Building Innovation Capabilities through the Academe

Innovation has, time and time again, proven to be what acts as a determining factor in whether a company will survive in the long run. How integral innovation is can be seen in how companies like Apple were able to overtake companies like Nokia significantly. Apple had a strong understanding of emerging trends and consumer demand that they were able to build on. Apple was working on building their iPhone that combined features in a way that was virtually unheard of at the time. On the other hand, Nokia did not acknowledge technological trends early on and focused more on what they were already previously successful for. Nokia’s lack of foresight led them to their eventual downfall as a company. In this case, Apple shows how innovation is vital in navigating through the rapidly changing business world. 

Corporate Innovation enables organizations with the ability to stay competitive in their respective industries. Innovation ensures that companies continuously improve upon their processes and on the services or goods that they offer. In addition to this, the benefits of corporate innovation span, not just in how the company performs in the market but also internally as well. When companies possess strong cultures of innovation internally, they empower their employees with the freedom to take the initiative when they identify opportunities. Companies that have strong innovation capabilities stay at the forefront of the markets they deal in. With corporate innovation, organizations can lead and determine the direction where their industries are headed. 

In building corporate innovation, organizations require qualified leaders who possess effective change management and strategic foresight skills. Leaders need to be equipped with the right knowledge and skills to establish a culture of innovation. One of the most prominent ways leaders can develop their innovation skills is through formal education in universities and business schools. 

Innovation Degrees – A Signal for the Rise in Corporate Innovation

In recent years, a growing number of degrees centered on innovation have emerged and are currently being offered by major educational institutions, universities, and business schools. These innovation degree programs seek to provide people with the skills to identify emerging signals, trends, and business opportunities. The programs also help individuals further their skills in leveraging digital transformation to improve their organizations’ various processes and systems, regardless of whether it be in an entrepreneurial or corporate setting. 

In the West, some of the most prestigious business schools, including MIT Sloan School of Management, Harvard Business School, IE Business School, The Wharton, and INSEAD now offer MBA programs centered on innovation. According to Maura Herson, Assistant Dean of the MBA program at MIT Sloan School of Management, Sloan aspires to create innovative leaders that can change the world. Sloan’s close ties with MIT also contribute greatly to the school’s strong focus on innovation. IE Business School shares similar sentiments regarding its emphasis on innovation and its capacity to make businesses sustainable in the long-run. This year, IE even announced that it would be investing €50 million (US$55.7m) on technology immersion for its institution focusing on AI, blockchain, and fintech. 

Innovation degree programs have also begun taking shape in the Philippine academe as well.  The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) offers the Master of Science in Innovation and Business (MSIB) program. This 15-month program aims to equip young professionals with skills to become catalysts for innovation. AIM’s MSIB program is geared towards ensuring that its graduates can possess strong leadership skills in working in team-based initiatives, foreseeing opportunities and trends in their particular industries, managing technology-centered products and services, and making deliberate decisions grounded on finance. The Ateneo Graduate School of Business, on the other hand, offers their Master in Corporate Entrepreneurship program, which is handled in partnership with Bayan Academy. Ateneo’s Master in Corporate Entrepreneurship program seeks to establish an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit within corporations to enable a culture of innovation to flourish. 

The rise in MBA programs at top business schools reflects the demand exhibited by companies as they realize the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in enabling them to thrive. This can serve as a major signal in terms of the direction business environments are headed towards, particularly regarding the skills that will be needed in the future to succeed. Corporations today can invest in people with the skills that innovation programs provide and even encourage their current employees to take advantage of the opportunity to up-skill for the future. Possessing employees with strong innovation capabilities will become more integral to businesses’ survival in the future as business landscapes continue to become increasingly competitive. The rising number of innovation programs being offered around the world serves as an opportunity to prepare and ensure that companies’ longevity is taken care of.