The Innovation Management Game is a ‘serious game for serious professionals’: a business simulation in which different teams compete with and against each other to build an innovative corporation.
The Innovation Management Game shows the players that leading an innovative organisation always goes hand in hand with finding the right balance between short term orientation – such as cost optimalization and increasing revenue – and long term orientation – such as innovation and technological developments. The Game contributes to the personal development of professionals on the fields of Innovation Management, Business Model Innovation, Open Innovation, Co-creation, Social Innovation, Crowdsourcing, Entrepreneurship and Crowdfunding. The Game is meant for both students in higher education and universities and professionals.
Please take a second to vote for this concept at Accentures website (in Dutch; just click the Facebook/Twitter buttons).
A couple of weeks ago, I had to give a presentation about innovation management at the Frismakers Festival in the Netherlands. The presentation was about innovation management at Avans University, where I’m employed as a lecturer on this topic.
The presentation follows a structured number of steps:
firstly, I had to jump into the subject: the innovation management game, a game about innovation management, a company that is now commercially developed but started as a spinn-off from Avans University.
In the next step, a short summary of the need for innovation in the educational sector followed: it all comes down to our business model. Why are students going to Universities? Right, because they’ll receive graduate certificates. Why do they need them? Right, because companies ask for these credentials. But what if companies are not asking for credentials from a single University anymore, more rather like their new employees to have different certificates from high-end institutes like MIT or Harvard, received by following online courses (which is already possible), why would students go to a smaller institute like ours? The current business model is on the edge of a huge change and educational facilities need to think about their innovative capacity quickly.
In the next phase, I explained what we did: the process of innovation. The direction of innovation is mainly top-down. But most of the (fuzzy front end of) innovation starts bottom-up, like in many professional organizations. Therefore, many great ideas will never make it to a good business case, let alone a true a commercial product or service.
So what did we learn? Innovation has to be facilited both top-down (for the larger projects, oftenly incremental) as bottom-up (for radical ideas). We also learned that innovation (therefore) mostly happens incidently. However, the whole idea behind innovation management is to not let is happen incidently. And thirdly, there is never enough time. Innovation is something we usually do in the weekends.
Bottom line: we acted on it by creating a new rol: the innovation director (1 fte) in the lowest level of hierarchy in the organisation: the team of lecturers. All the lecturers got 5% of their time to spend on innovation, which is managed by this director. Ideation and Concepting are seperated; some people are better at the first, some people do better at concepting. The director talks to the educational board and makes sure that project fall within strategic plans or – when not – are supported by external or internal financial resources. And it’s starting to pay off.
Switzerland keeps its prime position in the list and Singapore stays second. Switzerland is renowned for its high investment in Research and Development and highly integrated collaboration efforts between business and knowledge institutes. In Singapore the main factors mentioned are the professional attitude and efficiency of the government. The top 5 is completed with two Scandinavian countries – Sweden and Finland, because of their investments in innovation and their outstanding integration between higher education and companies and The Netherlands.
One of the new-comers in the Top 5 are The Netherlands, according to the recently published report by the World Economic Forum. The last time they were part of the Top 5 was in 2000. The Netherlands score particularly high on “advanced technology” and “innovation” and is therefore one of the most innovative countries of the world this year. The figure below shows the competitiveness of The Netherlands over the years:
The report has taken into account a bunch of different factors, grouped among the following aspects:
Health and prime school
Higher education and training
Efficiency of the goods market
Efficiency of the labour market
Development of the financial markets
Spreaded across the different aspects, several different factors in the field of innovation have been studied and depicted in the report. For instance, The Netherlands score as followed on those factors:
The following factors translate as: capacity for innovation, quality of scientific institutes, expenditures on R&D, R&D-related collaboration between universities and companies, governmental procurement of advanced technological products, availability of knowledge workers and intelectual property/patents.