For UN World Health Day, we look at how INSEAD’s 21D MBA students supported MiracleFeet’s mission to eliminate clubfoot disease in 70 countries through Master Strategist Day and the use of virtual reality.
“The first time anyone saw my son’s feet was at the clubfoot clinic. They understood the shame I carried. When I saw my son’s feet could be healed, it felt like a miracle.”
Having kept her son’s clubfoot disability hidden for weeks, Caroline eventually visited the local health centre where she was referred to a nearby clinic and received the good news about the treatment. Clubfoot disease affects one in every 800 children worldwide, and the cause is unknown. Considered a relatively common birth defect, children experience difficulty in walking and are more likely to miss school due to limited mobility, thereby negatively affecting their life opportunities as adults.
Wanting to mobilise children for life, MiracleFeet, a US-based non-profit founded in 2010, works towards ending this global disability and stigma. Partnering with local health workers and organisations to bring non-surgical care and treatment to an estimated two million children, MiracleFeet has positively transformed over 53,000 lives in 29 countries to date, and are looking to scale their impact across middle-income countries starting with the Philippines.
To support this mission, over 600 INSEAD MBA students participated in the school’s bi-annual Master Strategist Day (MSD). As part of their core strategy class, students experience a unique full day event to put their learning into practice, by analysing challenges and proposing strategic solutions for real-life non-profit organisations. Geared with virtual reality goggles playing a clip that transported students to Tanzania to give an insight into MiracleFeet’s operations, challenges faced by parents and the impact of treatment, the students were able to deepen their engagement and understanding of the case.
Following in-depth discussions within groups, and with guidance from their Bain & Company mentors on MSD, the winning team was recognised before a jury including INSEAD Professors Ilze Kivleniece, Ithai Stern, Daniel Simonovich, and Ridhima Aggarwal. Also present were representatives of the Hugo Van Berckel award. The award supports the endeavours of MBA students striving to achieve meaningful social impact during Master Strategist Day, urging students to think about profit and purpose in an integrated manner, reflecting INSEAD alumnus, Hugo van Berckel’s passion for the same. Also joining the occasion were Aaro Eide (MBA ‘91J) and husband Georg Madersbache (MBA ‘90D), who donated generously towards the development of the MiracleFeet MSD.
The winning team identified three strategic options for MiracleFeet to consider. First, leverage existing large networks, e.g. vaccine staff, to educate parents about clubfoot and ensure early detection as well as treatment during the newborns’ vaccination visits. Second, sell braces, training and platform management to private hospitals to identify new revenue channels and financing opportunities. Third, organise mobile health clinics as a way of getting treatment to poorer rural patients with regular follow-ups over the course of treatment.
Reflecting on the win, team member Apoorva Shankar said, “We tried to innovate within the existing ecosystem, and soon realized that such a network can come from either government or big corporations. Having this clear framework in mind – and a diversity of experience and viewpoints among the team members – allowed us to win the pitch.”
Expressing that the collaboration with MiracleFeet was a fulfilling collaboration, Professor Kivleniece said, “Not only is working with an organization that has such a strong social mission and unique operating model a truly rewarding experience for students, crucially, it permits them to apply strategy frameworks and develop strategic options to address real world problems, and to contribute to these organizations in a very meaningful way.”
Echoing similar positive sentiments about the collaboration, MiracleFeet’s CEO, Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld said, “We learned so much, not just from the students’ extraordinarily creative and insightful presentations, but from the process of working with INSEAD faculty to create a challenge that allowed students to apply their business skills to a real-world social problem. Above all, we had a blast – it was a fantastically energizing and motivating 24 hours – and we came away with a whole slate of new ideas that have the potential to change the lives of thousands of children over the next 5 years.”
As the world continues to navigate through the pandemic, the importance of providing a healthy future for ourselves and the next generation remains a priority. As a school, we stay committed to providing transformational education through innovative ideas and technology that help us mould responsible leaders that act on social and environmental purpose and progress.
Curious about our other MSD stories? Explore them here:
- December 2020 - Maximizing Social Impact Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
- February 2020 - Sustainable Conservation in the Wild
- February 2019 - Business Education with a Vision
- October 2018 - MBA students travel to South Africa for its first Business and Society practicum