The ShoeMars Reward Challenge

ShoeMars sells highly personalized 3D-printed shoes directly to consumers all over the world. ShoeMars’ goal is to land “The First Shoes on Mars!”

ShoeMars “Aliens” work in the poorest parts of both the developed and developing world to create autonomous 3D-printed shoe manufacturing capabilities among under-represented, underprivileged communities. Through the ShoeMarsApp, customers choose a “Tailor” to create their highly personalized 3D-printed shoes. One-third of the price of the shoes is invested directly into the Tailor’s community – in addition to covering the Tailor’s production costs.

ShoeMars has no offices and no shops. To run the commercial side of the business, ShoeMars “Astronauts” work through avatars in a unique virtual office environment, the “SCUBE” (ShoeMars Space Station).

For six days every month, all the Astronauts and Aliens gather in a physical meeting space created by a dedicated team of ShoeMars “Nomads,” who select a site anywhere in the world and convert it into an exotic ShoeMars “Oasis.” ShoeMars meetings are legendary and are widely followed on social media.
ShoeMars is NASDAQ listed. In the early days, the shares sky-rocketed, but now the stock price has crashed. Institutional investors are increasingly restless about the Company’s performance and how it balances the interests of its shareholders, employees and social goals.

ShoeMars people are sourced from all over the world based on their values, skills and experience. The company grew quickly with a wide variety of individual pay arrangements and few policies. After a recent external review by consultants, the ShoeMars board announced it would differentiate how it pays Aliens, Astronauts and Nomads. However, nothing has emerged from this decision except friction, suspicion and resentment between and within the different groups of employees. It sounds like people believe there must be inequity between their own pay and the pay of others and that this will become more inequitable.

You are the recently appointed Galactic Reward Leader for ShoeMars with the brief to “Sort this mess out!” You are hovering in your quadrant of the SCUBE, playing with a Rubik’s cube to relieve your stress, wondering where you will start. Suddenly, you have an idea…