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World Economic Forum: A need for a common understanding of innovation

Ivar H. Kristensen at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China, 15 September 2011
  • Published 16/09/2011
Innovation across cultures was the main topic of a session at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2011 in Dalian, China, with Ivar H. Kristensen from Nordic Innovation as one of the participants.

The main question was how organizations should foster innovation across cultures, with strategic capabilities as drivers of innovation and headquarters versus subsidiary cultures as two of the dimensions addressed.


Kristensen pointed out that for companies to be able to work operationally with innovation across national borders, it is essential to establish a common language when talking about and understanding innovation.


He also highlighted the need for companies to broaden their horizon when it comes to innovation.


- Companies do not necessarily take advantage of all the opportunities they can to be innovative. They need to have a broader approach and to see the possibilities for innovation in more dimensions than they do today. Many companies in the Nordic countries also focus too much on the solution or the actual product, and forget about partnerships, customers and value creation.


The final conclusion of the session was that there is a need for a common understanding of what innovation really is, and that it also should be a greater focus on people rather than on technology.


- These are important factors especially when working across cultures and disciplines, Ivar H. Kristensen said.


The other participants of the session were Girija P. Lande, Chairman at Tata consultancy services, Asia Pacific (India), Jean-Yves Naouri, COO at Publicis Group (France), Haruhiko Hirate, COO, senior vice president, head of international operation (Japan) and Sonia Contera, Co-Director at the institute for nano science, Oxford (Spania). The moderator was Alois Zwinggi at World Economic Forum.


The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.