MSM steps up focus on Technology and Innovation Management

12 June 2017

Maastricht School of Management recently launched no less than four new broad initiatives all aimed to step up the School’s contribution to fill the growing need for managers and entrepreneurs with an understanding of the nature, role and impact of the key technologies that characterized what has been described as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, or “Industry 4.0”.  These include the Internet of Things, Big Data, Robotics and the Cyber-Production Systems and Circular Economy models that these are facilitating.

Intensifying collaboration with the largest technical university in Germany…
In the first of these new initiatives, MSM announced that it is intensifying its collaboration with the largest technical university in Germany, the RWTH Aachen University. Since 2013, MSM and the RWTH Aachen University’s International Academy created no less than five joint Master in Management and Engineering (MME) degrees. These are aimed to equip high-level and ambitious engineers with the focused postgraduate qualification to steer their companies to innovate, to adopt the right technologies and to understand how technologies may disrupt their markets but also bring new markets into being.

The masters in management and engineering programs on offer cover five different specialist areas including production systems, electrical power systems, computer-aided mechanical engineering, water and design concepts and structural engineering of industrial facilities. Each program is split across two historical cities, 30 minutes from each other in the heart of Europe – Maastricht in the Netherlands and Aachen in Germany. Students get the best of both schools, learning how to turn ideas from engineering science into commercially viable products.

Now, MSM is delighted to be a founding partner school of the RWTH Aachen Business School, which was launched on 18 May 2017.  The RWTH Business School will offer, in partnership with MSM, a top-level doctoral degree  (DBA) in technology and Innovation management. . The first year curriculum has been developed in close cooperation between the Faculty of Economic Sciences at RWTH Aachen University and MSM. “The ‘knowledge machine’ RWTH Aachen University is the driving force behind the development of the program. We will make maximum use of this special locational advantage for the Business School. At the same time, focus on tangible, skill-based learning,” emphasizes Dr. Helmut Dinger, Managing Director of RWTH Business School.

Students at the RWTH Business School are trained right at the heart of top university research: in the Production Technology Cluster on the RWTH Aachen University campus. With 16 research clusters over an area of 800,000 square meters, one of Europe’s largest technology-oriented research landscapes is growing at RWTH Aachen University. Almost no other location in the world offers better conditions to implement the desired combination of management and technology. Here, new technological approaches such as Industry 4.0 can be “tried out” and therefore understood better. “Some business schools have a ‘T’ for ‘Technology’ in their names. We have it in the building,” emphasizes Professor Malte Brettel, Vice-Rector for Industry and Business Relations at RWTH Aachen University.

Launching a cluster of Executive Education programs for managing the Digital Economy…The second new initiative of Maastricht School of Management towards stepping up its focus on technology and innovation management is the launching of cluster of new Executive (short) courses aimed at exposing managers and entrepreneurs to the essentials of Managing in the Digital Economy. These courses, which each takes only a few days, are offered in flexible format, affordably, and in participation with key companies in the field. The basic motivation behind the design of these courses is the need for life-long learning that is made critical by the fast-changing nature of technology. The key courses offered include programs in:

  • Online Retail Strategies
  • Strategic Digital Marketing
  • Big Data Analytics for Sport
  • Digital Transformation
  • Mastering Online Business
  • Leadership and Strategy in the Digital World
  • Industrie 4.0 and policy making for Smart Manufacturing

MSM has created a dedicated website for its Executive Education, where the details and next enrollment deadlines for these, and other, shorter courses can be found.

If workers do not upgrade their skills and understand where tech is going, they risk losing their jobs eventually”, says Professor Wim Naudé, Dean of MSM, adding that “The nature of occupations is changing fast as a result of the spread of cyber-physical production systems. Soon, robot trainers, virtual reality experience curators, 3D printing specialists, and synthetic biologists will be among the top jobs. Our new Executive Courses aim to ensure that managers of today stand a chance to prepare their organizations to remain competitive.”

Establishing a unique Endowed Chair in Innovation Procurement…
The third new initiative of Maastricht School of Management towards stepping up its focus on technology and innovation management is the establishment of a unique Endowed Chair in Innovation Procurement.  This Chair, which is supported by a number of researchers, is funded by Corvers Legal and Commercial Services, a Benelux-based Legal Firm with a long track record of working on innovation and public procurement in the EU. The incumbent, MSM professor Nicola Dimitri is world-renowned for his work on public procurement, for instance through his authorship of the Cambridge Handbook of Public Procurement, the basic textbook in the field. Professor Dimitri, who is also Life Member of Clare Hall College at the University of Cambridge and Professor in Economics at the University of Siena, is supported in the Chair by researchers Dr. Anne Rainville and Dr. Ramona Apostol. 

Prof, Nicola Dimitri at a recent public lecture at MSM

The Chair will offer custom made training in the field of Innovation Procurement, pursue research, and host a regular series of public lectures on the topic.  Recent clients of the Corvers Chair include the Dutch Ministry of Defense and Het Waterschapshuis

Working more for technological transfer and innovation in emerging and developing countries….
The fourth new initiative of MSM towards stepping up its focus on technology and innovation management is to work more for the transfer of technological innovations on firm and organizational level in developing and emerging countries.  “A major reason for economic disparities between countries is in the different rates and intensities of absorption of new technology” says Professor Wim Naudé, “new technology is necessary to drive productivity growth, which is a key determinant of the value added and competitiveness of an economy. Managers play a key role in identifying technology, bringing it into their organizations, and matching the technology with labor. Governments can play an important role for instance through education, finance and complementary infrastructure to facilitate and incentivize the adoption and spread of new technologies” he added.

Maastricht School of Management will be working for technology transfer and innovation in emerging economies through a range of current and future capacity building projects, applied research and consulting reports. For instance, and among others, very recently the School (i) organized a benchmarking work visit on innovation and knowledge transfer in the agricultural sector for the Director of the National Agricultural Research Centre of Palestine, (ii) participated in the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, (iii) advised the United Nations Industrial Organization (UNIDO) on the role of technological innovations for sustainable development in emerging economies, (iv) partnered with Jimma University in Ethiopia to develop an innovation-focused MBA in Agricultural Management, (v) obtained Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funding to the open access of its research on entrepreneurship and rural development in Africa, and (vi) organized a training workshop on ‘Entrepreneurial University transformation in South-East Asia’ together with UNPAR, Universitas Katolik Parahyangan, in Bandung, Indonesia, to support the innovation initiatives of higher education institutions in South-East Asia.

The Director of the National Agricultural Research Center of Palestine (NARC) gets explanation about the Poultry Expert Centre

These four new broad initiatives of MSM towards stepping up its focus on technology and innovation management will be complimented in the coming months by a number of further exciting initiatives. “I am warmly welcoming other institutions and the business sector to collaborate with MSM to ensure that their need for appropriately skilled technical and creative managers are being met” prof Wim Naudé, Dean of MSM indicates. “We practice what we preach, as is evident in the honor that MSM has twice in the last three years been selected as a finalist for the prestigious AMBA Innovation Award of the Year (in 2014 and 2016).”

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