Solvay Workshop: Innovation for Disruptive Growth

The special workshop “Innovation for Disruptive Growth” with our Keynote speaker – Professor John Metselaar took place on the 3rd of October 2019 at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City – Bitexco Tower. The event had received great interest from the public with more than 50 participants who were CEOs and top managers from many different types of companies.


The term V.U.C.A world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) is no longer out of the ordinary to be mentioned, especially in businesses. Niccolo Machiavelli once wrote, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things”. So how can we manage changes and unpredictabilities to lead companies successfully? Indeed, having realized the important role of innovation, which is considered as one of the essences to remain competitive, professor Metselaar shared with us these following 5 main key points:

  1. Fundamentals – Getting Grounded
  2. The Right Strategy – External View!
  3. The New Leadership – “Servant”
  4. The Mindset – “Growth, not Fixed”
  5. The Culture – “Learning”



1. Fundamentals – Getting Grounded
So what innovation means exactly? For Professor Metselaar, innovation is simply finding ways to do things better, in order to turn knowledge into financial stability for business, create values for not only the company, but also consumers, stakeholders and society as a whole. Three types of innovation which businesses might consider pursuing were Incremental, Transformational and Disruptive Innovation. Each type will fit different company’s potentialities, strategies, resources and current state of affairs.


2. The Right Strategy – External View!
Participants were engaged in a warm-up game in which they needed to pick what they think was a “Strategy” out of 7 statements. Only a few people got the right answer. In this session, the questions like “Who you are?, What you are about?, Why you are here?, Where you are going? Where are the star you are shooting for?” really helped the participants to start thinking and reflecting on their current situation and where they wanted themselves, or their companies, to be in the future. The “Right Strategy” will then follow as a result of the pre-defined mission and vision.


3. The New Leadership – “Servant”
With more than 30-year global leadership responsibility at Procter and Gamble as the Former Director of Innovation, Professor Metselaar developed a framework which he called “Servant Leadership”. The term defines a leader who must work as hard as any member of his/her team (to walk to talk) and put more effort in building employees’ engagement and empowerment, as the pace of change has made it impossible for the leader to “know it all”. This new leadership style is strongly believed to have the ability to engage and “get everyone into the game”.


3. The Mindset – “Growth, not Fixed”
“Whether you think you can or you can’t… You’re right.” – Henry Ford. As the discussion progressed, Professor Metselaar discussed what it meant and how important it was for people to have a Growth Mindset. Having such mindset is the only way to turn knowledge into ideas, ideas into opportunities and experimentation and those into RESULTS. Understanding the power of mindset can change not only personal lives but also businesses and even the larger society.


4. The Culture – “Learning”
To wrap up the discussion, Professor Metselaar concluded that to him, when it comes to disruptive growth, psychology and sociology is more important than technology, so it is crucial to nurture the growth mindset in the organization. A love-of-learning culture might be created and fostered using main factors like leadership, individuals and relationships. The introduction of a new culture would take time, but if being done gradually, persistantly and holistically, it will certainly help organizations to achieve full potential and success.



After the presentation of Professor Metselaar, Mr. Le Hoang Anh – Founder and CEO of EcoTruck, shared his business model which is a perfect example of using innovative approach in a V.U.C.A Business World. EcoTruck which created its own eco-system by integrating logistics, truck financing, insurance, fuel services, etc. has received $2 million fund with an ambition to decrease logistic cost by 1% of GDP in 5 years for the Vietnamese Market.



We send our deepest thanks to the speakers and we highly appreciate your presence at the workshop. 

For the current MBAs and Master Programs, Solvay continues to recruit MBA & Master in Business Quality and Performance Management (MBQPM), Master in Marketing and Communication (MMCOM). The next intakes of MBA & MBQPM are going to start in November 2019 and for MMCOM, the course will take place in March, 2020.


Thanks to your support, there will be so many more Solvay events in the near future, so stay tuned! Join our next event “Self Discovery for Mastering Your Future” on the 24th of October to understand yourself better, catch up with great speakers and Solvay community again!


Please visit our website or contact us via hotline 097 8803733 for more information on upcoming programs, courses and activities.

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