Why MA Innovation Management – A bright new star (Part 1)

iStock Image
Image 1 of 1

Intelligent people can recognise functions and systems that are apparently simple, are in most cases the opposite, and therefore worth studying. This is also the case with innovation. The notion that so few successful innovations occur, but that so many people overuse this today, suggests the topic of innovation hasn’t been

Intelligent people can recognise functions and systems that are apparently simple, are in most cases the opposite, and therefore worth studying. This is also the case with innovation. The notion that so few successful innovations occur, but that so many people overuse this today, suggests the topic of innovation hasn’t been explored in enough detail. Many people ask me about the course MA Innovation Management. I wouldn’t have been able to give a good answer to that question initially, and not even at the end of the first year. After almost finishing my masters degree it is still difficult to describe the learnings in a clear enough way.  Therefore, I have decided to use a current ‘case study’ as an analogy. Although not very original and very much a cliché, the story of Steve Jobs as told by Walter Isaacson serves very well for this purpose. The biography of Steve Jobs is the account of his life, but for me, the book reads more like a manual for applied innovation and design driven management. The amazing thing is that it mirrors so much of what the course MA Innovation Management at Central Saint Martins is about.

 

The book reveals the incredible and not always friendly personality of this person, who has turned into an icon of our current digital times. He started off his astral career with almost no knowledge about management, business administration, people skills, humanities and even design or technology. He was a self-taught practitioner who was able to learn from others through intensive interaction and reflection in action.

 

This system of gaining knowledge is similar to the epistemological system of the course. Knowledge and skills are self-taught and built up through intensive team-work with class-mates. Mr Jobs used to call it ‘deep collaboration’ and ‘concurrent engineering’. Many people ask me about my lectures and they are quite astonished when I tell them that there are none. The course gives guidance, tutoring and sets a framework for collaboration, very similar to the conditions prevalent in start-ups. This course does not foster high efficiency through highly imposed workloads but stimulates self-directedness and self-reliance. This course gives enough leeway to be very involved and learn plenty or be less involved and dedicate energy to other activities as for instance a job. This is how you learn, but what do you learn? The ‘what’ is what will be the focus of the next post in this blog series….