Innovate In 2015: Schools, Politics and Society

Innotrends take you through diverse innovation segments’ views on Innovation in 2015. This article analyses Business Schools, Universities, Politics and Public Institutions, Customers and Influencers messages shared on WAI networks around innovation changes this year. A later article will investigate innovation from experts, business consultancy and market analysis, press and medias point of views. This will conclude the Innovate in 2015 series, starting with this first analysis on science, business and technology experts views on innovation.

Business Schools and Universities: challenging barriers

Schools and InstitutesFor London Business School, a first challenge lays in the way we interact with each other. In following video, Kamalini Ramdas explains how we can change our interactions to better create actions through them. She nicely explains how lowering fences in neighborhoods could encourage more collaborative lifestyles and draws a similar pattern to create new interactions, new ideas in organisations.

Lexmark also wants to encourage young children to learn differently. The company supports STEM activities for schools, which cover initiatives such as LEGO inspired engineering classes, “to explore imaginative worlds that kids already know and love, such as Star Wars or Minecraft, to teach core engineering principles while using LEGOs.”

Of course, children cannot rebuild the whole world on their own. Other types of schools are engaging into a more collaborative, smart world. One example of them is IESE Business School who has recently launched a strategic smart city center together with UNECE. There indeed seem to be a strong will to encourage knowledge sharing across borders, any kind of border, among schools (any kind of school). Olivier Ladoux from Nantes University in France relates in Le Monde how “transdisciplinarity is the university of the 21st Century’.

Politics and Public Institutions: is willingness enough ?

Politics and Public InstitutionsOn March 22nd, the international day dedicated to women, The Economist shared an interesting video about Japanese Prime Minister’s choice to increase feminine ratio in leadership positions in order to boost the economy.

It seems an emergency to break former rules has emerged. As Ian Bremmer from Strategy & Business explains, “The old geopolitical model is breaking down, but the only thing emerging in its place is crisis.” He later explains how China could potentially take the lead in proposing breakthrough solutions for global issues. Jeff Chidester reminds in the Stanford Social Innovation Review that there are existing tools to start financing change. What they need is political will to move forward. As the author writes, “As Capitol Hill braces for another budget battle, you can expect to hear both sides bloviate about their plans to expand economic growth and create middle-class jobs. Fortunately, a multitude of solutions exist outside the theater of Washington brinksmanship. If policymakers want to move beyond the rhetoric, PRIs are a good place to start.

Some politics are starting to show willingness to change. London, for example, has recently proposed to radically transform the face of the city, offering it more to pedestrians. As Ben Schiller from Fast Co-Exist explains, “As it looks to become a prettier, greener city, London wants to put some of its more unsightly features where the world can’t see them: underground.”

Customers and Influencers: experience as an expectation

Customers and InfluencersWould leaving more space to humans lead to creating a more humanly world ? This question also raises the point of equality. Starting with gender one. The Stanford Social Innovation Review also re-issued a series of article for the international day for women. One of them, by Jackie VanderBrug and Sarah Kaplan, explains “how companies can increase women’s access to capital, promote workplace equity, and create products and services that improve the lives of women and girls.”

A more humanly world would also necessitate to engage younger generations. As Marie-Caroline Missir explains in L’etudiant, students in business and engineering schools have new expectations towards their potential employers. “Although they still seek interesting missions, graduates are now equally demanding on engagement in terms of corporate and social responsibility, ethics and image supported by companies for which they will potentially work“.

We indeed may not be interested in superficial engagement and activities. We may need to be engaged from farther, deeper rooted beliefs and core values. In this, the economic system as existing today is not helpful. In The Washington Post, Dominic Basulto finds that “the reason why we’re seeing smartwatches being marketed as fashion items is because everyone suspects, deep down, that the new smartwatches may not have enough breakthrough functionality on their own to make them attractive to users.”

At the end of the day, it seems users are not looking for an image. They demand the entire experience. That’s the reason why Manu Panda reminds on The Innovation Enterprise that by leveraging big data, we can re-create a better customer experience. In his own words : “We can measure and therefore manage more precisely.  We can make better predictions on customer behavior and better estimate  demand of good and services.  We can target more effective interventions in areas that historically relied on gut and intuition.”

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