The University in 2040: 6 trends & an infographic.

On November 23, I had the honor of giving a talk at the NRC Live event for Education. I was scheduled immediately after Bert van der Zwaan, rector magnificus at the University of Utrecht. Van der Zwaan launched his book that day: the result of sabbatical he and his wife took in 2015. During that sabbatical they traveled the world and tried to speak with as many educational visionaries as possible. It led to the work: The University in 2040, does it still exist?

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What trends make Innovation Managers sweat?

After having succesfully launched a poll in December, we decided to drop a new question for you. 2012 has just started and many newspapers, blogs and video’s are trying to show us the trends for upcoming year. Summarizing speeches of professional trendwatchers I ran into lately, I could identify a few trends that are interesting for 2012.

Epxerience economy

Most of the trendwatchers are seeing trends in the way consumers are acting in the market. Started off already years ago, the experience economy will get to its highest point in 2012. Consumers are no longer looking for products, new technologies or sustainable services only, they are digging deeper, willing to get unique experiences that come along with the products and services they buy.

Time-to-innovate is outrunned by speed of market

Another trend is the fact that, due to globalization and rapidly increasing access to broadband internet and mobile apps, consumers needs are changing faster than we could ever imagine. This doesn’t mean they aren’t loyal anymore, they are just looking for great experiences and consumers will get loyal to companies who can adopt faster than the consumers can even imagine. If we don’t innovate faster, we are running into the opportunity that our Time-to-Innovate will be much longer than our consumer loyalty can handle.


Another interesing trend is the rate of influencability of “the guy from the block”. Well, a guy with a lot of twitter followers, a huge Facebook fan list or some other form of social influence. We all know that influencers are paid by large brands, but hey, if they are integer, they will also publish about those small brands that we didn’t know of. And it’s those influenceable posts that start ruling our marketing. It makes our campaigns viral and it can ruin multi-million-dollar campaigns in seconds as well. Just be prepared.

So what do you think:

Please fill in our poll and we’ll come back to this later!

Teaming up on Open Innovation: art or science?

Teaming up on Open Innovation: art or science?

Earlier this week, ABN AMRO, released a report on Open Innovation, titled “Teaming up on Open Innovation: art or science?”. Although solely released for the food sector, it explores Open Innovation theory from a new and interesting perspective. The report is authored by prof. dr. Omta (University of Wageningen), dr. Fortuin (Food Valley) and drs. Dijkman (ABN AMRO).

The core of the article consists of 5 key elements: the critical (failure) factors for Open Innovation.

What are the critical (failure) factors of Open Innovation?
  • Defining problems and setting goals: according to the authors there are three ways of overcoming this issue. First of all, do a lot of (premature) research and dare to stop when you’re on a dead end road. Secondly, create road maps. Meaning: use trends and market knowledge to look at least 5 years ahead, because that’s time it takes for a radical innovation to land. And lastly, “look different, look foward”, referring to Henry Fords quotation: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
  • Partner selection: try to find partners as fast as possible. Management commitment in this process is essential. Also, don’t be egocentric. Open Innovation is about contributing rather than perceiving. And lastly, there is more contracts. A succesfull collaboration is built by mutual trust and commitment.
  • Building a contract: set rules and find and define the risks that are involved in collaboration. It is easy to say that risks are inevitable, but in fact, they are not if you think about them thouroughly.
  • Executing the Open Innovation project: don’t let fear rule the process. It happens to every project that – at some time – there is some distrust or mistrust in the partnership. Invest in trust, do what it takes. Link cultures and communicate oftenly and profoundly. This also means investing in speaking each others (technical) language and managing conflicts.
  • Monitoring the project: start off by knowing how important costs are, how the project will be managed and what other preconditions are necessary during the project.

Art or Science?

Oddly, the report doesn’t give an answer to the question that is raised in the title of their work. Which gives us the opportunity to ask you: what do you think: is Open Innovation art or science?