In the pre-departure meeting my team and I learned our client was Maxview Group – a real estate company/boutique relocation specialist to Fortune 100 companies seeking to settle executives into Shanghai, China. None of us had experience in real estate, or knew yet the exact details of the project we were about to embark on. Further, when we arrived we learned that Maxview was in the midst of a physical renovation of their office, as well as a digital renovation of their product and service offerings. Working with an in-house IT team, Maxview sought to mount several new digital products, and had just signed on to a new project with a large international carmaker. Our presentation focused on introducing them to some of the lean startup techniques that had revolutionized Silicon Valley and that we hoped would help them effectively transition into a leaner digital company from a physical real estate company.
Having just finished first semester classes in strategy and marketing, our team applied some of the most basic building blocks we had learned to Maxview’s situation. Principally, we ended up doing a few examples of potential customer segment profiles we believed they could reach with their new digital products. We also took on a crash course in lean startup methods, and worked to relate them back to basic analysis tools we had learned like SWOT and Porter’s Five Forces to help better understand the differences between the U.S. real estate market and the unique real estate market in Shanghai.
This project was a nice blend of allowing team members to use their strengths where applicable, while challenging all of us to learn new material and make recommendations with this information. One of our members has had experience in digital marketing, which translated well into the customer segment profiles and general solutions we offered. Another has a design background and zeroed in on the idea of offering innovation as a core competency that we had observed in Maxview’s shift towards digital platforms. While we were largely pointing out actions we already saw Maxview taking, we were also able to offer a presentation focused on innovative strategies because of her past experience.
Our principal point of contact was Maxview’s Director of Marketing, and we built a positive dialogue with him on the transition Maxview was making, taking care to be inquisitive with him in particular because he had spearheaded several of the new digital products we worked on suggestions for. Ultimately, the feedback we provided was more generalized than specific, which ended up being a positive choice in light of the fact that we learned about a whole new product in development from the CEO/Founder at our final presentation. Ultimately, we believe Maxview to be an innovative company on the brink of a major transformation of its core business into a radically new field. We hope we provided solid recommendations of lean startup innovation practices for a rapidly shifting company in a rapidly changing market.
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