Educating our future innovators

Education and innovation rarely go hand in hand. In fact, the educational industry is generally considered to be low and slow when it comes to innovation. Young people “learn how to innovate most often despite their schooling—not because of it”, writes Tony Wagner. Wagner, a former high school teacher, now Professor at Harvard Business School on education and innovation has researched innovation in education for a number of years. Now, he’s publishing his work. It is a must read for everyone and everyone concerned with educating our future innovators.

Educating the Next Steve Jobs
– How can schools teach students to be more innovative? Offer hands-on classes and don’t penalize failure
is the title of his Wall Street Journal essay. It is a brilliant piece on what we need to do to change our educational strucutures to build future innovators.

Wagner’s book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” is coming out April 24th. It should be on everyone’s reading list this spring.

You can also check out the website, Future Innovators.

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I’m writing this, reflecting, during the StartUp Weekend Finals in Stavanger. I’ll be posting several blogs around StartUp Weekend and learnings from it. Thanks.

Educating our future innovators

What a great week; thanks everyone

An incredibly exciting week is drawing to an end. I’m on the ferry, heading back home, reflecting on the past five days and the number of engaged and passionate people I’ve met – people that all desire to drive change, create innovation and build a better future. What an awesome week.

Monday saw me teach “Facebook IPO” to our third year Bachelor students. The morning session started off with “understanding Facebook’s Business Model”. Using the Business Model Canvas, the students attempted to map out the key drivers of Facebook’s revenue structure and overall business model. Challenging exercise, but thanks to the recent IPO filings, more light is shed on this extremely successful company. Imagine, started eight years ago, and today it has one of the highest profits per employee of any company in the world.

Our afternoon session took us through “understanding Facebook’s IPO communication process”. Using recent press clippings, news reports and YouTube-videos, we were able to build a picture of the ongoing battle between Facebook stakeholders with massive incentives to drive a success story, while a critical press and skeptical analysts attempted to balance the picture. My personal favorite was WSJ’s “Five Concerns about Facebook IPO”, concluding that the company would require an “adult CEO” to grow as a public company. Hahaha. That’s Apple and John Sculley all over again. Zuck; stay CEO, stay true to the Hacker’s Way.

Tuesday brought a full class of first year students in Organization and leadership. There truly are the leaders of tomorrow, and our Business School owes them the best it can give. We started off with a slideset concluding “This Course is About You and Your Leadership Development”. Divided into teams of five, the students will work on various learning and development challenges throughout the semester.

Wednesday morning brought kick-off for a ten day, nine months, leadership development program of a global oil and gas company. Opening day focused on bringing innovation thinking into the leadership role. Using extensive material from strategic innovation and The Management Innovation Exchange, the 23 executive students got a solid mental challenge to stretch their existing mental models of their own leadership roles.

Wednesday afternoon (some would say evening) I had the pleasure of teaching our course on ‘’Innovation and Entrepreneurship’’ for 25 Bachelor students. After an initial set of student presentations (major room for improvement), we set off trying to understand how Norwegian firms can learn from Apple’s innovation processes. Using the movie “Pirates of Sillicon Valley”, the student got a good grasp of the founding days of both Apple and Microsoft. Great movie and highly inspirational for tomorrow’s innovators.

Thursday morning it was back to the oil & gas executives, this time together with a BI teaching colleague. Our second day focused on personal reflection, communication styles and coaching training. It was a great start to our year-long program, and I am truly looking forward to working with these executives for our ten day leadership training program.

Thursday afternoon was an event I had been looking forward to for some time; the Innovation seminar at Young in Statoil. These guys are the next generation leadership at Statoil, and getting invited to give a keynote presentation on innovation is a great honor. My two hour talk covered “Dream Bigger”, “The Dinosaur and the Pirate” and how you can create management innovation in your own team or department. Read more about the Innovation Seminar here.

Friday morning I was on the ferry to Haugesund for Haugesund Næringforening ‘s lunch seminar. I was invited to give a keynote on Apple and what Norwegian firms can learn from Apple’s innovation success. You can read more about the keynote here.

Now, sitting on the ferry back home, allows for reflection on great learning, great conversations and truly inspiring encounters with people of all ages and all backgrounds trying to change their business models, and their organizations for the better.

My best advice, “Dream Bigger” and “Just do it”.
To quote Walt Disney, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. Remember, it all started with a dream”.


Re:thinking management education at BI Stavanger. Join us on April 10th 2012

How can we make our management education even more inspiring and challenging? How can we engage and inspire our students to dream bigger about their own leadership careers? How can we bridge the gap between education and practice? How can we bring experienced HR executives into the learning process, not as top-down speakers, but as equal, curious learners? How can we teach emerging theories on organization and leadership from firms like Facebook, Google and Twitter? How can we help today’s leading companies reinvent their HR-practices for tomorrow? How do we re:think management education?

Those were the questions buzzing around after a keynote presentation I held this week. Well, after posing those questions in my executive teaching sessions, the answer emerged. It all begins April 10th. At BI Stavanger.

Welcome to Management teaching innovation, welcome to BI Management Innovation Lab’s first ever event Re:Think Leadership.

What would happen if we took 200+ highly engaged first year students in “Organization and leadership” – their first year course in leadership; and invited 60 + experienced HR executives. Now, instead of having the HR executives lecture to the students, what if we put them in group and put them to work to solve the challenges of creating next generation leadership? What if the HR executives could listen and learn from today’s 21-year olds, and the students could get a taste of leadership development in the real world? What if solving cases – together – on leadership in today’s most modern and most innovative organizations, could lead both the executives and the students to come away fired up, highly inspired and motivated to master the challenges of creating next generation’s leadership?

That could be fun, we thought……

So, welcome to our first ever BI Management innovation lab workshop. April 10th 2012, 9:00 – 12:00, we have the great pleasure of making this happen. Greatly inspired by The Management Innovation Exchange, we re:think leadership development – starting with today’s 21¬-year olds.

Sign up for this first ever, free, workshop today.

We have already invited HR Executives from Statoil, Halliburton, GDF Suez, Aibel, Sandnes Kommune, SR-Bank, Lyse, Skagen Fondene and more…
The students are all in the first year of business school education at BI Stavanger.

Program April 10th 09:00 – 12:00

Welcome and introduction

Introduction lecture: Management innovation today

Groupwork: Case work in mixed groups with students and HR executives (plenty of time for discussions). Presentations of cases.Cases will focus on emerging theories and current ideas for manging highly skilled and highly creative organizations. Cases are selected for optimal learning for all participants.

Shared learning points for HR executives and students.

We encourage everyone to read “Management Moonshots” in preparation for the day.

– and yes, we are using open social media plattform, Facebook, to organize the event. Sign up here.


Christian Rangen
Full-time lecturer, BI – Norwegian Business School

Partner, Engage // Innovate


Leadership in Action: ”A fresh look at strategy”

(in Norwegian)

Lecture given at BI Norwegian Business School’s Leadership in Action program. This is a ‘different’ look at strategy, innovation and thinking differently. This is the first public apperance of the Dinosaur Theory in Norwegian. More work is forthcoming. English language edition is forthcoming by December 2011.

Leadership in Action: ”A fresh look at strategy”



Pushing the transformational leadership model to the next level. How do you really understand Google’s leadership model? What does the transformational leadership model not explain?

This innovative team suggests G-leadership. Great view. Innovative thinking. Superb logic and reasoning.
Today at BI’s class in Situational leadership.