Case Competition Organizers 2023
Munk One

Reflections on the 2023 Munk One Case Competition

Munk One students take on the Toronto transit system.

The annual Munk One Case Competition brings together Munk Ones in a challenge to apply their problem-solving skills to a real world issue. This year’s case study looked at something local, accessible, and relevant to the students’ everyday life: public transit in Toronto. Behind this engaging topic are the team of Munk One alumni responsible for ideating, organising, and facilitating the entire case competition. This year’s competition asked teams to propose a framework which would better address ridership, safety, and expansion of Toronto’s transit systems, all while considering how to better situate actors in combating future problems.

This year's students presented numerous fantastic proposals. Five teams competed total, and each brought a unique and well-researched idea. One group, calling themselves Operation ASAP, sought to address the challenge of train car bunching, a core issue in Toronto’s subway delays. Their solution proposed computer visioning to space out passengers, with both visual and auditory components. The team focused their proposal on the Bloor-Yonge station, where passengers have a high tendency to crowd around one or two cars. To gain insights into their proposal, the team went to interview station attendants and passengers at the Bloor-Yonge – showcasing just how dedicated Munk One students are to creating realistic and community-focused solutions.

Selen, Munk One alumni and organiser for the case competition, explained her joy in seeing the passion that drove this year’s proposals: “A theme across groups was that each one picked a topic they were personally interested and invested in… To see this year’s groups start from a point of personal interest was incredible.”

Proposals from the competition covered a variety of topics in ridership, safety, and transit expansion, with each engaging in a multi-jurisdictional approach. The winning group, Project Rocket, suggested the introduction of interactive kiosks at TTC stations to make transit more accessible. These kiosks would house multiple languages to make the TTC more accessible for the broader community, as well as providing support to make ridership easier overall.

Eli, another key organiser for the case competition, explained that the topic chosen was specifically designed to be local and accessible to the participants. 

“Groups could get involved because they could actually go to subway stations at rush hour, and see the transit issues in real-time,” Eli said. Eli cited this as one of the reasons this year’s teams were so invested in their solutions.

In addition, Eli noted that everyone living in Toronto has some experience with the TTC. And if they don’t, Eli pointed out that “they’re the demographic we need to be able to access!” Eli explained that the locality of this year’s topic is what made for such an engaging process, and what resulted in such phenomenal proposals.

As a legacy gift from one cohort to another, mentorship between cohorts is a key aspect of the case competition. Munk Ones have the opportunity to learn from program alumni, and the organisers have a chance to reflect on their own experience and better the event for the next generation. This year’s case comp organisers took it upon themselves to offer a high level of mentorship, ensuring that groups could approach the issue from the same knowledge basis. 

Eli spoke to mentoring one group, Presto Points, during the competition. This group proposed a points system for tapping with a presto card in order to encourage ridership of the TTC. Eli explained that while a key aspect of mentoring is helping the group find a different perspective, it also means helping the group get excited about the work they are doing. “They were really loving it,” Eli said. “You could feel the passion in the room.” 

As a result of this group’s passion and initiative, the students are currently meeting with the TTC’s Director of CardFare Operations and the Director of Corporate Partnerships to pitch their proposal for Presto Points. It is amazing to see the proposals that Munk Ones are able to bring to the transit system, and what is possible when students have the skills to engage with local challenges and the opportunity to put forward potential solutions.

A huge thank you to the case competition organisers: Eli, Selen, Meverest, and Silin. This group of organisers went above and beyond in designing the competition around a local and relevant issue, exemplifying what it truly means to engage in community-based action.