This paper outlines the development of a co-created executive education program focused on operations research for an Indian company. The focus of the program was not only the development of a critical mass of operations research practitioners, but also the creation of a Community of Practice to sustain and grow the practice of operations research across the supply chain of a large company.
The development and deployment of the program was co-created by a core team of senior managers from the company and faculty from a US university. The core team identified the audience and established outcomes for the executive education program. The curriculum was developed following “ADDIE”, an instructional design methodology. The program evolved into three modules with a combination of on-line, on-site, synchronous and asynchronous modes of delivery. The assessment of learning and application was carried out with assignments and action learning projects with real-life problems, evaluated using rubrics aligned to the program outcomes by a panel of faculty and senior managers. Those qualified in the assessments were formally certified as an advanced operations research practitioner within the company. A basic program in operation research was developed by the company with an Indian industrial engineering institute. The basic program was a pre-requisite for the advanced program.
The action learning projects completed by the participants have led to the development of sustainable decision-support systems, and yielded significant business impact. The first program admitted 32 managers to the community, and a second iteration of the program added 28 more managers, resulting in a sizeable community of operations research practitioners. The first batch of managers have continued to leverage their skills by taking on more projects after their certification, and increased collaboration in problem solving with other members of the community. In addition, the relevance and impact of the projects was highly visible to the company’s leadership team, who have since begun leveraging the community. Based on the experience, the company has identified ten domains of strategic priority where similar CoPs can be created.
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