Student Perspective: Becoming a Digital Innovation Leader at Kellogg

When I arrived at Kellogg, I was given a notebook and stacks of papers. I had never owned a tablet but I felt like if I were to become a leader in digital innovation, I needed to try to do things digitally at Kellogg. I bought an iPad and looked all over for the right apps that would allow me to accomplish my schoolwork digitally. Soon I found a small group of students, led by Sam Sung ’13, that was piloting tablets at Kellogg.

One of the common complaints was that there was no good app for taking notes. I realized this was a consumer need, so I enrolled in NUvention: Web and led a team in developing Chisel, an iPad app that allows users to type, draw and annotate from within one app. Within three days of launching Chisel, we had 1,000 downloads. We now have users from 28 countries.

While building Chisel, I applied to be part of the Dean’s Consulting Alliance (DCA). There, I was asked to lead a team in addressing the distribution of Kellogg’s course material, specifically business cases.

After meeting with lots of vendors and comparing costs, my team and I realized Kellogg could save its students over a million dollars by switching to a vendor that provided cases digitally. Not only would such a move cut printing and distribution costs, but it would also result in a superior customer experience. When I returned from my summer 2013 internship, our recommendation had been implemented. Cases for Kellogg’s incoming class were completely digitized.

By the end of the 2012-2013 school year, the tablet pilot, which I now led, had solid data that showed the tablets were effective in the classroom without distracting classmates, as critics had feared. Given this data and the fact that cases were going digital, the deans approved my recommendation to allow all students to use tablets in the classroom. No more stacks of paper.

Where to go next? I met with the pilot leadership team and together we came up with the name Kellogg Education Technology Incubator and the mission statement of creating “the best technology experience among MBA programs in the world.”

With our new mission and help from Dr. Gad Allon in securing funding from a group of alumni, we had the freedom to pilot new ideas. What we didn’t have were the ideas. I then realized we could crowdsource pilot projects from the whole student body. From 22 ideas submitted at a KETI kickoff event, we chose eight to pitch in our final event. Each of the eight teams presented their idea and then the audience of students and faculty graded each team using clickers on a scale of 1 to 5 in four areas. The four teams with the highest average point score at the end of the night were selected for the first class of the incubator and given $60,000 to develop and pilot their ideas. Each team did successfully pilot their idea (ArbylKetchUpTuplee, & You@Kellogg).

It has been an amazing journey during my time at Kellogg to build KETI, launch my startup and digitize the Kellogg experience. I’m honored to receive the Leadership Award for Innovation and in the end have to give credit to my MMM professors who taught me user-centered design, my classmates who supported my far-fetched ideas and the deans for taking on the risk to run these experiments and give me freedom to make my Kellogg experience match my goals.

Westin Hatch graduated from the MMM Program in 2014. Prior to the MMM Program, Westin worked as a product management consultant at Accenture in Silicon Valley in the e-commerce and telecom industries. Westin now works as a sr. consultant for Deloitte Digital in Silicon Valley. In his spare time, Westin enjoys building things out of Legos with his daughter and going to the beach with his family.

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