Skip to main content

'Innovation: from idea to solution', by Ivanka Visnjic, Assistant Professor

Programa de continuidad | English

February 22 OF 2017 from 07:30 PM to 09:00 PM


Ivanka Visnjic, expert in innovation and design thinking, began her talk in the ESADE Refresher Programme on February 22 by comparing the most highly acclaimed companies of 2007 with those of 2016. ''Whereas ten years ago these companies were General Electric, Toyota and Starbucks, last year they were Apple, Google and Amazon,'' she explained, and added that whilst in 2007 the main agents for multinationals were the workers producing items to meet consumers’ needs, today’s digital unicorns are looking for enterprising workers and active consumers.

According to Visnjic, technology is growing far faster than expected and companies must change their business model and focus on open innovation and customer-oriented solutions in collaboration with other companies. Workers too are confronted by a disruptive model that makes innovation a necessity.

''But how can we be more creative?'' Visnjic asked the audience. ''Here is the good news: creativity is not a mysterious talent but something that is acquired in 90% of cases, even if we are not taught to be creative.'' To demonstrate this, the professor invited the audience to take part in a workshop based on design thinking, a method for creating innovative ideas by understanding users’ real needs and providing solutions. This method, which originated at Stanford University, California in the 1970s, can be used to develop products and services, to enhance processes and to define business models.

The five phases in design thinking

1.- Define the problem.

2.- Empathise. Design thinking starts with a thorough understanding of users’ needs, i.e. the ability to step into their shoes. The customer journey map, or user experience, is useful because any given detail might provide crucial information and the critical points give a more accurate picture of the real problem to be solved. Ivanka Visnjic insisted on the need to ''find out about the problem before embarking on a possible solution'', so we can ask many questions and also observe a person’s nonverbal language.

3.- Brainstorming to generate myriad options. Effective brainstorming means working as a team (the more diverse the team, the greater the variety of viewpoints and knowledge), being optimistic and positive, not being afraid to make mistakes, and the ability to see mistakes as opportunities. Attitude plays a key role in design thinking because the most bizarre ideas are precisely the ideas than can break down mental barriers and help people innovate.

4.- Make the prototype. Once you have an idea, the next step is to build the prototype, i.e. to materialise the idea. ''Making a physical prototype provides the opportunity to test and improve the idea. Paper, projections, videos, storyboards, etc. Building makes people think,'' explained Ivanka Visnjic.

5.- Test. Finally, the prototypes are tried out on users. This phase is crucial and will help pinpoint major improvements, issues to be solved and possible shortcomings. This stage involves asking users for feedback and dealing with criticism.




ESADE Alumni
invites you to a Refresher Programme workshop, ''Innovation: from idea to solution'', by Ivanka Visnjic, assistant professor in ESADE’s Department of Operations, Innovation and Data Sciences.

The corporate world is no longer characterized by stable and predictable problems that lend themselves easily to analysis and long-tem planning. Managers need a new set of skills to deal with rapidly changing environments that in order to identify and tackle new problems or find new ways of solving existing ones by means of innovation.
The purpose of this workshop is to find out what really innovation really is and how it is used to develop new products, services, business models or simply in order to innovate every day. We will use design thinking: the experiential learning approach based on the most recent techniques and frameworks. In the words of Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO, design has a voice in nearly every important decision that the company makes. 

This event will be held in English.

Each member may bring a maximum of one guest.



Ivanka Visnjic

Ivanka Visnjic is an assistant professor of innovation at ESADE Business School and a research sponsor at the Cambridge Service Alliance, University of Cambridge. Before joining ESADE, Ivanka worked at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co and completed her PhD at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

Her research, consulting and speaking activities are focused on innovative business models for established companies, such as the shift to services and solution business models, platform business models and disruptive business models. She has worked closely with the senior management of a number of global companies, including Atlas Copco, BAE Systems, Caterpillar, GEA, IBM, Pearson and Zoetis.

She has designed courses in the areas of creativity and innovation, I&R&D management, design thinking, business model innovation and service innovation. Ivanka has designed MBA and Executive Programs for participants from around the globe in industries such as pharmaceutical, industrial and financial services.

Ivanka has received an IBM Faculty Award as well as scholarships and awards from various academic institutions. Her research has been published in prestigious academic journals including the California Management Review, Journal of Operations Management and Journal of Product Innovation Management. She is a regular speaker at leading international conferences and writes reviews for several journals. Ivanka speaks fluent English, Serbian and Croatian and conversation level in French, Italian and Spanish.



See you there!

How to get to ESADE:
Public transport: Bus (22, 64, 78, 63 and 75), Metro (L3 Maria Cristina) and FGC (L6 Reina Elisenda).
Car: NEW municipal parking B: SM in c / Marqués de Mulhacen, 51.

For further information: