The 360º teaching experience

Who tells that the class room cannot be a circle? Prof. David Bach teaches in a new learning environment. Last July, Professor David Bach, Professor of Strategy and Economic Environment and Dean of Programs, taught an optional Business Government and Society class under a new learning environment. The “Open Space” room, at Maria de Molina…

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IE University || 12 inspiring young minds

2 years ago IE University has created a Junior Advisory Board which serves to provide a worldly and youthful perspective to IE University. IE’s Junior Advisory Board is considered as a part of the IE community, and shows a commitment to excellence and innovation. Board members, though still in High School, are outstanding members of their community and serve as joint representatives of their communities to IE, and also of IE in their communities. Here are the impressions from the 2011 annual board meeting:

This year´s committee comprised of twelve pre-university students, all with an international profile and aged between 15 and 19. They met in Madrid and Segovia to debate the challenges facing university education. The members of the International Junior Advisory Board were selected using IE’s network of 23 international offices in 20 countries, and are from the Czech Republic,  Colombia, India, Jordan, Peru, Romania, Spain, Lesotho and the US.

The talented young members of the Board speak several different languages, are entrepreneurial and top-tier students in a range of disciplines. They are committed to humanistic values and social responsibility. They are international, practical, ambitious and above all they represent a generation which, thanks to its commitment to excellence, innovation, human values and ethics, will not only bring improvements to IE University, but will also serve as leaders in tomorrow’s world.

In their 2011 meeting, the Junior Advisory Board members were asked to think if entrepreneurship can be learnt and what is the role of universities in fostering an entrepreneurial culture. They also discussed how universities can promote diversity and how it can equip students with the tools and skills they need to function in an increasingly competitive global and cosmopolitan market. In an open forum they debated if Social Entrepreneurship has to be a part of a business education and how university sector can engage students in social issues.

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IE Focus || Causes

By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School, published on IE Focus

Social networks have the capacity to mobilize millions of people in defense of a cause, regardless of their location. The far-reaching impact of this is now starting to show.The expansion of social networks has had one extremely interesting effect: the proliferation of causes or claims capable of garnering the support of a large number of people, sometimes very quickly. When this occurs, the person promoting the cause in question cites the number of people involved as evidence of support, whereas sceptics and detractors try to downplay it by talking about of the scant value of support provided by merely using an index finger to click on a mouse. 

Who should we believe? Can we consider this type of group as tangible evidence of support, the virtual equivalent of a street demonstration with banners and slogans, or does the practically zero effort required to support the cause mean it is worth very little? The social importance of this issue is growing as the number of social network users increases: Spain has the highest number of social networks users in the world (according to the latest figures, we are talking about around ten million active users on Facebook and around eight million on Tuenti). As a result, many are starting to see social networks as a kind of “trend laboratory” or a gauge for measuring the “social mood”, a kind of permanent, real-time survey on the widest possible variety of subjects.

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IE Focus || Social web and involvement

By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School, published on IE Focus

One of the key factors driving the boom in so-called social media is customer involvement, now the subject of extensive study.One of the main drivers of the boom of the so-called social media is so-called customer involvement. This represents a measure of how far the customer gets involved with the sender of the message, and is now the subject of extensive study.

Have you ever considered the general effect your messaging has on your target public? In a world full of media that is technologically limited to being unidirectional, the answer to this question was very inexact: we could only find out by using panels or surveys, which were always approximate, and we were unable to associate the answer with specific subjects or try to measure it in purely binary terms: one, buys the product or service, or zero, doesn´t buy it. This absence of information means that communication via the net can be measured or evaluated in a large number of ways that businesses are starting to discover. 

On the social web, users´ reactions are gauged by that fundamental variable: involvement. The minimum involvement of a user in terms of content is to simply “watch it go by”; the content appears and the user simply moves on to something else without interacting with it. Display advertising, for example, is a clear case of this: we can´t even be sure of whether or not the user has actually seen it or stopped to look at it. In fact, display advertising is a luxury in comparison with other media: we can at least know whether or not a specific user has received the impact and then act accordingly. In the press, we can only know the number of newspapers that have been sold and, on television, we have to trust a frugal scattering of audience meters that provide measurements that are poor and few and far between, but which everyone decides to believe since there is nothing better.

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Architecture and Technology: IE University launches its first tablet-based program

The innovative master in management and design for architects is the world’s first postgraduate program to combine creativity and management – it now adds a third angle: technology!

IE University is using Toshiba’s Folio 100 to develop Spain’s first tablet-based academic program. The tablets play an integral role in the University’s Master in Architectural Management and Design (MAMD) program run by IE School of Architecture, with a student body comprised of ten nationalities. All students on the program have a Toshiba Folio100 which they use to communicate with their professors and among themselves, as well as to access practical cases and notes, and to work with different multimedia applications.
Toshiba’s Folio 100 is the only educational platform the student needs for this postgraduate master program, which means there is no need for traditional note-taking. All materials pertaining to the courses that make up the program can be kept on just one learning device.
At the start of the program each student received a Folio 100, using it from the outset to read practical case studies and recommended books, as well as to access the University’s online campus. They will also be using the device to follow video conferences and maintain constant lines of communication with professors and classmates during the online periods of the program.

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Businesses, customers and small fry

IE Focus | By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School

It’s time to put an end to deliberations. If there is anything that really is changing as a direct result of the popularisation of the net and the so-called social web, it is undoubtedly relations between businesses and their customers.

Open your account on Twitter (Sorry? You’re an executive and you still don´t have Twitter or you don´t know what it is?) And write something about well-known large business organizations with millions of customers, such as Telefonica or Iberia, often criticised for their customer service. In a matter of minutes, if what you have said about the company merits a reply, you will quite possibly find it on Twitter. Have a look at the Twitter accounts of Movistar or Iberia… What can you see? Businesses talking directly with their customers and offering to solve their problems. Businesses that listen to the small fry.

It might be a question about items on a bill, explanations about an incident or about an offer: the question is that, after many years of inflexible single-direction trading and contacting customers only to harass them by throwing new products and services in their faces, many businesses are finally starting to use bidirectional communication channels to maintain real relations with their customers. Such relations are much more genuine and make it worthwhile to manage exceptions or speak with a human voice if a problem can be solved and a customer can be satisfied. Trivial? At the moment, more or less testimonial. But undoubtedly a sign of the times. Times in which technology, far from isolating individuals, makes it possible to humanize relations and bring together those who are on both sides of the screen. How can invest millions in expensive CRM systems if our customers then speak about us in public and we pay them no attention?

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Change of Screen

IE Focus | By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School

Television is dead. And not only television, but all the other classic media based on unidirectional communication, because the young are changing the rules. A recent study on teenagers´ habits carried out in the United States reveals of how the way information is consumed in our society has changed over the years: the classic one-way media, such as television, have died a death. The medium that was considered for many years as a bastion of North American culture and which still brings together multimillion audiences for events such as the Super Bowl final is being abandoned by young people in their droves. Time spent in front of the TV has fallen drastically and those who still watch it do so on a different screen: their computer.

The final nail in TV’s coffin has been hammered home, as expected, by the social network. The use of the social network confirms that the absurd fears of some adults for the alleged “isolation” of young people in front of the screen (“they don´t go out any more”, “I prefer my computer to seeing my friends”, “they are so pale because they get no sunshine and only get radiation from the screen”) were unfounded fears: the young people who are the most active on the net are also the most active off the net… they have more friends, go out more and go to more parties.

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Can Nokia compete with the iPad?

IE Focus | By Ricardo Perez, Professor at IE Business School

Nokia is still a leader in terms of sales, but the crown of innovation has now passed to Apple. In order to get it back, Nokia needs to reinvent itself as a mobile services company that offers multiple benefits to its partners. At the last world mobiles congress in Barcelona, Nokia and Intel revealed their plans for the joint development of software for all kinds of devices to compete with Apple and Google. Nokia takes another step forward in its strategy of creating a technological platform that returns it to a position that will enable it to take the initiative in the most interesting market at the present time, i.e. smart phones like the iPhone, and in new markets, such as the one created recently by the iPad. Don´t worry, I won’t go on about the iPad; what I want to speak about is Nokia and its position in today´s market. It is a story of what can happen to a leading company if it comes up with the wrong definition of the business game it is playing. The loss of leadership this causes has happened to others: it has happened to Sony with its music players and its video consoles over the last two years. Nokia had worked hard to create the different technological platforms it believed would enable it to win in the mobile market. Symbian, its key product, has also seen defeat. Allow me to explain.

Nokia established the rules for the top-of-the-range telephone market before iPhone. It created an alliance to produce the base software (operating system) with which telephones worked (Symbian, theoretically neutral and owned by many companies on the market). It also made sure that what users saw on the telephone when they used the menus (user interface) was the development and property of each of Symbian´s partners, which meant it could not enter the market as a competitor. The rules were clear and benefited Nokia in a market that competed in terms of the electronics and “additional utilities” of the telephone (best camera, GPS, etc.).

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A … botnet?

IE Focus | By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School 

You may not know this, but your computer could have a secret life of its own. It may form part of a network that takes advantage of chinks in your computer’s security system to commit fraud. Such a network is called a botnet.The news of the recent arrest of three Spanish citizens responsible for the “Butterfly Network”, described as one of the largest botnets in the world, was received with great interest by Spain’s technology sector. But exactly what is a botnet and what is it used for? What is a zombie computer? What are we talking about?

