Fuso Case Challenge 2021
On November 25th, 2021, MFTBC held its 4th FUSO Case Challenge based on the theme “What can FUSO contribute in order to realize carbon neutrality society”. Nine teams from different universities across Japan participated and presented their ideas to a panel of FUSO judges.
We had the chance to conduct an interview with two members from the winning team, Hailee and Hai. They shared their insights on their ideation process and overall experience.
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FUSO Case Challenge on LinkedIn.
The team presented the idea of a new concept for vehicles called “Plants”. Like the photosynthesis process in actual plants, the vehicles would take in the CO2 through installed carbon re-capture technology. The vehicles, carbon re-capture technology and CO2 recycling facilities would combine to create a Carbon Capture, Storage & Utilization (CCSU) eco-system. The three steps of the proposal are:
- Carbon Capture: the vehicles capture CO2 during their operation.
- Storage: once the vehicles’ carbon storage capacity is reached, it will then be driven to a collection station where the captured carbon would then be stored.
- Utilization: The collected CO2 would then be converted into a useful byproduct. For instance, processes exist to convert CO2 into alternative fuels or even for use in carbonated soft drink beverages.
While unique, this idea was not yet in mind for the team at the start of the Challenge. Initially, the winning team brainstormed around the concept of gamifying sustainability practices at FUSO and digitalizing them via an app. While researching about gamification, the team discovered that the concept had in fact been proposed by a previous winner of the FUSO Case Challenge. Hai, one of the team members joked, “We’re a bunch of careful people, and we wanted to make sure that we presented something new to the judges”. Thankfully, they identified this issue early enough and pivoted towards a more innovative concept.
During the ideation phase of the case Challenge, two of the team members attended a TED talk at their university. At the event, they had the opportunity to meet Kazumi Muraki, a representative director of the Carbon Recovering Research Agency (CRRA), who introduced carbon-capture technology to them. Taking Kazumi Muraki as their inspiration, they proceeded to build their proposal.
The winning team was composed of four members, all of whom attended several case study Challenges in the past. All of them are fourth-year students, studying Business Economics at Tokyo International University.
While preparing their concept for the Challenge, the team also focused on honing their presentation skills. “Coming up with the idea is just one part of the preparation,” Hailee mentioned, “how you deliver your idea, how you conduct your Q&A are also important”. Thus, the team would often give feedback to each other to improve their intonation, facial expressions, etc. They also sought some guidance from their professors to improve their presentation skills.
Another key factor that helped win this Challenge was team cohesion and chemistry. Hai stressed, “When choosing a team, it’s not about how well you know your teammates, but rather, it’s more important that you can work together well”. Hailee also credited the team’s success to their open discussion; even disagreements arose, as well as frequent constructive feedback. These activities helped the team reduce conflict and allowed them to focus on developing the best proposal.
When asked about the difference between the FUSO Case Challenge and others that he previously attended, Hai stated, “Our team really liked all the judges that we met. We can feel that they were genuinely listening to us and are giving us proper feedback.” Hailee also added, “Having judges from different departments also helps give us a combination of different comments which then helps us clarify gray areas in our projects”. Based on the team’s experiences, obtaining quality feedback was more difficult in other Challenges. Hailee also added that the team was surprised and delighted to have the participation of FUSO senior management as final judges.
Participating in this case Challenge allowed the winning team to grow their knowledge about sustainability. Hai stated, “I love that I get to learn more about sustainability and technologies that could help heal our damaged environment”. The team members stated that they were able to learn more while researching their topics, and listening to other teams’ presentations. Hailee mentioned, “Through our research & conversations with various stakeholders, we were able to further grow our base of knowledge about the topic”. Overall, they were happy and proud to be able to participate and represent their university.
The goal of the FUSO case study Challenge is to present real-life business challenges faced by FUSO and the automotive industry to undergraduate students in Japan. We hope that all the participating teams were able to gain knowledge on the future of mobility as well as a glimpse of what they will face once they enter society as working adults. FUSO holds multiple case study Challenges on a yearly basis, while FUSO Greenlab is working on implementing startup acceleration & idea incubation workshops in 2022. If you are interested in learning more or participating in such events, please visit our Careers page & FUSO Greenlab Events page. For new collaborations, please apply directly on FUSO Greenlab.