Gary Hamel says Europe is too focused on technological innovation

COLLAB distinguished with the APDC / Siemens Innovation Award

Europe is too focused on technological innovation, defended Gary Hamel, the Management guru, today at a conference organized in Lisbon by Strategos and Jornal de Negócios. Speaking before an audience made up of the main Portuguese decision-makers, the President of Strategos aligned five lessons not to be forgotten so that companies remain innovative.

Gary Hamel says that in a world where change is increasingly accelerating, companies are failing to manage change. «We want to build companies capable of changing», defends the North American guru, explaining that this learning can prevent them from going through difficult crisis processes to adapt to the evolution of the market.

Many industries have not been able to respond to the pace of change and are becoming crystallized, not evolving, explains Gary Hamel, who points out the music and pharmaceutical industry as examples. «Innovation is the only way to keep up with developments», he guarantees.

Defining that the problem is not in quality, Gary Hamel points to investing in the imagination and passion of each employee as a way to renew, supporting the innovative ideas generated within the organization and assigning greater responsibility to each of the employees so that they give more than its intellectual capital to the company. «We cannot waste intellectual capital […] we have to build more ‘humane’ companies «, he says.

Five points not to forgetThe five lessons pointed out by the American guru show that normally the obstacle to Innovation is in the top management of companies, which does not give up its monopoly on strategy definition; and that the generation of Innovative Ideas is also a matter of numbers, having to generate thousands of proposals to guarantee a single successful product. Gary Hamel also says that Innovation is not a magical process, but can be taught to company employees; that for the company to be innovative, it is necessary to change the management’s DNA, challenging the principles established as dogmas; and that the only limitation is in the creativity generated within companies and not in their resources.

Gary Hamel extrapolated this last lesson for the case of Portugal, guaranteeing that the country’s challenge does not go through the dimension but through «confidence in ourselves and in the future». The same diagnosis extends to Europe, which has been the center of most major inventions in recent years, but where it is not being possible to effectively innovate in companies.

«Europe still sees innovation as a technological issue and not a management issue», says the president of Strategos. «Technology is no longer the engine of innovation, but rather the entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to create new companies», he explains.

However, the guru warns that Europe cannot concentrate only on entrepreneurship, but it is also necessary to ensure that large companies remain innovative. «To replace the number of jobs lost with the closure of a large company, it is necessary to create many start ups», recalls Gary Hamel, arguing that there is no need to replicate the Silicon Valey model since it exists in the United States to compensate for the lack of innovation by large companies.

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