ESADE Innovation Lab

On Tuesday, February 29th, ESADE Program Management and the D&I Board held an Innovation Lab kick-off and panel discussion.

Guest Speakers:
• Guido Charosky – ESADE lecturer and Co-Founder of Drop, Design for Innovation
• Ian Collingwood – ESADE lecturer, and COO and Program Director for Startupbootcamp
• Nicholas Sayaan – ESADE second year MBA and Innovation student
• Ivanka Visnjic – Assistant Professor in Service and Innovation Management

What will we get out of the Innovation Lab?

Innovation requires changing your perspective. You need to be able to see an old product with new eyes. To re-consider who your end user – or users! – are. And to believe that failure is merely an obstacle on the road to success.

“Innovation is a different mindset. A skillset,” Guido said. “It can give you a competitive edge.”

The Innovation Lab also emphasizes the end user.

“When I teach design thinking, the goal is that they have empathy for the end user. At the risk of sounding like a hippie, I really believe that’s the key to success,” Ian said.

“I’ve learned to think, ‘Who are my users? What are they looking for? What are their pain points?’” Nicholas said.

The Innovation Lab will also build your upon your ability to handle chaos and ambiguity.

“I’ve learned how to manage the uncertainty about not knowing what my end product is going to be,” Nick said. “A lot of people think that innovation is just creativity…but there are so many stories of really amazing technology that failed. And first-to-market people that failed. It’s more about finding what the true business model is and what’s the best way to capture value. Going forward as manager, you need to keep your end user in mind and be creative in all aspects,” Nicholas said.

What are the specific careers and paths that we can have with Innovation Lab?

Once upon a time, D&i-style employees had to fight with management to prove that the user experience was important, but then Apple came along and…well…no one argues about that anymore.

“There are now more and more companies with Innovation Manager roles,” Guido said.
Companies are also looking for people who can tackle business problems with a completely different approach, even if they don’t spell out “innovation” in the job title.

“Career trajectory is where innovation will become the most important,” Ivanka said.

She explained that the demand for an employee with an innovative mindset is growing in Big Four companies and is a strong area of interest in the Executive MBA.

“A lot of them are trying to use innovation for how they consult their clients,” Ivanka said.

“The innovation concept isn’t just one guys responsibility,” Ian said. “Make no mistake, it’s going to be hard. Companies are still conservative…so bridging that gap will be one of your challenges.”

To Summarize:

“Design thinking is the new MBA…You guys are in the right place because you’re doing both!” Ian said.

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