EGADE Business School and Harvard Business School Explore the Future Challenges of KidZania

MEXICO CITY, Mexico. Courtesy of EGADE Business School, Tecnológico de Monterrey. November 19, 2015. (English translation by Enrique Mena). –EGADE’s Service Management Research Group and Harvard Business School professor emeritus James L. Heskett –globally renowned as a pioneer of the Service Management area–, elaborated the case study entitled “KidZania: Shaping a Strategic Service Vision for the Future”, published by Harvard Business School Publishing on August 2015.

The case describes not only the origins of the concept, history and the key points during the company’s evolution, but also the good practices that have taken KidZania to consolidate on a global scale while exploring the challenges the successful Mexican edutainment franchise faces.

KidZania is an innovative edutainment center for children 3 to 14. It is a “nation” comprised by parks that replicate child-sized cities, offering children the possibility to role-play as adults. Each city has a main plaza, an airport and around 70 establishments where kids have the possibility of trying up to 120 activities from operating a patient inside a hospital, putting down a fire, driving a bus, getting university education, making their own pizza, broadcasting their own news or becoming an airplane pilot.

With the vision to prepare children for a better world, all the activities –besides being fun– have an educational-formative component that helps children develop skills and values that are key for their adult-life. KidZania also has its own flag, national anthem and currency: the “kidZo”. This way, children can earn, save and use their “kidZos”, besides getting their own debit card while learning in a fun way how economy works.

Due to its innovative concept, KidZania has created a new entertainment category, centered on experiential learning and has positioned itself as one of the most successful Mexican franchises in the world. Its success relies on the creative way in which it has managed to include all its stakeholders, through an expansion model based on win-win-win relationships that involve globally renowned brands, consolidated groups of companies in each of the countries it operates in and a culture of commitment and continuous innovation. As of today, KidZania has 20 facilities around the world, three of them in Mexico –its country of origin– and the rest in cities spread around 17 countries including Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and London, just to name a few.

The initiative for developing the “KidZania: Shaping a Strategic Service Vision for the Future” case study initiated after recognizing the value of learning from 100% Mexican service companies that are present in several continents and that offer a disruptive concept such as experiential learning, allowing to transmit the good practices that have taken KidZania to consolidate globally and explore the challenges it faces.

The case, elaborated by the EGADE Business School Service Management Research Group and Harvard Business School professor emeritus James L. Heskett –globally renowned as a pioneer of the Service Management area–, describes the origins of the concept, its history and its key evolution points. The HBS case was published on August 2015 and is available online globally.

Consolidating an excellent brand internationally and accomplishing the mission of “preparing kids for a better world”, is not easy and KidZania knows it well. That is why this case offers an excellent tool for readers –both academic and business–, to develop and strengthen their decision making skills and a strategic vision of the service business. In this case, Xavier López Ancona –president and founder of KidZania– and his executive team, share the wise moves, learned lessons as well as the most defying challenges they have identified for the company’s near future: maintaining an educational, fun and attractive concept, with high quality standards, in markets that are increasingly sophisticated, where the competition constantly intensifies and children have more and more stimuli and options to have fun, are just some of them. Like Xavier López mentions “We always have to see where we are heading… Children are changing very rapidly and KidZania has to adapt to them. Technology lets [children] have access to many things, we have to stay current in our content”.

Courtesy of EGADE Business, School, Tecnológico de Monterrey:

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