Teaching the World to Change

InnoTrends is a monthly innovation trends analysis per segment. Today we look at Universities, Schools and Institutes.

The New Basics

Finance and economy

Finance and Economy
Finance and Economy

Sapnoti Eswar from the London Business School warns against the use of risks based financial strategy over longer term innovation. As he says, “firms may be able to use complex financial products, such as derivatives, to hedge risk. However, if they become over-reliant on this insurance mechanism, it could dampen their desire to invest in and produce innovative technology.” Indeed, some investments need to be envisaged with benefits that exceed short term return. As Dan Winterson from Stanford University reminds, “conservation impact investing is real and growing rapidly. One reason for this growth may be that it has broad appeal, as illustrated by the variety of collaborators on our study.” This new finance approach rise as the economy is demanding change. In this video, Nouriel Roubini highlights in an interview for Bloomberg the need for Europe to define an aggressive policy to generate growth, now going into unconventional approach as it is already too late to offset decline in the coming years. In Asia, a slowing Chinese economy is opening doors for India to become a key player in the next 5 years. These uncertainty conditions are causing a number of capital valuation to come under further scrutiny, as Wharton Knowledge explains about the recent valuation of Uber. “There was nothing in history for people to judge [such] valuations back then…. I think people will be far more disciplined.” As Justin Fox from HBR concludes on Icanh’s latest open letter to Apple: “Those decades also appear to have taught him that it’s okay to follow an investing strategy so simple that it invites mockery.  As long as he gets the last laugh, of course.”



New Management
New Management

New managers will be able to deal with uncertainty, and they will have to. They could for example develop a “reassessment cycle” whereby data and metrics are verified by experimentation, as Kevin Lindsay from HBR suggests. When needed, they’ll be given tools to reassess their own experience and learn to change, as Mireia Las Hera from IESE Business Schools explains. They can also develop a growth mindset, valuing potential instead of evaluating the past, as HBR explains. Joel Peterson from Stanford University underline the necessity of trust: “The people who run things must show – by their actions – the way they want business to be done, and the way they want people to be treated.” To achieve this, they will have to learn to ask the right questions as Richard Davies from HBR advises and take as less decision as possible following Netflix CEO example as related by Bill Snyder from Stanford University. This can lead to developing products and strategies that pull “a trigger, action, reward, and investment — helping us form new routines and establish new habits, no matter how endlessly loyal we think we are” as Nir Eyal from HBR implies. Finally, new managers will develop a strong but open sense of conviction, as Helmuth Ludwig from IESE Business School suggests.



Intentional Disruption

New breed of opportunities

New Opportunities
New Opportunities

John Hendersohn from London Business School reminds in below video that now is the era of everything “exponential”.

Now is time to be a non-conformist entrepreneur, as suggested by Eilene Zimmerman from Stanford University. As she explains, “Because the likelihood of failure is higher, their plan faces greater scrutiny and that makes them more likely to succeed in the long run if they make it through to the market.” It is also time to learn to work with partners and set the right alignment strategy, as Rick Reed from Stanford University explains. As we create the appropriate ecosystem and environment to encourage creativity in solving problems, opportunities impacts goes beyond revenues. According to Adam Grant from HBR, it generates three objectives: “The first is saving your best employees—those who exemplify collegial generosity—from being taken advantage of and helping them to gain stature as successful givers instead. The second is enabling employees who fear the risks of giving to contribute more to others and to the success of the enterprise. The third is creating a culture of and reputation for generosity that attracts more givers to your organization and appeals less to takers.”


