MBA Innovation Bootcamp Solves Male Anguish From Clothes Shopping

An innovative group of MBA students from Melbourne Business School have proposed a new system to remove the pain many men feel when out clothes shopping.

The shopping system was called ‘the Cave’ and was devised by MBA students Rowena White, Masha Astaptsova, Claudio Lee, Brian Lu and Colton Rose, and was built around the idea that many men may be prone to boredom after shopping for clothes for more than 30 minutes.

The Cave is a concept space for men to try clothes by appointment and then have them shipped to their door. It is an idea that also applies to men who struggle to find things that fit correctly after purchasing them online.

Team Cave and their disruption to men’s shopping was part of an innovation bootcamp which is offered annually as part of Melbourne Business School’s Full-time MBA and Part-time MBA programs.

Teams of Melbourne MBA students have only several days to prepare, test and refine and innovative business idea which is then given a five minute presentation window in front of a panel of judges.

This year’s panel included Corporate Venturing Australia CEO Georgia Beattie, Translating Research Melbourne Program Director Simon Wilkins and guest panelist, Spotify Director for Operations Kerri Rusnak.

An idea to take the pain out of clothes shopping for men impressed the judges at this year’s Innovation Bootcamp – including Spotify executive.

“The judges assessed the teams on the quality of their pitch and soundness of their business case, and the Cave team nailed it,” Ms Rusnak said.

Ms Rusnak told the students that innovation is essential for the survival of all businesses, not just start-ups, even though it’s rarely acknowledged in day-to-day work.

“We spend 99 per cent of our time at work on things that don’t matter and forget about what will make a difference in the market,” she said.

“You need to learn to be brave and ruthlessly prioritise the one-per-cent thing that’s going to make a difference.”

Ms Rusnak said the need for constant innovation and improvement in the modern workplace was demanding, so making personal wellbeing a priority was vital.

“You’re corporate athletes. You need to know how to deliver 100 per cent at work, but you also need to know how to relax and switch off completely in your downtime. That’s the only way you can come back to work refreshed,” she said.

Other concepts at this year’s Innovation Bootcamp included gamifying energy saving at home to reduce power usage, helping upcoming stylists become famous and helping women maintain a healthy posture during pregnancy.

Associate Professor Kwanghui Lim said the event equipped MBA students with the skills they needed to make a difference in the business world.

“Companies increasingly want people who know how to innovate and bring fresh thinking to problems. Being able to reframe what companies are doing, think outside the box and know how to validate ideas are some of the skills our students gain from this event,” he said.

Cave team member Rowena said it was a daunting experience to have such a short time to prepare and pitch to a panel of judges with deep experience in turning start-ups into successful companies.

“We were excited to present our idea in front of such an impressive panel and honoured to be the winning team.

“It was an intense lead up to the pitch and we persisted in perfecting our idea until the final moment, with Kwang encouraging us through the entire journey,” she said.

Fellow team member Brian said the Innovation Bootcamp win had made the team think about turning their idea into reality after class. “I was treating it as an interesting exercise, but we’re now seriously thinking about pursuing it,” he said.

“It’s very doable, and there’s a market for it in a fashion-conscious city like Melbourne. But we might have to move fast, now that everyone knows about it.”

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (