A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience, and one of the great value additions of business school is the variety of proficient speakers at the top of their fields that we as students get to interact with and obtain a lifetime’s worth of insights!
One of the best examples of these kinds of events was the recently concluded Innovation forum that was held by the Strategic Innovation Academy. Thanks to the amazing efforts of the academy directors in the SI academy, the full time MBA students were treated to an array of speakers ranging across a spectrum of industries from energy to publishing. However, there was a common thread that bound these speeches together, and that was the efficient harnessing and implementation of Innovation. The speakers for the forum were:
- J. Erik Fyrwald ,Chairman, President, CEO, Nalco Holding Company
- Brian Rauch Vice President, Engineering – Worldwide Construction & Forestry Division, John Deere
- Kent Peterson, Vice President, Strategic Sales Management , McGraw-Hill Higher Education
- Keith Mueller ,Global Managing Partner – Retired ,Utility Industry Group, Accenture
Mr. Fyrwald talked about how his company had to strategically partner with other firms in order to create alliances that would take advantage of innovative product offerings to expand into emerging markets. Mr. Rauch walked the audience through the process of innovation as applied to a product that his company had developed. Mr. Peterson presented the emergent innovations in the publishing industry and provided us with an insight of how we might be taking these courses in a radically different manner. Mr. Mueller had the listeners spellbound with an array of innovative products that he was helping to conceptualize and bring to market.
Over and over again, we were treated to a mesmerizing morning learning about the real time challenges that we would face as future business leaders in trying to motivate our organizations to innovate. It is one thing to learn about the strategic management of innovation in a classroom and academic setting, but it is a totally different dimension of our education and experience to gain the perspective of business leaders who are at the cusp of innovation, and are leading their organizations through these changes.
Another integral and immensely valuable part of the forum was the variety of business representatives from the local community who had attended the forum. Over the intervals and lunch, the students had great opportunities to interact and obtain insight of the experiences of these representatives in their organizations. The synergy that they provided with the students and the guests provided an invaluable component to the forum.
As a member of the TBSA and the SI academy, it was a great opportunity for me personally to be involved in organizing this first ever Innovation forum. It was immensely satisfying to see that all the participants of the forum, from speakers to guests to the students enjoyed the event and gained perspective from it.
As Einstein said, ““The only source of knowledge is experience”, and it was great for us to have obtained this experiential knowledge, albeit second hand from these business leaders, and cannot wait for the next Innovation forum in spring 2011.