Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’

Closing the innovation gap

ESADE Business School launches all new MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship It is a well-known fact that Europe lags behind its US and Japanese counterparts in patenting and commercializing innovation. Earlier this month the European Union’s Innovation Union Scoreboard pointed to an “innovation emergency” highlighting Europe’s weakness in generating revenue from innovation that can bring high returns for companies in global markets. One way to improve this situation is by training the engineers and scientists behind the

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innovation how to manage it as a business opportunity, helping them move from a purely scientific perspective to one that encompasses business opportunities as well. This is one of ESADE Business School’s key competences. The school already works on bringing science to business (and business to science) on various levels but with the launch of the new MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship ESADE will train the innovation business leaders of tomorrow. Aimed at recent graduates of any discipline, the programme, held in Barcelona, seeks to bring together young innovative

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thinkers and potential entrepreneurs and train them to manage innovation and/or create new science and technology based companies. The year-long MSc, supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), is comprised of a bridge course (for non management graduates), a core programme and different specialisation tracks. Core subjects include creativity and Design Thinking; finding the opportunity: analysing technological markets; building and testing business models to create, deliver and capture value; and financing the new ventures, among others. Students then have the option to focus on 1) Innovation Management (innovation networks, technology parks, innovation policy, etc), 2) Corporate Innovation and Intrapreneuship (management of innovation departments, cells or innovative SMEs) or 3) Entrepreneurship (for those who want to create their own companies). Playing to its strengths, ESADE launches this programme in line with of a wide range of initiatives, commitments and programmes in the area of innovation. From the school’s 20,000m2 open and cross innovation

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park, ESADECreapolis, to its status as the leading business school in the European innovation network for sustainable energy, InnoEnergy (also part of the EIT). From its work bringing together research scientists and MBA students, in its innovation speed dating events; to training doctoral level scientists in its From Science to Business programme and running executive-level programmes with international thought leaders such as Henry

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Chesbrough or Kenneth Morse.

In Constant Contact

mobile panelESADE MBA’s hold expert panel on the future of mobile technology

The increasingly complex world of mobile technology has been steadily moving away from a way to simply make a phone call when you’re way from home towards a web 2.0 platform with an infinite number of applications and functions. This convergence has lead business of many different types becoming key players in the sector, making it one of the most difficult to get to grips with. ESADE MBA students keen to take advantage of telecoms experts visiting Barcelona for the Mobile World conference took the initiative to organize a panel on the future of mobile technology with four experts in different fields of mobile technology. Gordon Rawling, Senior Director Regional Marketing at Oracle, an infrastructure provider to the mobile industry; Branden Claisse, Director of Business Development and Media Sales at Mojiva, Inc. a mobile media network for advertisers and publishers; Hassan Kabbani, CEO at Mobinil, an Egyptian

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mobile operator; and Hamilton Sekino, Partner at Nauta Capital, an investor in wireless space entrepreneurs, made up the panel. With each of the guests representing a different area of mobile technology and a different country, it made for an interesting overview of the sector. Moderated by ESADE professor Jonathan Wareham, the informal panel got straight on to grappling with the somewhat illusive future of mobile technology. Each of the panelists agreed that there is a great need to develop new business models, particularly so that as Rawling put it “money goes to actual service providers, not over-the-top providers.” Kabbani further developed this advocating a need to “protect the ecosystem and get money to all those contributing to the value chain, making investment in infrastructure worthwhile for the operators, thus ensuring the service is available for all.” This is particularly important when it comes to the issue of guaranteeing that there is sufficient bandwidth to support the increase in users and usage. As Rawling asked, “Why would an operator invest money into infrastructure which other companies will get revenue from?”

