Smart people don’t work for you

The management thinker Prof. Mohanbir Sawhney on why it is important that large businesses partner with startups. And Dean Ranjan Banerjee of SPJMIR on thought leadership that can emerge when industry and academia engage

Founding Fuel

What are the most compelling challenges businesses face right now and how ought it be dealt with? These were some of the questions that came up at the SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) Business – Academia Conclave (SBAC) on January 20, 2018. It was curated and organised by SPJIMR and Founding Fuel.

SBAC 2018 was witness to deep conversations and lively discussions with some of the finest minds from India and other parts of the world in attendance and focused on how established corporations and agile startups are coming together to innovate.

This is Part 1 of a four-part series.

The four dimensions of thought leadership

In his opening address, Dr Ranjan Banerjee, the Dean of SPJIMR, delves into why innovation is needed in management education. The new generation expects to be managed and led differently, and we need a management theory ready for the digital world.

To create and disseminate ideas that shape the way practitioners think and act, you first need to understand current practice. This requires dialogue between industry and academia.

Dean Banerjee dwells on the four dimensions of thought leadership emerging out of Indian business schools that are anchored in a two-way flow of ideas between industry and academia:

1. Translation: Making academic research accessible to practitioners

2. Assimilation: Staying current with what’s happening in the field

3. Co-creation: Surfacing new trends together

4. Transformation: Management philosophy—thinking about management itself.

Watch his opening address here:

Dancing with startups

The much acclaimed Prof. Mohanbir Sawhney of the Kellogg School of Management in his keynote makes the case that when corporations and startups collaborate, you get more than a sum of the parts.

His arguments are compelling. Corporations must understand “the smartest people don’t work for you.” And large companies have no monopoly on expertise.

Corporations need to adopt “connected” innovation—a co-creation oriented community process that allows for innovation in ways and at a scale that wasn't possible before. “The thinking needs to change from ‘the lab is my world’ to ‘the world is my lab’,” he points out.

To do that well, you need to understand what both parties are looking for. What are the goals? What are the modes to collaborate? How do you go about it?

To do all this, an innovation ecosystem must be created. Each node in this ecosystem must be managed because it has entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, private equity, universities and research institutes, startup incubators, and innovation marketplaces.

Post his talk, R Gopalakrishnan, Executive-in-Residence, SPJIMR, engages with Prof. Sawhney in a conversation and point outs: “Don’t get comfortable. Talk to customers.”

More on This 

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Agile start-ups, large firms and a jugalbandi for innovation

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About the author

Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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