A botnet, or “robot network”, is a group of computers which, after being infected by a specific person or group, remain under his or its control and can be used for fraudulent purposes. The owners of the computers are usually unaware of the infection and do not know that their machine is being used, together with many more, for some type of generally criminal purpose. The person who manages to control a botnet has many options on the table: collecting sensitive user data, launching distributed denial-of-service attacks and even ordering the computers to click on websites with advertising contracted by a third party. The possibilities are manifold: the botmaster has an army of computers ready to execute a certain command at his/her will, with the profit resulting from any fraudulent behaviour being very difficult to identify as a result of the distribution.

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The iPad or cult of the apple

IE Focus | By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School

Apple did it again. It focused everyone’s attention on the iPad launch, and it will be a success because it takes the best that tablets had to offer and adds the Apple touch.The world of technology has experienced another of those characteristic “cult of the apple” events, also known as the “field of distortion of reality”. Once again we saw how that high priest called Steve Jobs, thin and fragile after his liver transplant, hypnotised the world of technology from a stage, completely redefining, almost reinventing, an entire market segment. For several hours, searches on Twitter for the word “iPad” returned more than five thousand new results per minute, while devotees and critics eagerly followed the news via the several thousands of bloggers and journalists who were at the Yerba Buena Centre of San Francisco. Once again the mystical information system designed by the company worked its magic: a combination of obsessive secrecy seasoned with a few information leaks that were not confirmed until the moment of truth and a staging capable of creating a truly surprising level of expectation. 

Before the iPad, the world of mobile devices began with mobile telephones, continued with the so-called netbooks and ended with laptops, the category in which Apple´s sales reached their high. However, Apple had often snubbed the intermediate category of netbooks, which it referred to as small, limited computers that led to poor user experiences. As a result, Apple had a clear gap in its product range, a gap it has filled with a move that is strategically perfect. It offers a product that is familiar: after redefining mobile telephones with the iPhone and becoming the reference design, it has designed something that is simply a very big iPhone, something everyone who has ever had an iPhone in their hands knows how to use or, in the light of the company´s concept of usability, even if they have never held one. It is everything from a book or a magazine to a simple computer when used with a keyboard base. 

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Mobiles and children

IE Focus | By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School

If you still think the main purpose of your mobile phone is voice transmission, and you can’t understand why younger users seem permanently obsessed with their mobile screens, then you are missing out on something.For those of us who are at a certain age, it is a challenge for the memory to put some perspective on the technological advances we see as completely normal and as an intrinsic part of our everyday life today. One of the best examples is the mobile telephone, a device that has found its way into thousands of millions of pockets of people all over the world who never leave home without it. 

One recent study in the United States shows that the average age at which children get their first mobile telephone has now fallen to 12 years. Depending on the purchasing power of these children´s families, the penetration levels in the upper-middle-class segment are higher than 87%. If we look back in time, many of us would find it hard to remember that when we were 12 years old, not only did we not have a mobile telephone, but there was also no possibility of us having one. Not only that, the vision of anyone speaking apparently on their own in a car or while walking down the street would have made us immediately think that they had some kind of mental problem. The telephone was a device connected to the wall by a cable, with two different parts joined together by a coiled cable. It had a dial (show one to today´s children… they take knowing what to do with “that” as some kind of challenge) the use of which was also strictly limited as far as we were concerned. 

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Apple and Google in the headlines

IE Focus | By Ricardo Perez, Professor at IE Business School

Apple and Google go head to head in the race for mobile dominance. Apple is pushing for pay-per-click services while Google defends flat rates.Apple and Google have been making the headlines with revolutionary product launches these last weeks. American news programs once again held Steve Jobs up as as a champion of innovation, design, envy, advanced technology and anything else you might like to name.

Meanwhile, the boys at Google haven’t been idle. They have launched their own telephone to compete with the iPhone and Nokia and RIM (Blackberry) intelligent phones. What started out as a close collaboration and agreement between companies trying to “reinvent the game” in their respective markets is now morphing into direct competition. Their view of the growing convergence of communication networks, technologies and social behavior leads to collisions in key markets like content consumption, mobile technologies and entertainment. Let’s analyze their collision courses.

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Imperfect markets

IE Focus | By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School

The barriers to entry that have plagued the music industry for decades have made it the perfect example of an imperfect market. The internet can put an end to this situation, but there are plenty of people who don’t want it to happen.An imperfect market is when the supply and demand are conditioned or altered so as to prevent normal development. Imperfect markets are often the result of monopolies, exclusivity, obstacles, blocks, etc. caused by many situations that usually lead to inefficiency.

One typical example is the music market. For many years the supply was conditioned by the “selection” process that a small number of leading record companies applied to talent. You could be a genius, propose something that was original and interesting or sound incredibly good, but if you did not pass through the record company´s filter, it was more or less impossible to access the market. The filter could depend on the mood of the person listening to your demo, your sponsors, all kinds of commercial criteria or even what you were willing to do to pass the first stage of the selection process, but if you did not pass it, your possibilities were very low indeed. The capacity for self-production was minimal, the capacity for distribution was almost zero and for promotion it was just pie in the sky: demand was also controlled and manipulated through access to the media.

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