2021 EFMD Case Writing Competition winners interview series: Continuous Improvement the Journey to Excellence

continuous improvement

EFMD encourages and rewards innovative and impactful cases in management development each year. This year again brought an exceptional variety of winning cases across various industries. We interviewed the winners to find out more about their motivation, inspiration and significant challenges.

The following interview is with Ricardo Estrada of Plastilene Group, Juan Carlos Rodriguez of Temple University and Michael Rivera of Temple University, winning authors of the “Continuous Improvement: the Journey to Excellence” category.

The 2022 edition of the EFMD Case Writing Competition is now open for submissions. Find out more on the webpage and submit your case.

The Plastilene Group: Sustainable Innovation Strategy

What was the inspiration for your case?

The motivation for writing the Plastilene Group: Sustainable Innovation Strategy case is to exemplify how Sustainability and Innovation can work together as pillars of the Business Strategy. With solid leverage on the triple bottom line approach, which looks a holistic economical, environmental, and social impacts, driving the actions and results of the Companies. The sustainability pathway is the right approach to doing business nowadays and is the one that new generations are demanding from public and private institutions. We hope this case will be inspirational for those who work and study, pursuing excellence and continuous improvement for the business, the people, and the planet.

What were the major challenges in designing the case?

First, I have to say that Plastilene Group did the most difficult part when they decided to face the environmental challenge in a more organised way. Plastilene designed and implemented its Sustainable Innovation Strategy, working with employees, customers, suppliers, waste pickers, associations, colleagues, end consumers, and other stakeholders with a shared sustainable vision.

Particularly for Juan Carlos and me, it was difficult because it was the first time we had written a case study; even though we analysed multiple cases in our academic life, it is different when you have to write, following essential academic purposes. Fortunately, the case was born as a project in Temple and Javeriana EMBA, under the Capstone class methodology, and we had the guidance and support of our co-authoring PhD. Michael Rivera, beyond the academic purposes to achieve a publication goal. Building the context with appropriate articles and information, combining the right management theory, sustainability industrial practices, and our literacy skills to make a case that was also easy to learn and understand was a challenge for our engineer minds. However, we are passionate about sustainability and management, which was the key to using all our inspiration to make it possible.

In what ways do you believe the case could impact society and business in the future?

If we can contribute reflectively to having more people and institutions working under the circular economy concepts, we will have more conscious businesses that are not in conflict with the people and the planet. We could better recognise the people behind the everyday hard work necessary to maintain the cities and operations running as waste pickers do in emergent economies. We will involve more citizens disposing of the recyclable materials properly and working to stop climate change with simple actions to build sustainable cities and communities. We will have a better place to live and leave a better planet for future generations.

About sponsorship

EFMD Case Writing Competition is proud to have dedicated sponsors who drive management education towards impactful teaching and learning. Sponsoring a category allows you to showcase your institution’s expertise in the specific field of management education in the wide EFMD network. The choice of category, its exact definition and any specific conditions are the privileges of the sponsor. Sponsorships for the following categories are currently available – Bringing Technology to Market and Continuous Improvement: the Journey to Excellence. If you are interested in sponsoring the mentioned categories or launching a new category relevant to case writing and teaching, please check out our category sponsorship opportunities page or contact Hansol Park at .

More information about the 2021 EFMD Case Writing Competition can be found on the EFMD Case Writing Competition page. Please visit The Case Centre’s webpage to access the collection of the winning cases. See other interviews from this series.