The mission of Pacific Challenge custom workshops is to develop and deliver customized learning experiences that create competitive advantage for leading corporations and government labs.
Our workshops are custom programs co-designed with each client, who are either users of technology or generators of technology. The former, for example, financial services organisations, agribusiness, or firms getting clear business value from e-commerce, attend our workshops so they can time their investments in new technology – neither too early nor too late. The latter, technology based organisations, look to improve the return on their R&D dollar, both in time-to-market and development cost.
And both types of clients wish to improve their competitiveness and their agility in an increasingly globalised environment.
Learning outcomes tend to differ from one workshop to the next, as they relate directly to the defined goals of each tailored experience. . However, we spend a good deal of time defining these outcomes during the design of each program, since they are an essential planning and measuring tool. Some outcomes are precise knowledge acquisition, e.g., service oriented architecture, or wireless networks, others are behavioral, e.g., to become more comfortable with strategic conversations, or organizational design.
Why Pacific Challenge?
With more than 10 years experience in Executive Education, we
- use our extensive network to suggest workshop agendas which challenge our clients to reach for stronger leadership capacity of both individuals and their organizations.
- leverage the operating experience of our international teaching staff to provide advanced learning opportunities for our clients
- employ measures wherever we can – of our own effectiveness, and of the technologies or management techniques being covered in our workshops.
Part of our commitment to active learning is the use of cases. For example, we use Flextronics to illustrate the changes in electronics manufacturing to ODMs, and the move of Medtronics to platform technologies for its cardiac pacemaker product development helps us discuss organisational design. Documentum illustrates focus, and Atlassian shows an Australian software company going global. Google leads to great workshop discussions on culture as well as illustrating the birth of a new media company. The cases come from Harvard Business School, Stanford, or from our own experience in the United States, Australia, and Asia.
In the nineties, our work with senior teams helped them understand the strategic opportunities and risks presented by the Internet. For example, with our retail bank clients, following their early excursions into Internet banking we guided them in their adoption, or rejection, of emerging opportunities, such as bill presentment, person-to-person payments, for instance PayPal, wireless banking, and the electronic wallet.
Once all business became e-business, firms no longer debated the business value from the Internet. We are well beyond that today -- according to a 2007 McKinsey global survey of executives more than half say they are pleased with their past Internet investments, though some regret not boosting their own capabilities to exploit technology. More executives said they should have acted faster than slower.
And today’s seventeen year old has never debated the value of the Internet, since she has had online experiences for as long as she can remember.
Topics For Your Workshops in the 2020s
Our consulting strategy work and technology strategy work help here, as well as our advisory work with leading venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, since casting a trained eye over investment trends can be a useful guide to workshop agendas.
Topics which have been receiving recent attention in our workshops are wireless sensor networks, applications of machine learning/AI, cloud computing, and the management of innovation.
Wireless sensor networks are collections of tiny nodes which communicate their location, identity, and local measurements of their environment wirelessly over low-power computer networks. A simple form, namely RFID, is beginning to be used in supply chain management in the retail sector. Richer forms are being planned for factory management, agriculture, environmental monitoring, energy exploration, and defence. We cover both business applications, including new business models, of these networks, and the management of innovation in developing new types of networks and new companies.
The ubiquity, reach, and interoperability of the Internet and the availability of broadband have made user-generated content such as wikis, open source software, and blogs a new platform for innovation. We work with our clients on assessing business value from these collaborative activities. Our research contributions and operational practice in collaboration technology from the early nineties helps us.
Big Data is concerned with data sets that are so large that existing methods of capture, storage, sharing, and analysis do not work. For example, keeping entries consistent in relational data bases holding tens of petabytes of data distributed across the globe is not possible. In some cases, it is the complexity of the data, not its size that is the problem. In others, the problem is the real-time nature of the data.
Sources of data are new instruments (astronomy and gene sequencing machines, for example), ecommerce financial transactions, sensor networks, new satellite feeds, and the web. The requirement for new techniques for capture, storage, sharing, and analysis represents both an opportunity for companies (more business value from technology) and a cost (a need to invest in new techniques, especially those that deal with scale and unstructured data).
A useful perspective, providing good historical context, by Steve Lohr is in this New York Times article.
What Clients Say
“The commercialization training I did was very beneficial for my project and for my own professional development. It allowed me to view my project in a broader commercial context and to get some early-stage feedback. As a result of the program I find it much easier to make decisions and to plan ahead I’m now really customer focused and I can weigh up the advantage of one technical feature against another based on how my potential market will respond.”
- a comment from a research scientist at National ICT Australia describing the commercialisation workshops delivered by the Macquarie Institute for Innovation when Craig Mudge led the Institute and its work with NICTA in 2006.
“The program gave a solid overview of the e-Commerce world today with an insight into the near future. It is difficult to obtain such an insight and overview in Australia.”
Shayne Taylor, General Manager, Applied Micro Systems (Australia) Pty Ltd
- a comment on the e-commerce workshops given by Craig Mudge at the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney, 1999, when Mudge used his Silicon Valley base to design challenging workshops.