The thing is after Pitch Day, the event each semester in which Reese News Lab students share their product ideas, you do not really have much of a product.

It’s more of just an abstract idea that people have told you they really like. The pitch was all about figuring out the logistics; now comes the hard part: actually building the service.

For Kinethics, which is an interactive compliance training service, we wanted to see what it would take to build a storyline from an actual corruption case. We wanted the case to be new and relevant. So we began to scour the U.S. Department of Justice’s website and news sites looking for a recent case that would be relatable to most companies.

It did not take long for us to stumble upon Avon China’s $135 million settlement for bribing government officials. The case was fresh and dealt with many forms of bribery, from paying off government officials to paying off newspapers for good publicity. We were riveted by every twist and turn in the scandal. To follow along with the story, we made a flow chart of all the choices Avon China employees had made and the choices they should have made.

What amazed us most as we went through the process was how much we actually knew about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.S. law on bribery we have been studying in detail. There were times when we looked at each other and thought, “Why did they do that? The law clearly states…” That’s when we realized that our product was sound and that we were the right people to be carrying it forward. The fact is that not everyone has read through – or has the time to read through – the Act, write notes and sit around discussing the law for a week. We did. We are fascinated by this piece of law.

From the flow chart, drawn out on sticky notes, we started roughing out the idea in Google Forms, where each choice is followed by a consequence choice. As we talked through the process, we started making a list of what we would want the final product to look like, what would trigger what response, what would make the users feel like they had something to lose, and, essentially, what would motivate our users to never make the mistakes that Avon China employees made.


From students to businesswomen


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