Business Talk: Innovation challenge in firms

Innovation is the key to sustainable competitive advantage. However, it faces many challenges when attempting to get innovation programs off the ground. How to balance between optimization of processes and nurturing creativity? This question were answered by professor Bruno in the last Business Talk on April 10.

Prof. Bruno van Pottelsberghe has been Dean of the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM), at Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) since April 2011. He is a full-time professor and holder of the Solvay S.A. Chair of Innovation, he teaches courses on the economics and management of innovation and intellectual property.

Why do the companies disappear?

Professor Bruno began his speech with a question: Why do the companies disappear? After a few audiences’ comments, he collected and synthesized them into 4 main reasons: The cost competition, failure to innovate, disruptive technology, disruptive models, and board’s decisions.

The professor mentioned 2 real cases of Blackberry and Nokia to prove. Blackberry used to be the best one but then dropped dramatically, and Nokia used to be a big leading company in the mobile phone industry but failed quickly because of wrong innovation strategy.

According to professor Bruno, this can happen to every kind of companies and if you want to innovate, you can’t just think about it, YOU HAVE TO ACT!

In fact, innovation is the thing every company must face, no matter if they’re a start-up company or an old one. In his opinion, if a company wants to innovate, they have to focus on several factors to have successful innovation management:

  • Always be aware of mega trends: “Innovation always is aware of mega trends”, stated professor Bruno. Few mega trend was mentioned: digital era, generation X, pollution… This should be focused on if you want to build a good new business, or to attract talents because you can’t be the only talented person, you have to attract talents to work with you

  • Integrate board policy changes: Finding talents is easy but keeping them is another thing. If your company doesn’t have any policies or takes good care of them, they will leave, sooner or later.
  • Display and commit a meaningful mission and vision: You need to have a clear mission statement that focuses on a significant group of people and remember to commit to it.
  • Avoid too long “denials”: Instead of denying what is important, you should try to manage the change.

  • Manage the internal barriers to change: Innovation management not only focuses on your consumers but first, it should be started with your colleagues.
  • Communication is key, towards all employers: “The more you want to change something, the more you communicate”, stated Professor Bruno.
  • Deploy authentically leadership and emotional capital: The innovation, most of the time, starts with the boss. Therefore, to have successful innovation management, it is necessary to eliminate those who are too emotional, dictatorial or conservative.

Innovation management is not only a trend, it is a must if you want to build a successful business. Therefore, professor Bruno hopes everybody will be able to change at least one thing in their daily life, have new ideas and apply them into their businesses after this talk.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *