How Your Company Works
In the age of keynotes and social media, its easy to think of companies as a unified force, aiming to capture more and more of the market. However, the truth, especially in engineering, is that companies are really just huge collections of opinions and skills. These voices and hands, when collaborating, forge technologies and machines that revolutionise the world.
In the UKSDC, your team will be joining forces with other teams to form part of a company that is aiming to winning the contract to build a new space settlement. Your company will be assigned to one of our fictional prime contractors; a large organisation with a fictional history and area of specialism that you can draw upon. You will have to work together to develop the best solution that you can to fulfil the specific needs of the Request for Proposal.
You will only find out which other teams you will be joining forces with to form your company on the day (sometimes day before for digital events) of the competition. Learning to work together and make the most out of different experiences and skills is critical to success both in the UKSDC and in the working world.
Who Will Be In My Company?
This will be highly situational, in some cases you might be put with participants from half-a-dozen other schools, and on rare occasion it might just be people that go to school with you. We generally try and keep digital heat companies limited to around 15-30 people and nationals we go for the full 50-60 people.
Everyone will have different skills to bring to your company, as well as individual interests and passions. Identifying your strengths and overall areas of weakness as a company is important to building rapport and planning a strategy to excel!
At the beginning of the competition, right after the introductory presentation, you will be assigned to your company and you will meet in your company workspace.
Each company will be assigned a team of ‘CEOs’: experienced volunteers who will guide your team throughout the competition. Your CEOs will be there in an advisory capacity and won’t directly be contributing to the proposal. The CEOs will host an election for the ‘company president’. This position is hotly contested, so each candidate will be asked to give a short speech outlining their suitability for that post.
The President will then be responsible for running elections for the other senior positions within the company. Please note, Head of Department roles should be elected by those who wish to work within that department as this speeds everything up!
When voting, the temptation is to vote for your friends, but this is not always the best idea. To win you will need a strong and professional leadership team; having a broad-based senior leadership promotes stronger motivation and promotes better decision-making.
Each elected position is crucial to your teams efforts. Vote wisely.
The only leadership position that is required is that of a company president! We need them in order to have a formal point of contact with your team; at the nationals, they will be responsible for negotiating presentation slots for your company as well as handing in your presentation.
The rest of the company structure is at the president’s discretion, however it is typically advisable for at least one senior deputy to be elected. Traditionally, the UKSDC recommends the structure below, which mimics a very traditional organisational structure.
Company presidents are recommended to propose custom structures and to adapt them as necessary through the day in order to meet the needs of the company. They should listen to heads of department and communicate organisational changes to everyone. Don’t do this too frequently, however, as people will get confused and waste time speaking to the wrong people! We highly recommend using the RFP to find areas of skill and content overlap in order to create effective ‘working-groups’. This speeds up decision-making and presentation material delivery.
Where Should I Work?
New competitors often worry about working in the right area of the company. Don’t worry, you’re not alone; when there are a lot of things to manage, it’s easy to get confused. More and more, companies divide themselves differently to our recommended schemes, so you can ask your president to organise it so as to make the most of your skills and interests.
There will be a specific aspect of the competition that drew you to it (hopefully other than the free pizza), so why not work on that! If you are excited by the technological challenges of designing settlements in space, you should get involved in the technical department that appeals to you most. If you’re a whiz with a slideshow, you could get involved with the delivery and design of the presentation in the marketing group. Take a look at how the RFP is broken up to figure out where you think you can best contribute and, most importantly, have the most fun!