson visits:
“There’s something we drew from an energy perspective…the students sparked our imagination. In return, I think our team’s raw interest and enthusiasm for their work was contagious. I’m proud as a Babson alumnus that college Juniors could come in, hang with our team, and offer strategic business insights that will elevate Waggl’s mission and brand.”
In addition to my own close engagement as Head of Strategy, we also involved Wagglers from other functions (e.g. Sales, Marketing, Customer Success) in weekly progress reviews. The students were routinely exposed to new and sometimes divergent opinions which ultimately helped them sharpen their focus and gain confidence in their project direction.
The team’s final presentation was an superb synthesis of research and business concept development. As someone who has worked for a decade in that grey (and infinitely rich) space between business and design, I was pleased to see the team navigate through ambiguity to produce something concrete and actionable. Just as hoped, we are excited to welcome the Babson community and a new generation of young thought leaders to our Waggl family. We look forward to our next Babson CiTE project as a way to promote strong learning on both sides and further strides toward the kind of innovation that builds great companies and fuels exponential growth!
Babson is an independent, not-for-profit higher learning institution. Their undergraduate program provides a top-flight business education, and revolves around their core values of innovation, diversity, integrity, collaboration and excellence. The program offers an semester opportunity for students in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to a thriving technology and innovation ecosystem.