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We promote networking among alumni to strengthen business connections, promote new ideas and advance your career.
Reinvent yourself or die
Ken Morse, the founder of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center and its director for 13 years, gave an interesting Refresher Programme talk entitled ''Challenges and suggestions for implementing innovation development programs today'' during which he interacted constantly with the audience.
Morse is an innovation strategy consultant for big companies and regional governments in Europe and Japan. He began his talk by outlining a few examples of innovation such as Watson and his first telephone, Edison and his light bulbs, Ford and automobile manufacturing: technological developments that were previously unthinkable. Morse explained that innovation and entrepreneurship is not simply a question of creating new products or solutions, it also means being able to change the rules of the game by creating new business opportunities and giving consumers solutions by providing a different course of action.
Today, everyone needs to innovate, businesses big and small alike. Although large companies have certain advantages, they have disadvantages too: their decision-taking is slow and their ability to outsource more radical innovation to start-ups is limited, whilst their own business units can only produce incremental innovation. ''The most radical innovation comes from above (the CEO himself) or from outside,'' said Morse.
Start-ups, on the other hand, must remember that a successful business needs ''a highly qualified and experienced team, the best technology to enable them to renew themselves and adapt to changing times, and create a single measurable, verifiable and reportable value that is easy to explain,'' he said. They must also focus on speed, execution and results.
The importance of sales
Morse believes that innovation = invention x marketing. If either is equal to zero, no progress will be possible. ''It’s very important for us to understand that creating new ideas and new technologies is crucial, but marketing is a must too,'' he said. ''Besides, innovation and marketing must tune into customers’ needs and seek out the consumer segment that may be interested in my value proposition. Listening is the first step along the road to selling. Customers need to know that their needs have been understood,'' said professor Morse.
Professor Morse continued by explaining some case studies of companies that had used different innovation processes and results, such as Cambrian Innovation which focuses on environmental solutions, Ogin and their wind turbines, and Terrafugia and their flying car.
''There is a lot of innovation in the world, but no change will happen unless we know who needs it and we are able to develop it quickly. It’s tough and success is never guaranteed but if we don’t try, we’ll die,'' he said.
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