Here are instructions if your team wants to create the final report in a slide-based format:
With your team, you are expected to write a final report in the form of an extensive and detailed slide deck. The content and purpose of such a slide deck is similar to a written format final report, but the slide deck format is more user-friendly for the client and more powerful for presenting tables and graphs.
In the report you present the problem, your analysis, and recommendations. Your recommendations should be supported by solid, compelling evidence (quantitative or qualitative) from relevant and respected sources. For example, be sure to make it clear how you conducted the study (research methods to some degree) and refer to theories, research reports and academic articles to back up your plan and implementation. However, your target audience is the case company, which is the fundamental criterion for you to critically evaluate the extent to which and how you use references.
In the final report, include a brief statement (one slide) to clarify how the work was divided and tasks allocated in your team, i.e. who contributed what data/knowledge/information and how you put the report together.
The report length should be 30-50 slides (equivalent to a written report that is 5,000 words), including an executive summary (mandatory, for 3-6 slides) + appendices and references. The report is evaluated on a 0-5 scale based on the Business Writing and Capstone Rubrics that are available in the course workspace in MyCourses. Please make sure you familiarize yourself with the rubrics both before you start crafting and before you hand in the report.
Some tips for the slide-based report:
- Slide-based reports are not intended to be presented. Therefore, the slides need to be self-explanatory and not rely on a presenter explaining them. The case company members will either read them in full or browse through and only focus on selected parts. They may publish them on their (internal) websites (with your permission) or use individual slides in other presentations.
- The final report slide deck is not your presentation deck. You may use the same layout, diagrams, etc. but note that the final report slide decks are likely to be too “heavy” for presentation purposes.
- In reporting, everything must be explained in one way or another. It’s an intermediate form between a presentation deck and a written (word) report. Focus on the essentials, but so that just by reading the deck one knows the main points. Therefore, things need to be explained thoroughly, but concisely, so there will not be a “wall of text”.
- Using your client’s template is possible, but only on a specific request of the client and with their permission. Using their template allows the client pick those slides for their own internal without having to move and convert them to the company’s own template. Generally, it is recommended to use Aalto templates, since this is Aalto course work. However, you can create your own template with a visual image best suited for the purpose.
- Guide the reader throughout the report. It is done with a table of contents and often, for example, a progress bar running in the bottom or top margin that guides the reader within the chapter. In other words, the report must be divided sensibly and logically to keep the reader aware of the progress.
- Use section divider pages to break down the report into distinct sections, and to make the report easier to read, navigate and digest.
- Use action titles on all slides. Action title tells the key message of the slide and is the single most important element of each slide – pay attention to good action titles as it allows you to tell a story. Use full sentence titles, but max 2 lines.
- "Title Flowing" - Many times the management only reads the titles and chooses the slides of interest by the titles - The titles have to provide some information to the reader and they have to tell the whole story of the slide set (if someone only reads the titles they still know the main points or can evaluate whether they want to read more).
- Rich use of boxes, tables, lines and icons in visualization - enhances communication.
- Visual consistency, essentially the same base and font on all slides.
- Visual accuracy - Boxes and bottoms and header boxes do not jump from page to page but remain the same, inside the pages the boxes are aligned and the contents of the slides are in the middle of the slide and not at the edges.
- Visual comfort - Adequate contrast with background colors, not too small fonts, use of bolds to highlight key points.
- In reporting decks avoid "inspirational images" and other stuff in a normal presentation deck since such images have no explanation or context.
- Clear referencing, often done with stars and at the bottom, and finally all references listed together at the end.
- Appendices at the end - Anything extra here for those who want to learn more about something (for example, calculation templates, interview frames, pictures of used service design frames, sideline slides (not so important things)).
We would like to warmly thank Jori Mäkkeli from the Faculty of Organization and Management at Aalto University School of Business for sharing his expertise when crafting the instructions.
Please also see Guidebook prepared by EY-Parthenon for you here.