Subject area: Social entrepreneurship, Positioning strategy, community engagement
Region: United States, Cambridge, MA
Company: The Lilypad
Client: Daniel, the operations director
Dilemma: The Lilypad was a creative and intimate music venue in Cambridge, Massachusetts, closely connected to the community of local residents, and musicians — students who were honing their performing skills and experienced professionals. They hosted an eclectic and unique lineup of live music, including jazz, funk, and classical music, and were open for private events, movie screenings, and performances of comedy and poetry.
The team of students worked on the dilemma: How a company with strong and well-meaning values of serving their communities and clients’ needs could make a profit and still provide services at a fair cost without compromising ethics, legacy, and deep-rooted values.
“The Lilypad” Case as a BE-EDGE Project
The members of this Capstone Course final project team defined “entertainment” and “marketing” as their career interests.
– Noa, a leader of the team who outreached The Lilypad for this project, described her CORE as PRO as “building nontraditional brands and to lead a fast-moving team that believes in taking risks with marketing campaigns.”
– Jonathan’s CORE as PRO: “combining music performance with an affinity for analysis and marketing.”
– Alexanders’ CORE as PRO: social media marketing, building end to end journeys, SQL.
While the team members differed in their CORE as a PRO, each of them considered The Lilypad project as a stepping-stone.
While the members differ in their CORE as a PRO, each of them considered The “Lilypad” project as a stepping-stone.
The team built a close partnership with the operations manager of the business to learn about the history of the business and its issues. The team communicated with other staff members and attended a show there in order to better understand the company’s culture and target customers. The group pulled resources from Census data on Boston and Cambridge as well as industry publications to understand in depth the political, cultural, and economic values of the community and reveal the strategic group and the competitive map for The Lilypad. This research enabled the team to tell a company story that was rich in both data and empathy.
In its effort to generate value for the company and solve the dilemma, the team conducted a thorough market and industry analysis, using the PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, VRIO and SWOT frameworks. Based on findings, the team developed a Blue Ocean Strategy for The Lilypad – a strategy that would allow the Lilypad to avoid direct competition but capitalize on its strong community network.
For the long-term solution, the team recommended establishing partnerships with educational institutions. For each option, the team provided a cost analysis and implementation plan that included necessary cultural and organizational changes in the company and control metrics, along with an explanation for how each option fit with the company’s current strategy and stood to create value.
Besides establishing close ties in the company, each of the team members received a real-life consulting project for the portfolio, relevant to their career interest.
“The Lilypad” case is published in the book “Crafting Your EDGE for Today’s Job Market.” (Emerald Group Publishing, 2019)
As Noa said,
“The capstone course was very meaningful in enabling me to reflect on my skills and abilities and build attainable goals for my professional development. It provided a vehicle for this process and was an opportunity for me to flex my acquired knowledge as well as stretch my abilities in a “real-life” and tangible way. I was free to explore the impacts of business strategy in the music industry; this made the project more personal and meaningful. In my professional career I have leveraged our The Lilypad capstone project in interviews and it has proven a competitive advantage over other applicants and highlighted my strategic thinking skills.”