Business Newsroom

La Trobe Business School

Month: January 2019

It’s all about entrepreneurship ecosystems

LBS was recently fortunate to host an interesting presentation by a distinguished visiting scholar, Professor Steven Johnson from Sheffield Business School where he is Assistant Dean Research.

Steven shared research, collaboration and engagement initiatives currently being developed at Sheffield Business School. Some of these initiatives will be in collaboration with LBS, which brings opportunities to our students and staff.

Professor Steven Johnson with several staff members of the La Trobe Business School

Steven gave a presentation for the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Marketing (EIM) Department on the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the city of Hull. He will further share his research findings with the LBS entrepreneurship team at the upcoming Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange (ACERE) Conference in Sydney, an annual conference co-sponsored by LBS. We will soon share more news about this conference. For any queries, please contact Professor Alex Maritz.

Farm Mate: An idea that went from Mildura to Silicon Valley

Last year, La Trobe University and Hacker Exchange organised the La Trobe University Hackathon in Muldura. The event was part of the La Trobe Accelerator Program (LTAP), a free 12-week program dedicated to support, mentor and provide seed funding to regional start-ups and entrepreneurs.

LBS Agribusiness student Julia Payne and her mother took part in the hackathon and won tickets for a funded trip to Silicon Valley with their idea of “Farm Mate”: a one-stop-shop for all resources and programs to help farmers prioritise tasks and save money. Their trip took part in December 2018 so it was time for Business Newsroom to sit down with Julia and ask her about the trip.

Congratulations on winning those tickets at the hackathon! First of all, what is a hackathon?

In August my Mum and I attended a hackathon run at La Trobe University Mildura Campus. This hackathon was run over a weekend and the whole concept of it was an intensive, thought-provoking weekend to develop an idea we were passionate about. We had to research it, validate it with real customers and put forward a pitch at the end to display the progress we had made during the weekend. The prize up for grabs was three tickets, which was later turned into four, sponsored by the La Trobe Accelerator Program to attend the Hacker Exchange trip to Silicon Valley.

Julia and her mother presenting Farm Mate

Could you tell us more about Farm Mate?

Our winning idea is Farm Mate: a customisable home page for farmers where they can access all of the information they need, relevant to their jobs or tasks, all in one location. This includes weather, drone footage, OH&S, budgeting, mental health, chemicals and more. This platform is enhanced by the networking feature to allow farmers to communicate in a trusted environment, with the aim to remove an element of isolation out of farming. While the idea sounds simple, it’s actually quite complicated to set up. It is a passion of ours and we were able to pitch it in a way that won us a trip to Silicon Valley.

It sounds really interesting! So how was the trip to Silicon Valley?

It was great. While in America, we were based in San Francisco where we lived, worked and explored for two weeks. During this time, we met with many different influential people from Silicon Valley and San Francisco. They told us a lot about what it is like to live and work in America, the protocol differences from Australia, what it is like to be a start-up, how to prototype a product or service, but also about venture capital, marketing and networking. We even learned how to build an app.

Throughout the two weeks we attended the Hacker Exchange program during the day and were encouraged to meet with people in our industries, go to Meetups, and network at the end of the day. This is where we were able to make many connections, many of which we may not realise the value of yet.

It was amazing to see how everybody in the group progressed. The Hacker Exchange program is one like no other. It provided us the opportunity to learn skills and meet people that I would otherwise never have met. In the classroom, you often get told to prototype your product/service but a program like the Hacker Exchange teaches you HOW to prototype. I believe that is the main difference with the classroom environments and is what made the program so much more rewarding.

The Hacker Exchange group at Stanford university

What is the next step for Farm Mate?

A really important lesson we learned was that we are not interested in venture capital and we are not driven by money. We are passionate about our idea, it being about information sharing, networking and easy access to much needed information, and find that it is integral to the future of farming, particularly in Australia.

We believe that we can build the community required to contribute information into the platform, however we are still seeking the technical support and advice to build the platform for both phone and computer. We would like to start small and just contribute the information we already have, freely available to the public on a platform such as a blog. We would like to monitor the reach and need for this information and then slowly develop the web page and app from there. We are at an exciting point in the start-up process, now it is just up to us where we choose to place our next foot along the path to getting Farm Mate up and running!

Julia and her mother in Chicago

Julia Payne is a second year Agribusiness and Accounting student at La Trobe University Mildura. She has been working for Southern Cross Farms as an Agribusiness Assistant since January 2018. Julia completed the La Trobe Accelerator Program in 2018, she has also joined the ABC Heywire and Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation Alumni, as well as being accepted into the La Trobe Hallmark program. Julia is a co-founder of Farm Mate.

Mind the perception gap: Reconceptualising supply chain performance management

In the service industry, success often favours those who deliver higher performance and value in the eyes of their partners and/or end-customers. The performance of the delivered service, however, may not always meet the expectations of the buyer, or the service quality may be evaluated differently by the supply chain partners, leading to a performance shortfall in both cases.

Perception gap

A perception gap refers to the differences in perception among the stakeholders regarding any aspect of the supply chain relationship. But how are such gaps associated with the performance of service supply chains and any resultant performance gaps? How can service supply chain partners identify, quantify, and eliminate the perception gaps?

