Last Wednesday, 16 November, we hosted our first brown bag seminar, during which Steven Sweldens shared insights on how to create memorable cases using aha moments. Thanks to Steven and the attendees for your input and great questions!

Some key takeaways from the seminar:

  • Surprise value

Writing a case requires solving a big problem in business. For a case to really add value and become successful, the solution should be somewhat unobvious. Steven calls this surprise value. 

  • Case adoption - what is important?

In order for a case to get adopted, the case itself is not the only thing of importance. A comprehensive teaching plan and supplementary materials may often be more important to professors when selecting which case they will be using in their class. Even keywords and the availability of powerpoint materials can be crucial, as these may determine whether someone starts reading your case.

  • Setting the stage

It is important to consider which information you will tell the readers while setting the stage for the case. You want to ensure that the correct solution is not too clear from the beginning. This way, students can come up with the solution themselves and are encouraged to think critically, leading to aha moments.

  • Pre-class surveys

A good method for avoiding hindsight bias, and creating some tension for the participants, is to do a pre-class or in-class survey. Besides ensuring that the participants have read the materials, this encourages them to form an opinion and to become curious about the exploration for the best solution.

Before deciding to write a case, there are various considerations one should make.

  • Is it an interesting context?
  • Is there a hole in the case market?
  • Do you have help from the CDC? Case writers and video editors, for example.
  • Do you have access to top management? Not required, but it makes things a lot easier.
  • Do you have a good idea about storyline and surprise value?

RSM Case Community is for faculty and staff to share experiences and explore ideas for case teaching and case development. We will organize more events like this in the near future. If you have any topics you wish to learn more about, please send an email to We look forward to the next brown bag seminar.

Case Development Centre