Interconnected skills and capabilities

Interconnected Skills and Capabilities
Interconnected Skills and Capabilities

Professor Donnelly from the Watford Institute of Technology describes this new era for Silicon Republic. In his own words, “The exciting thing about the internet of things is that it is a new way of building services, organising society, collecting information and processing that information. But what is really exciting is how it can be used for the benefit of society”. Eddie Yoon from HBR details how localisation will also play a role in the way we address markets geographically. The disruption reaches every level of value chains. Michael Porter from HBR mentions products and functionalities potential while Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic explains the impact on Human Resources, with the privacy concerns, lack of expertise and organizational politics issues that will rise with IoT technologies. IoT will also affect operations, finance and engineering, as Joey Fitts from HBR reminds. One way to thrive in that era is to purposedly determine a guiding vision to analyse data, as Jeanne Ross explains for the MIT. In her view, “That means somebody is dictating. There is somebody who says, “This is how we will define sales, this is how we will define returns, this is when we will register revenue, and we are all living by this rule. Until we do that, we don’t have data that’s useful for most kinds of analytics.” It also proves important in terms of recruitment and brand image. As Joe Panepinto reminds for HBR: “With competition for tech talent at an all-time high and mobile tech savviness a common characteristic of new employees, demonstrating that your org “gets” the new IT landscape is incredibly important.” Furthermore, “it looks at “leading indicators” that could help the company figure out if someone is about to make a purchase and needs an extra push, or if a customer is about to give up on a brand and needs a reason to stay.”, as Wharton Knowledge explains.


The Law of Change

The blurring limits

Blurring Limits
Blurring Limits

This new era leads to better include the “us” rather as focusing on the “I”, as Jean-Charles Cailliez writes on his blog. The interconnected world transfers some of the decision making and even production layers to customers and/or partners. “Predictive analytics has the potential to transform both how government operates and how resources are allocated, thereby improving the public’s health.” explains Bechara Choucair for HBR. Mojgan Afshari from the University of Malaya highlights the impact of 4D printing to CloudTweaks, while Gwen Kinkead from the MIT mentions a new design software that is able to propose different solutions to design intelligently creative objects. As a result, Bruce Katz from HBR sees a potential for new “Silicon Valleys” to arise in different regions of the world. As he says, “The confluence of these disruptive economic, social, and demographic dynamics has changed corporate calculus. As companies design forward-looking strategies, they should be asking whether and how a greater commitment to urban locales could help them squeeze out even more success.”


A fast-changing ecosystem

Fast Changing Ecosystem
Fast Changing Ecosystem

We are now able to estimate the real value of green policies, as Mike Orcutt from the MIT explains. This allows cities like Mexico to better manage pollution related programmes and reach ambitious objectives, as reminds Corydon Ireland from Harvard University. Politics are also taking action, as HBR reminds: “President Obama is committing the U.S. to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels, while Chinese President Xi Jinping announced China’s first cap on emissions by 2030 (…) But unfortunately, a little basic math shows they may be too little, too late.” As Andrew Wilson from HBR explains: “there is more than a hint of a defensive posture here – we’re being reactive. Adaptation is critical, but as a sole strategy, it’s kind of silly and potentially devastating.” Therefore we need to better pilot sustainability within organisation, defining a common language, as Gregory Unruh from the MIT suggests. This is why some of us take action, like Yadav, a Freshman from Yale University, portrayed by Susan Gonzalez. As Yadav says, “You don’t need to be older to be able to do something. Age is just a number”. Peter Reuell from Harvard mentions Burton and Musunuru, recently awarded as a “recognition of exceptional teaching in introductory courses” in Science. The University of Cambridge and Stanford University are also working on including more women in STEM. As the University of Cambridge says, “To be a world class University we must recruit and retain the best candidates – from every sector of society.” For their part, Harvard have decided to choose a more open way of sharing knowledge, while Andrew O’Connell calls for a “life long learning” attitude to avoid “feeling entitled to hard-won authority”.

The good news is there will be plenty of sources to learn from. As Philip Tan from the MIT explains to the Huffington Post, “Diversity – gender, racial, religious, and economic – is critical for making games that speak to a diverse world.” A changing society arises, with fathers taking paternity leave and coming back more productive, as Stew Friedman from Wharton University explains in following video for CBS News. New applications will enable an intelligent education, as a few ideas from Grenoble Management School students show on Jean-François Fiorina’s blog. With change also comes debate. Baratunde Thurston from Bucknell University explains how net neutrality is essential to protect innovation and innovators, anywhere.

Larry Downes, from HBR, argues that in fact “The best way to ensure that profound and powerful economic principle continues to operate is to continue leaving it alone, having faith that it will keep driving disruptive innovation that generates consumer surplus and economic growth.” Beyond faith, there are a few certainties, though. As Susan Crowford points out for HBR: “We’ll need both better policies and better technology to make the invisible electronic layer of cities visible to us all. Because only when we can see something can we make progress.


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