Above research questions have recently been studied in an international and multi-institutional collaboration project conducted by LBS researcher Dr. Sean Asian, Dr. Dawei Lu (University of Warwick), Dr. Gurdal Ertek (Abu Dhabi University), and Mete Sevinç (Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation, Netherlands). Their results have been published as a research paper, entitled “Mind the perception gap: An integrative performance management framework for service supply chains”, in the International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management (Impact factor 2017: 4.215).

Improving supply chain performance

In this multi-disciplinary project, the project team collaborated with a leading UK-based insurance company to improve their supply chain performance in three phases: First, they investigated the existence of perception and performance gaps along the supplier-buyer interface: Second, examined the association between the perception gaps and the performance: And, third, constructed an integrative framework that factors-in the perception gap into service supply chains and measures them through meta-KPIs.

The presented research confirmed that perception gaps do exist and can have significant association with the performance gaps along the service supply chain. The development of the presented analytical framework for quantifying the gaps extends the theoretical boundary of supply chain performance management and offers a new window to both researchers and practitioners.

Implications

Although the data tested and analysed in this research were sourced from the insurance service industry, the nature of the findings are general and can contribute to a more extensive body of knowledge from which new theories specific to supply chain management may be induced. For example, the presented methodology can be used as the computational engine behind the supply chain initiatives that aim at the identification and elimination of perception gaps. This ultimately can enable them to reduce the perceived gaps to an insignificant level through collaborative efforts, such as sharing key relevant information and synchronizing their perceptions.

Another possible implication is the analysis of data from diverse real-world cases and the observation of patterns across them. While big data is ubiquitously available and data science tools are becoming mainstream, the potential for similar research is practically unlimited. For example, unexplored primary data readily available in companies’ ERP systems (Enterprise Resource Planning), as well as additional secondary data, can be analysed through exploratory, descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive data science techniques to observe phenomena, propose hypotheses, and develop a plethora of general theory that is highly relevant, actionable, and applicable. This research can serve as an example, especially in the supply chain performance management literature, of how such a combined study can be conducted.

 

Dr. Sean (Sobhan) Asian is a management scientist and operations researcher, with special interests in exploring and solving complex Supply Chain Management, Logistics, and Transportation problems. To further discuss this research and explore any possible collaboration please directly contact Dr. Sean Asian (S.Asian@latrobe.edu.au).
 
  • The full paper can be accessed as: Dawei Lu, Sobhan Asian, Gurdal Ertek, Mete Sevinc, (2018) “Mind the perception gap: An integrative performance management framework for service supply chains”, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-09-2017-0302
  • LBS’ United Nations PRME commitments

    In 2007, during the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit in Geneva, the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) were launched. Since then, PRME has become the largest organised relationship between the United Nations and business schools. LBS joined PRME quickly after its inception.

    Last year LBS celebrated its tenth anniversary as a signatory to UN PRME. We also released our latest PRME report and we’re hosting the 2019 CR3+ Conference.

    PRME’s mission

    According to the UN Global Impact the mission of PRME is:

    “To transform business and management education, research and thought leadership globally, while promoting awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals, and developing the responsible business leaders of tomorrow.”

    UN Sustainable Development Goals

    The PRME philosophy sits alongside the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), formally adopted in Paris in 2015, as part of the universal, integrated and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 SDGs balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. The goals and targets provide a framework to stimulate action over the next years in areas of critical importance for the long-term sustainability of human society and the planet.

    PRME report

    LBS just released its latest PRME report (read it here). The report outlines the ongoing commitment to each of the six Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME):

    1. Purpose: Develop the capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy.

    2. Values: Incorporate the values of global social responsibility as portrayed in international initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact.

    3. Method: create educational frameworks, materials, processes and environments that enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership.

    4. Research: Engage in conceptual and empirical research that advances our understanding about the role, dynamics, and impact of corporations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value.

    5. Partnership: Interact with managers of business corporations to extend our knowledge of their challenges in meeting social and environmental responsibilities and to explore jointly effective approaches to meeting these challenges.

    6. Dialogue: Facilitate and support dialogue and debate among educators, students, business, government, consumers, media, civil society organisations and other interested groups and stakeholders on critical issues related to global social responsibility and sustainability.

    CR3+ Conference

    Besides our 10th year anniversary, and the release of our PRME report, LBS is also hosting the seventh edition of the CR3+ Conference in late 2019. CR3+ is a partnership between LBS, Audencia Business School (France), Hanken School of Economics (Finland) and ISAE Brazilian Business School (Brazil). The partnership builds on the schools’ involvement with PRME.

    The topic of the CR3+ Conference is “Using Dialogue to Build Partnerships for Sustainability”. More information about this great conference can be found here.

    If you want to know more about LBS’ involvement with PRME, please email Dr Swati Nagpal.

    Research collaboration between LBS and Thuongmai University

    Happy New Year! Our first article of 2019 is about Professor Simon Pervan‘s visit to the Thuongmai University, in Hanoi. He was there to discuss research collaboration and to deliver a presentation on future research focus in business, and the publication of academic research. The visit was hosted by Professor Hoang Viet Nguyen, who is the Head of Department of Research Administration. Professor Viet is overseeing a strong program in research development and he and Professor Pervan discussed opportunities for staff at both La Trobe Business School and Thuongmai to collaborate on future research projects.

     Stay tuned for more information about these opportunities.

    Professor Simon Pervan giving a presentation at Thuongmai University

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