The seventh set of articles from The Future of Universities Thoughtbook |North American Edition introduces…
“Revolution of Innovation Management: Internationalization and Business models” is a new book that has been released by Springer. The publication is co-edited by Prof. Dr. Eric Viardot, Director of the Global Innovation Management Center at EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain and Prof. Dr. Alex Brem who holds the Chair of Technology Management at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU).
In this interview, Prof. Dr. Eric Viardot shares insights about his recent publication, which addresses two main drivers of the current revolution of innovation management, including universities and business schools. The e-book and the hardcover edition of the book are available for sale.
Dr. Viardot, please, provide our readers with a short overview of your new book.
This new book is the second opus dedicated to the most recent trends in innovation today. The first book titled “Revolution of Innovation Management: The Digital breakthrough”, was analyzing digitalization, one of the three driving forces of the current revolution in Innovation Management. This second book explores in detail how two other major forces – globalization and business model transformation are impacting innovation strategy and management in business, notably in terms of creativity, product development, and process change.
First, the recent acceleration of globalization has significantly contributed to revolutionizing innovation management, from both the demand and the supply perspective. The global middle class has grown from 1.3 billion consumers in 2010 to 2 billion in 2015 and it could reach the 3 billion threshold by 2020. That growth has created a massive appeal for new products and services, especially in Asian and South
American countries in addition to Russia and some wealthy countries from the Middle East. This appetite for innovation has been matched by multinational companies which have deployed their Research and Development (R&D) centers all over the world in order to better adapt their offer to the local markets and also to tap the best local expertise in technology and engineering.
But the present revolution of innovation management is also fueled by the surge of groundbreaking business models. Innovating with a different way of doing business has always existed: in their time, companies such as Ikea, Carrefour, Starbucks, and a number of other firms have managed to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage with a groundbreaking business model. However, what was thought of as an exception years ago, now seems to have become a more typical and radical way to innovate, specifically for companies which prefer to break the common practice than just to offer a new product or to apply original processes. The book offers a variety of international perspectives on these topics with illustrations and analyses coming from Asia, America, and Europe.
When did you decide to write the second volume of the book, and why?
Actually, the origin of this second book came at the same time at the first one. Our initial idea was to write a follow up book to a previous one that had been published in 2013, “Evolution of Innovation Management” (Brem and Viardot 2013), which was one of the first books dedicated to analyzing the essential trends in the management of innovation.
We observed that in about three years most of the underlying trends that we had identified had become mainstream and common practice. Open innovation, collaborative processes, platforms, innovation ecosystems are known well known and documented. In the same time, it was clear that the pace and the scope of innovation had increased so dramatically: we then decided to have a more integrated perspective about innovation management by having a wider look to the revolution which is currently taking place. Like with any revolutions, some heads are falling off while new leaders are emerging.
We quickly figured out that by broadening our perspective, we had more interesting material. More specifically, it became very clear that while digitalization is at the heart of the disruption of many industries, it is not the only reason as to why we are currently living an acceleration of innovation in business and society. Thus, we decided to spread our material and analysis over two volumes, and not only one book.
What are the key messages in your book and how do they relate to higher education?
The key message is that innovation today is an integrative process which is the result of three different forces, which often combine themselves to have a mightier effect. Higher Education is a good illustration. The current revolution in Universities and business school is to develop online programs, such as the online MBA. It is telling that the Financial Times now offers a ranking of the 20 top online MBA programs. It reflects the growing importance- and acceptance- in the market with the demand for this kind of program. An online MBA, it is a combination of digital, global, and business model innovation. Many of the face to face classes are now substituted to online classes, which makes it easier for students from across the world to access this kind of program. Although, online MBAs are also changing the business model of schools and universities. First, I can here testify as I am teaching in this kind of program, the teaching skills are very different from the ones required in a traditional class. For instance, the interactions with the students are very different: they are not based on the physical contact but on the virtual interactions and this modifies the dynamic of a class, the same way that a conversation on WhatsApp is different than having a conversation face to face. The length of on online MBA programs and their scheduling is also different than physical programs, etc.
Thus, the conclusion of our book applies very well with the education sector. We argue that the three forces of the innovation revolution- digitalization, globalization, and BM transformation, are impacting the three main activities of the innovation process, namely obtaining, integrating, and commercializing ideas: we provide a framework not only to analyze but also to identify the future challenges of innovation along those 9 characteristics. I believe it can be very effective if used by managers and directors of universities and business schools all over the world.
In your opinion, what are the recent trends and challenges in the area of innovation management?
If you have asked me that question six months ago, my answer would have probably been different, as I am convinced that the future of high education along with business and societies lies in the development of a more integrated and globalized world. However, some recent political and economic events could actually lead to a fragmentation of the world. A recent example is the decision by the US government to raise US import tariffs on steel and aluminum which could generate retaliation from other countries and ultimately would diminish the globalization of exchanges and ideas. Those actions are strengthened with the results of the recent political elections in the US and in Europe where nationalist- and anti-globalization- opinions and support are gaining traction and pushing for more isolationism, as in the early years of the XX century. Even the future of technology could recede to the past; for example, the strong control of the Chinese government on the access to Internet or the suspicion that Russian hackers may manipulate data and opinions on social networks are already having a toll on the diffusion of digital technologies and a wider acceptance and use.
Since the beginning of the XXI century, and especially since the last decade, we have been living an amazing transformation of our world. My opinion is that we are still at the beginning of many other dramatic changes, including in the high education sector, but we should not take the current trends as granted and automatic. Progress in society is not always linear and is often constrained by more conservative forces before finally blossoming.
About Prof. Dr. Eric Viardot
Prof. Dr. Eric Viardot is a full time professor of Corporate Strategy and Marketing and Director of the Global Innovation Management Center at EADA. He worked in different marketing positions for Hewlett-Packard in France, Canada and the USA. He was then a financial director for a large international NGO in Asia and Central America. Eric has published various books and articles on strategic management and marketing with a strong focus on Technology and Innovation Management.