Bentley University Professor and Senior Lecturer of Marketing Pierre Berthon and Perry Lowe Win EFMD Award for Excellence in Practice
Bentley University Professor and Clifford F Youse Chair of Research Pierre Berthon and Senior Lecturer of Marketing Perry Lowe received the 2010 Excellence in Practice Award from the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), a global organization devoted to the continuous improvement of management education, for their project "Prism, KickApps and Bentley University: An Innovative Case of Synergistic Learning and Development between Venture Capital, Startup and University." The case study was co-written with Prism VentureWorks Partner Woody Benson (Bentley, '80) and Chief Executive Officer of KickApps Alex Blum.
Through this study, Berthon, Lowe, Benson and Blum explored the successful interaction between a university (Bentley), a social software platform startup (KickApps), and venture capital enterprise (Prism VentureWorks), and uncovered learning and development benefits for all parties from both a managerial and academic perspective. The study utilized MBA students simultaneously acting as experiential learners and as consultants for KickApps and Prism.
"One of the biggest challenges facing management research and education is relevance - relevance of knowledge and experience, and corporate immersion is one solution," says Dr. Berthon. "Through immersion, abstract knowledge is used to create value for business and business supplies academia with the problems and practice that students need to contextualize knowledge. However, successfully designing and implementing such initiatives is not simple, which is why the EFMD set up this competition. We are grateful that they acknowledged our initiative as an award-winning example of synergistic learning."
The EFMD panel of judges was particularly impressed with the following aspects of the project: its challenging, innovative and courageous approach to deal with various business and learning issues; its clear ownership and commitment of stakeholders; and its blended learning approach by combining IT, classes, group meetings, consultancy, assignments and research.
"We are honored to be recognized for our efforts by such a prestigious organization as EFMD," said Lowe. "This award reminds us that academic success and business success are not mutually exclusive but in fact, interconnected on so many important levels that those in the corporate world tend to overlook."
The study concluded that everyone involved in this unconventional, three-way partnership emerged a winner. Bentley students learned invaluable business practices firsthand, and the students' perspective illuminated conclusions that Mr. Benson, a veteran businessman with more than 30 years experience in the high tech industry and ten years in venture capital, could likely have missed. In addition, market research from Bentley students led to strategic company expansion for KickApps. Mr. Benson reflects, "Watching students learn is one thing, seeing them thrive in a real business setting, acting empowered as they work with management and knowing they will use those same skills the next day in their day jobs, is quite another. We have seen the coming of age of social media and the Bentley students have helped KickApps in their quest to be a leading vendor in this explosive sector."
Due to the overwhelming success, the three parties have agreed to extend their partnership. Prism and Bentley are currently preparing further corporate immersion programs using other Prism-backed startups. Learn more about the partnership and the Bentley corporate immersion program here.
PRISM VENTUREWORKS (www.prismventure.com) is an early stage venture capital firm focused on disruptive segments in the Digital Media, Life Sciences, and Software & Services sectors. The firm is comprised of a committed team of investors whose industry operating heritage and domain depth make them valued partners among entrepreneurs and syndicates in building successful businesses. Founded in 1996, the Firm has approximately $1.25 billion in capital under management and is based in Needham, MA.
KICKAPPS, an award winning Social Software Platform, provides on-demand social media, online video and widget applications that enable web publishers and marketers to drive deeper customer relationships, and grow, engage and monetize online audiences. Its SaaS platform includes a suite of applications that include, social networking, user-generated content, programmable social video players, drag-and-drop widget building, WidgeADsTM and many others that are tightly integrated with robust media moderation, member management and reporting. Customers include: NBC Universal, ProSieben, Guinness World Records, Scripps Network Interactive, HBO, Cinemax, Cox Television, the Phoenix Suns, the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers and thousands of other web sites. For more information, visit www.kickapps.com or www.kickdeveloper.com.