The International Business Management part-time MBA program invited its students to attend the "Innovation Lounge" dialog platform for the first time this past summer semester. The extracurricular event dovetailed nicely with the modules of the MBA program and provided an in-depth look at the rapidly changing technological, economic, and social landscape which companies must navigate.
"We want to offer our MBA students, some of whom are already working as executives themselves, another opportunity to develop skills that will help them advance in their careers. Leaders from a diverse range of industries share their experiences at the 'Innovation Lounge'," said Professor Dr. Eberhard Hohl, who developed the new format together with program director Professor Dr. Barbara Niersbach.
Innovation: The Key to Success in Global Competition
Dr. Hans-Jürgen August kicked off the summer semester in March with his lecture "From Idea to Innovation." He has been active in the fields of quality, innovation, environment, and data protection for over 25 years. In his current position as Senior Director at the tech company TTTech Group, he leads an international communications technology team involved in the automotive, aerospace, and aeronautics industries. In his presentation, he emphasized the need for innovation as a key factor for success in international markets, as well as the importance of a "culture of excellence and creativity." For a company to be innovative, he said, it is necessary to know how to motivate employees to become innovators.
The topic of the second "Innovation Lounge" in April was how innovation can influence the growth trajectory of a company. Steffen Schneider, himself a graduate of the International Business Management program and head of product management for do-it-yourself products at the Wagner Group, emphasized the importance of all employees making a commitment to innovation and, in particular, the example set by the company's management. Steffen Schneider talked about the ways in which a company can strengthen its capacity for innovation and the implications this has for product strategy. The scope of innovation is not limited to products and services, but informs a holistic approach that influences the entire value chain.
Driving Change with Creativity and Emotional Competence
Dr. Martin Allmendinger, managing partner at OMM Solutions GmbH, showed that innovation also has strategic significance for companies. How can companies use business model innovation to leverage potential in the age of digitalization? How can they add value to their customer relationships in a digital age? How can they position themselves strategically through new partnerships? Martin Allmendinger provided practical answers to all these questions.
In June, international business coach and consultant Erik Brown examined innovation as it relates to human resources. His topic: "Leading Yourself and Leading People in Uncertain Times." Drawing upon his more than 40 years of experience, he illustrated what it means to be a leader today and the global challenges that arise. He put a special focus on the VUCA model of the world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). He urged the students not to rely solely on technical knowledge to drive organizational change, but also on creativity, emotional competence, and the active participation of stakeholders.
The "Innovation Lounge" Will Continue in the Upcoming Winter Semester
The summer semester "Innovation Lounge" came to a close in July with a presentation by Dr. Leopold Hüffer, founder and Managing Partner of Hüffer AG in Zurich and Frankfurt. Under the title " Successful Leadership During the Pandemic", he emphasized the importance of rapport for employee morale and esprit de corps. This sense of connection arises above all through meaningful encounters and shared experiences. These create a resonance that interrupts the monotony of everyday life. Hüffer believes that managers can draw inspiration from sports and he talked about coaching-oriented leadership.
The International Business Management program will continue the "Innovation Lounge" in the 2021/2022 Winter Semester. Jan Wittenstein will be the guest in October. He is Director of the Automotive Southeast-Asia Business Group at the Schaeffler Group. Ralph Jacoby, CEO at Jacoby & Cie, Strategy and Management Partner in Stuttgart, will speak in November.