Is innovation becoming less and less effective in business schools?

Innovation Peter Lorange

In this week’s guest post, Peter Lorange, President and owner of the Lorange Institute of Business Zürich and former President of the IMD, Lausanne, asks if innovation in business schools is becoming less and less effective.

The need for innovation

High-tech students

University of Notre Dame introduced “the iPad class” in 2010.

When most innovation initiatives are originally introduced, the aim is to stimulate business schools to improve and to help them to become stronger.

Innovation is definitely the key. Many of us understand that when a firm is able to offer products and / or services featuring innovations that the customers can understand and appreciate, then the firm will probably be able to sell more and at a higher price, i.e. higher revenues, better returns!

The success of many so-called luxury goods is based on this formula.

Business schools as luxury goods

Business schools in all countries looking to innovate

The critical issue is to innovate in a way that would be beneficial for students.

But, our business schools can increasingly be seen as being analogous to featuring luxury goods also. The critical success factor for top business schools will be their ability to innovate quickly in ways that its students, customers can understand and appreciate. But, to what extent is our research actually relevant for our program offerings – or is excessive focus on narrow axiomatic approaches intended for so-called A-journals actually slowing down relevant innovations? Is our faculty recruiting and promotion system, perhaps culminating with tenure, encouraging rapid innovations in our institutions? Regrettably the conclusion is often no.

The need for reform in business schools

To be able to innovate more effectively, faster and in more relevant ways, there is probably a need to overhaul many of the structures and processes so well established in many of our business schools.

The leading business school of the future is probably going to be different from today – more networked, more focussed on servicing the student / participant, often smaller! Exciting times lie ahead!

Please add your comments

Are business schools losing their ability to innovate?

In what ways might they need to be reformed?

How will future business schools be organised and what will they look like?

Peter LorangePeter Lorange is President and owner of the Lorange Institute of Business Zürich and former President of the IMD, Lausanne. Peter obtained his undergraduate degree from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, He then went on to get an MA degree in operations management from Yale University, and his Doctor of Business Administration degree from Harvard University.

Despite an illustrious career, Peter has remained throughout very modest about his long list of achievements. You may also be interested in reading his excellent new book, Leading in Turbulent Times.

See also:

Peter Lorange’s Blog

“Blog of Professor Dr. Peter Lorange , one of the world’s foremost business school academics.”

AACSB Associate Deans Conference 2012: Lessons from Change in Business Schools

Change in business schoolsReflections and lessons from change in Business Schools: What is next?

One of the opening sessions of the AACSB Conference for Associate Deans Conference brought together panelists from 4  business schools; Latha Ramchand, Dean at the University of Houston, Lynne Richardson, Dean at the University of Mary Washington, Deborah Spake, Associate Dean at the University of Alabama and Kristie Oglivie, Interim Associate Dean at California State University. The Panel was chaired by Susan McTiernan, Associate Dean at Quinnipiac University and Vice Chair of the Associate Deans Affinity Group.

Here are some of the remarks from the panel.

Read more…

The Shanghai Jiaotong Academic Ranking of World Universities 2012…and the winners are….

Academic rankingsLast week a group of young researchers at the Shanghai Jiaotong university were busy compiling the 9th version of the Academic Ranking of World Universities. This was first compiled in 2003 and was greeted like a bombshell in France as well as in several other countries.

The 2012 once again confirmed the supremacy of American universities where more than half of the top 100 being from the USA. 9 years on the winners are….the USA (though with warning signs), China, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia. And the losers? Japan, Germany and perhaps India. Read more….

AACSB Associate Deans Conference 2012: Millennials Incorporated: Our Student Cohort

Andrea Hershatter Emory University At the AACSB Associate Deans Conference in Houston, Texas, Andrea Hershatter, Senior Associate Dean at the Goizueta Business School, Emory University gave a wonderful presentation about the Millennial Generation. It was such a rich, entertaining and well researched talk, that it really would be difficult to do it justice in a short blog. (And no, I’m not her agent!) This short article sets out some of the main ideas, but if you get the chance I highly recommend that you go and see her speak. Read more…

10 Corporations That Have a Major Hand in Higher Education

Online Colleges: “BP has contracts with Berkeley, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, MIT, and more. The energy company regularly engages in multimillion dollar contracts for university research, including a 10-year, $500 million investment in Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute.”

Sunday Best :: July 22 2012

Higher Ed Management: “7 Must-Read Books on Education, MOOCs Fail Students With Dark Age Methods, Predictions for Educational TV in the 1930s, ..” and other interesting articles concerning issues of higher education.

Business Schools Should Teach You How To Tell a ‘Sticky’ Story

Modern World: “I was captivated by one of my favorite professors’ courses, in which he told us to ‘learn to tell a story that sticks’.  I matched everything together and got to an interesting conclusion. Business Schools should provide Marketing students with at least a basic set of creative writing skills!!”

Ian Barker of Symtext: The Education Entrepreneur’s Experience

Higher Education Management: “Ian Barker is the Founder of Symtext, a Toronto-based start-up. Symtext’s core product and service is “Liquid Textbooks” – in use at UCLA, San Diego State University, and by publishers like Oxford University Press Canada. I asked Ian to provide his view of the “start-up” experience in digital higher ed.”


The Halo Effect Leading in Turbulent Times Blue Ocean Strategy
Excellent book that should be read by all managers and business students. Excellent advice taken from Lorange’s business and academic career. Classic book that gives the ins and outs of creating new markets.

Mark Thomas

Grenoble EM

ESC Grenoble




Global Ed

International Affairs in Higher Education

Business School


Filed under Business, Business Schools, Education, Guest Authors, Higher Education, Innovation, Leadership, Management, Strategy

7 responses to “Is innovation becoming less and less effective in business schools?

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  7. Musah Bawuule

    The trouble affecting Innovation is not the lack of it per se but probably the lack of willingness by the structures in place to allow innovation to take place. For example as the world embraces modern technological infrastructure in transmitting information, what would happen to University physical infrastructure like lecture theatres and large offices with swivel chairs for the chancellors and their associates? Traditions in schools, colleges and universities may reluctantly want to face up to the challenges of innovation because they have been doing things the way they do them for so many years and are probably happy to continue doing them that way because that is how the have learnt to do them.
    It may sound simplistic to suggest that innovation will not face challenges of the times but the sooner it is embraced, the quicker things get better.

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