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  • RiverForest Connections

Competency to Measure - Forecasting and Strategic Planning - Semantics Limited

TIME – 60 Minutes


You have 60 minutes to DISCUSS as a GROUP, INTERPRET, DEBATE and may be write a report/presentation. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT YOU MAY ALSO BE ASKED TO MAKE A PRESENTATION to a panel of corporate leaders on the difficulties faced by you in resolving this problem and what should we do to prevent such conflicts?


Tom Flaherty was the product design manager of Semantics Ltd., a large multinational digital publishing house. Semantics had a series of products ranging from AI based Smart Encyclopedias and AI algorithm technical books to AI based SMART children’s education series code named AI - Smart.

Steve Brant was a market research manager who monitored trends across the world, conducting research in universities, on line platforms, social media channels, smart circles, on line search consoles, cloud research forums, podcasts, bookstores, stationery distribution houses across the world. Based on RiverForest research, Steve Brant came up with an idea that integrated education package for school children with AI tools, which would encompass charts, books, toys and AI USB. Steve Brant went and met Tom Flaherty and presented his idea.

Tom Flaherty and his team were concurrently working on a new product code named AI USB encyclopedia package. He told Steve Brant that it would take at least 90 days before he could commence work on this project. Tom Flaherty also argued that his product which was technically superior, had to get a priority and deserved the attention of the top brains in his company. He added that the product which was to be launched by his team next week was sure to be a runaway success and would spin off a lot of new projects in the same area.

Thereafter, Tom Flaherty advised Steve Brant to postpone his research work on AI - Smart and rather focus on gathering market research data on AI USB based encyclopedias.

The next Monday on the launch of Semantic’s new product, Maverick Think Inc. a competing firm, launched a children’s educational kit very similar to what Steve Brant had proposed. This kit sold 10 million digital copies all over the world within a week while, the product AI USB from Semantic’s, which was also the lowest priced AI USB series available in the market, bombed miserably.

General Manager Paul Martin called Tom Flaherty and Steve Brant for an urgent meeting to discuss this product launch failure!

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