01 Jun 2020

INSEAD professors honoured as winners in the 2019 EFMD Case Writing Competition

EFMD , Dubois , Smith , Awards , 2020

Craig Smith, the INSEAD Chaired Professor of Ethics and Social Responsibility, has won the Corporate Social Responsibility category for the second consecutive year with his case “Barry Callebaut: Forever Chocolate”. The case was developed in conjunction with Lisa Duke, case writer; and Ron Soonieus, INSEAD Executive-in-Residence.

David Dubois, Associate Professor of Marketing and Cornelius Grupp Fellow in Digital Analytics for Consumer Behaviour at INSEAD, has won the best case award in the Hidden Champions category along with his co-author Jean-Michel Moslonka, CEO of Agalio for their case “Digitally-powered Customer-centricity in the Industrial Gas Sector: The Air Liquide-Airgas Merger".

Organised since 1988, the Competition recognises innovative and impactful case writing and teaching in 17 categories representing critical management areas.

Congratulations to Professors Craig Smith and David Dubois for their winning cases”, says Ziv Carmon, Dean of Research and The Alfred H. Heineken Chaired Professor of Marketing, “We are delighted with the consistently exemplary performance of our faculty in international case writing competitions. This is another example of the commitment of our faculty to creating world-class business cases to support the learning journey of our students.”

Professor Craig Smith’s case “Barry Callebaut: Forever Chocolate delves into the world’s largest B2B cocoa and chocolate company, which transformed from viewing sustainable cocoa as being of little interest to embracing it fully. With a focus on the largest cocoa producing countries of Ivory Coast and Ghana, the case details the myriad interconnected sustainability issues: from how disease and poor agricultural methods can affect a fragile tree that only grows under certain conditions; to poverty, child labour, and the role of women; to climate change, deforestation and corruption. It demonstrates that sustainability needs to be an integral part of the business and illustrates the difficulties encountered. It challenges students to consider what more can be done, and whether this is “radical corporate sustainability”.

Professor Smith says: “Barry Callebaut’s actions to address sustainability in its supply chain, with its ‘Forever Chocolate’ campaign, are illustrative of a company embracing radical corporate sustainability. But the challenges are immense. Executives, MBAs and senior undergraduate students have the opportunity to explore what sustainability would look like that really makes a difference, how that must become an integral part of strategy, how to drive sustainability initiatives across an organization, and the associated metrics necessary to chart progress.”

Professor David Dubois’s case “Digitally-powered Customer-centricity in the Industrial Gas Sector: The Air Liquide-Airgas Merger" sets the stage for a vibrant discussion of how Air Liquide, a leading global gas supplier to the industrial and healthcare sectors, strategically leverages digital technologies – such as social media, mobile, IoT or robotics – to strengthen customer relationships across its broad portfolio of customers following its acquisition of US company Airgas. Serving an increasingly diverse set of customers implies to select and deploy digital technologies within a multi-segment customer-centric strategy. Readers step into the shoes of top Air Liquide executives and take on the task to articulate the transformational steps through which the company created novel tech-driven customer value. The case builds a journey tackling which technological features best address different customer segments as well as how the two companies effectively blended their cultures and approaches to customer centricity, learnt from each other and ultimately turned the company into a glocal champion. 

Professor Dubois comments that, “Winning this award is very meaningful to us. We took a risk by writing a case at the crossroads of three key contemporary business challenges: What does it mean to be customer centric as customers become increasingly diverse? How to build and drive one’s digital transformation and leverage analytics to create new customer value for different segments? How to enact a glocal strategy and strengthen one’s global leadership by using unique local talents and capabilities? We hope our case will help many business professors around the world to generate rich discussions among undergraduate, graduate and executive audiences.”

EFMD is recognised around the world as a high quality accreditation body with 900+ institutional members from academia, business, public service and consultancy across 91 countries. An international judging panel, who reviews more than 400 cases every year, selects the winning cases based on the evaluation criteria:

  • Content: The ability to create a strong and interesting learning experience
  • Form: A good balance between a well-told story and sufficient data
  • The teaching notes: Accompanying each submission to enhance the learner’s experience
  • Innovation: Ideas should improve teaching and student engagement