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Nevertheless while the sector mulls over a solution for this, as Sekino noted there are a number of cost-efficient ways operators can make their services more agile: 1) Operators can work to have handsets to automatically offload to Wifi networks where available, 2) they can create a system of prioritization based a) on user value or b) the type of application used. Where these are dynamic and able to adapt to changes in use, they may help operators meet users’ needs for the time being however, investment in infrastructure and innovation will still be needed. In any event, he panelists highlighted that innovation is essential to move forward in many ways, such as driving down cost, making the most of revenue models and well as developing new uses. Kabbani noted we can no longer talk about a geographical concentration of innovation since interesting technology and ideas are being developed in emerging markets where people are less hindered by expectations and face different realities. As an example of this, Sekino cited M-PESA a mobile payment system launched by Vodafone and Safaricom in Kenya, which changed the lives of many Kenyans who could not afford bank accounts, and has since been rolled out in a number of other countries. Kabbani highlighted that a similar thing has happened in Egypt where despite only 10% of the population holding a bank account, there are already around 60 million credit and credit transfer operations via mobile per month. The panelists agreed that future volume will come from emerging markets but that for this to work local approaches are required. Clays highlighted that advertising systems like his with global reach but a hyper-local approach will be able to harness the potential of the different markets. While Rawling called for companies to look at what they are trying to sell and where they are trying to sell it, “use the world as a laboratory to find out what people want” he suggested. Services too, need to adapt to the realities of different markets, as Kabbani pointed out, Egyptian customers do not take kindly to discovering their new phone is fully equipped with maps of Europe but offers none of their home country. In terms of applications and devices, the panel underscored that the proliferation of the I-Phone and Android make it easier for developers to work on aps to meet the many different needs of consumers around the world. As an example of a new use for mobile technology, Sekino discussed the sales force automation technology used by Avon in Brazil to enable their sales girls to place orders, check inventory, etc. via simple mobile devices that each rep can easily afford and in most cases already has. “Mobile technology is really changing people’s lives for the better” he stated.

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Another example of this is its potential application in healthcare, where technology is being developed enable a Smartphone to read a user’s pulse and blood pressure and send the results straight through to their doctor. Along these lines, Kabbani underscored the need to keep developing services on a local level to keep creating value and make it available to all. As far as devices themselves are concerned, perhaps unsurprisingly, no-one on the panel wished to speculate on what they might look like in five years time. Rawling noted that we are likely to see a change in the way we interact with devices, they will soon know where we are and be able to offer us value-added services based on this information, he suggested. While Kabbani noted that we are likely to see a proliferation in the different types of devices which connected to mobile networks. He cited the example of a 3G enabled picture frame to which a loving son, for example, could send a picture taken on his phone directly to his mother’s mantle piece. Organized by ESADE MBA students through the Technology, Entrepreneurship, Media and Marketing clubs, the event is an example of excellent participant initiative to attempt to better understand a sector so changeable that it is hard to get a grasp on from the classroom. “What could be called a ‘semi formal jam session on mobile computing’ was a great success” said Professor Wareham, “We look forward to supporting similar events on campus in the future.”

IVF Cell tagging innovation wins ESADE Elevator Pitch Contest

elevatorYou’ve got a great business idea, and you’ve taken it as far as you can without some kind of investment, you need to tap up your connections to help you get that meeting with a VC or angel investor, you just went down to pick up a coffee and you’re on your way back up to your floor with the best networked guy you know, it’s time to roll out your elevator pitch. You have three minutes to convince him that this is a one-in-a-million idea that will make him or his contacts money… This is the pretext behind the ESADE MBA Elevator Pitch Contest held this week, organized by the ESADE Entrepreneurship Club and sponsored by Hard Rock Café. Pitching in front of their peers and a panel of judges, the ten finalists put forward innovative ideas such as: new approaches to advertising on food packaging; a system to deal with organic waste; rapid repair of grounded aircraft; tailor-made suits sold via an interactive social networking site; a way to ensure you get the right baby in IVF treatments; a new way of selling houses; a higher-return, lower risk microfinance project in India; a network to help you settle in to a new city better; a solution for parking problems in Barcelona and a new mobile payment system enabling ‘cash’ payments to be made by mobile phone. The panel, comprising ESADE MBA Alum turned venture

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capitalist for Active Capital Partners, Blair McLaren and ESADE Entrepreneurship professor, Jordi Vinaixa, rated the pitches on the viability of idea itself, the potential market, the strength of the team, the possible competition and the presentation itself – criteria used by VC firms when considering projects to invest in. Mr. McLaren also gave participants an insight into how and what to pitch to VC’s as well as an overview of their project selection process.

