Like many case authors around the world, I look forward each year to the announcement of our case awards. As well as the excitement of discovering our winners, I also love the insight they give into the topics that business faculty are choosing to teach.
When the 2021 winners were announced on 1 March, I was delighted to see that 27% of our winning cases featured a female protagonist, which, while not enough, is definitely a step towards parity. As case-winning topics are concerned, for the first time we saw a case address the topic of influencers, and ethical issues such as diversity and pay, sustainability, food and energy featured strongly. There was also a resurgence in interest in multinationals, particularly around tech.
The awards reveal a new generation of case writing talent. First time winners took all six of our competition categories. Furthermore, six new schools from five countries joined the traditionally strong case schools to show the growth of quality case writing worldwide. I congratulate all our winners, new and established alike, for the contribution they make to classrooms and boardrooms, online and face-to-face, local and global.
Like all educators, case writers have faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic. The almost universal switch to teaching online brought a challenge to reimagine case pedagogy outside the live classroom, including the core discussion element. This necessitated fresh thinking, problem solving and courage on the part of faculty to rapidly adapt case materials and their teaching. So, we will be encouraging published authors in The Case Centre catalogue to update teaching notes to reflect the new online norms.
The 2021 Overall Award-Winning case, Dollar Shave Club, is an example of how authors can adapt to support teachers in adding guidance on how to use the case successfully online. The three winning authors, Jamie Anderson, Karin Kollenz-Quétard and Nader Tavassoli, ran a webinar (hosted by The Case Centre) around these themes on 23 March 2021.
Finally, and very deservedly, this year’s award for Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method was awarded to professor Paul Beamish of Ivey Business School. Paul has been Ivey’s bestselling case author since 2001 and has won awards from EFMD, the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, and The Case Centre. In addition to his excellence as an outstanding case writer and educator, Paul was Head of Ivey Publishing until 2016. His commitment to the case method and dedication to passing those skills on to colleagues around the world is immense, and incorporates case workshops improving skills, and developing improved access to quality case materials in developing countries. His impact has been worldwide.