Innovation and Hope

IE Focus | By Salvador Aragon, Professor at IE Business School

Wanting to create a better future is what makes for the best ideas. And we need good ideas more than ever now, as leveraging new opportunities becomes increasingly important.The current economic situation has brought about a drastic change in how people perceive innovation. Only two or three years ago, our society looked on innovation as an important economic and business phenomenon, albeit one that was on the fringe. Innovation was the responsibility of enigmatic R&D departments or, at most, creative individuals who were accepted to a lesser or greater extent in traditional organisations.

Today, innovation is the process in which we place much of our hope. Hope in innovation can be seen in messages like “innovation is of key importance for economic growth” or “a business that does not innovate disappears”. However, this focus may be wrong and may be holding back the development of innovative skills.

From old Europe, the perception of Chile in recent months has been dominated by the rescue of the Atacama miners. The emotions we witnessed at camp “esperanza (hope)” showed a society that was ready to fight for a goal and that remained fully convinced of its own possibilities.

Hope alone, based on a profound belief in one´s own possibilities and in the fact that the future is full of opportunities that are there for the taking, makes innovation possible. Only by facing the future with confidence, despite an adverse present, will human beings, enterprises and societies be capable of generating new ideas, new businesses and new projects that allow them to move forward. Imagine how different the result of the rescue would have been if hope had been lost during the 17 days before the first contact was made with the miners. 

Details

Profitable growth and intrapreneurship

IE Focus | By Pablo Martin de Holan, Professor at IE Business School

Most firms either don´t see business opportunities, or see them and don´t act on them because they lack resources or don’t give their people the right incentives. Growing a business is a good way of achieving its strategic objectives and maintaining its competitive advantage. Growth can, however, be expensive and very uncertain. The dilemma facing the manager is straightforward: find new opportunities that are not too risky, and therefore not so interesting, or move away from the familiar area of competition with the investment and risk such a move involves. 

There is also a third alternative: growing on the back of opportunities created by intrapreneurship. This form of growth allows businesses to leverage opportunities that are usually missed. These opportunities can be many in number and range from minor innovations to radical market changes. Their common denominator is that they can appear anywhere in the business; one common situation in a company is that those who know how can´t, and those who can don´t know how. This short article will offer the basic ideas behind this method.

Details

IE wishes a happy new 2011!

We appreciate very much your loyalty reading this blog and hopefully we can welcome you as well in 2011 – and some of your friends! Use this blog as your starting point for an exciting journey through IE, as student, as alumni or just as curious person seeking broaden your knowledge.