Winner’s technology developed by UAB scientist met at ESADE’s Innovation Speed-dating event

Second year MBA student from the US, Eric King was declared the winner for his project, “Cell Tag” based on technology allowing a human egg cell to be tagged during IVF treatment. He noted that with increasing numbers of couples wishing to start a family later in their lives, this is a rapidly growing market, citing recent stories of baby mix-ups he highlighted that “couples will see the cell tagging as a kind of insurance against getting the wrong child.” The technology was developed by a scientist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, who King met at the Innovation Speed Dating Event held at ESADE last month. In second place was Tobias Caldeweyher with “MAC Mobile Payment System”. Caldeweyher, a second year MBA student from Germany, talked of a world of charging mobile phones with cash, leaving pockets free from the weight of small change. The strength of his team particularly impressed the judges, comprising as it does a Japanese mobile technology expert, a Spanish marketer and a German e-commerce specialist, all current MBA students at ESADE. Third prize went to second year MBA student from Portugal, Pedro Martinho, for his concept “Aircraft on Ground”. Based on a niche in the market discovered during his previous experience as an engineer, Aircraft on Ground would offer a quick and efficient solution to the expensive problem of having grounded aircraft, greatly reducing the amount of time they are out of service. “More and more MBA students

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are looking towards entrepreneurship as a viable option post MBA and we want to encourage them through these kinds of events to help them see it as a possibility. Many of us have dabbled in entrepreneurship, so it’s also about sharing experiences” says President of the ESADE Entrepreneurship Club, Saurabh Prakash Mishra. “It’s also great there were two projects in the Elevator Pitch that have come out of the Innovation Speed-Dating Event we organized.” The next step in the process is ESADE Business Angels Network to be held in a couple of weeks, where participants will have the chance to pitch their ideas to the ESADEAlumni Business Angeles Club.

Elevator Pitch winners and organisers

Elevator Pitch winners and organisers (Photo: Victoria Havens)

ESADE MBA’s look for innovative opportunities through speed dating scientists

ESADEspeeddate1 smlIn an initiative that adapts the idea of Speed Dating to a business school environment, an event held at ESADE Business School today is bringing students from ESADE’s popular MBA programme in direct contact with scientists and their innovative ideas. Similar to traditional Speed Dating, both parties will have a short period of time in which to get to know each other and consider the possibility of a future relationship. Both the MBA students and the scientists stand to benefit: Many ESADE MBA’s are looking for innovative ideas to form the basis of entrepreneurial activities, while the scientists and inventors are looking for dynamic business people to help them commercialise their ideas. Prior to the event, the students were supplied with information on each of the scientists’ projects through the ESADE MBA net, giving them a chance to consider who they are most keen on making contact with. Once the contacts have been made through the Innovation Speed Dating event, it will be up to the students and the scientists to decide whether they want to take their

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relationship to the next stage. For the MBA’s taking the entrepreneurship elective, which includes the design of a business plan, the event will be invaluable, particularly since a new requirement introduced this year means that all the business plans must be focused on an innovative idea. Innovation is one of ESADE’s key areas of expertise and the school has been working

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on a number of initiatives to ensure that new ways of thinking and working are woven through their courses. This year the ESADE MBA introduced three new elective courses on innovation (Applying Creative Thinking to Generate Novel Solutions, Managing Innovation and Strategic

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Innovation) and ESADE students are increasingly encouraged to take part in initiatives in this area. Beyond the MBA programme, next week ESADE will inaugurate their Open and Cross Innovation centre, ESADECreapolis, (see here for more information) housing the innovation cells of over 50 companies in a state-of-the art, Googlesque building on the school’s new campus in the Barcelona suburb of San Cugat. Also last June, in partnership with The Art Center, College of Design in Pasadena, California, the school offered an executive education programme on Design Thinking, “Beyond Pretty” and the two schools continue to work together to integrate innovation into other programmes. ESADEspeeddate2 smlESADEspeeddate4 smlESADEspeeddate3 sml