Competitive strategies for business growth 1

Thomas Lawton, Professor of Strategy and International Management

Thomas Lawton, Professor of Strategy and International Management

I joined the OU this past autumn and one of my first interactions with new colleagues and with OUBS alumni was at the Business Perspectives Innovation masterclass in London.  I could not have been more impressed by the professionalism of colleagues and the insights of guest speakers as well as the interest and enthusiasm of alumni, current students and other friends of the OU. Therefore, when asked to lead the next event on strategy, I realised that I would have a tough act to follow. For me, the rule of thumb when following on from a successful predecessor is to pay due respect but seek to suitably differentiate. This is what we have sought to do when designing our Competitive Strategies for Business Growth masterclass.

The intent behind this event in Manchester next month is to again reach out to our graduates, students and partners, engaging them in a dialogue around business and management ideas and improvement. It is aimed at individuals and organisations keen to learn more about strategy techniques and best practices. The intent is to help those with strategic responsibilities in the design and delivery of strategy. The event is also intended to challenge the economic doom and gloom that rests like a black cloud over the UK and beyond, and to discuss ways the world’s economies can kick-start growth.

I encourage you to sign on, turn up and get stuck in on the day. Through this blog forum, I also suggest you start to mull over and debate three questions in advance of 7 February. These are:

  • Do you need a strategy to build and sustain a successful business?
  • What will it take to be a successful strategic manager in 2013?
  • How does strategy process and practice need to change and evolve to meet the competitive challenges of the future?

I look forward to meeting you in Manchester.

 Thomas C. Lawton

Professor of Strategy and International Management

Visit our website to book your place to the masterclass.

Welcome to the world of innovation! Reply

Professor James Fleck

James Fleck, Professor of Innovation Dynamics

“Innovation has certainly moved to centre stage recently. It seems that almost everyone now has a view, and at times anything goes. But there is a very solid foundation of excellent theoretical and empirical analysis that often gets lost in the current fashionable buzz around the topic.

This goes back to Schumpeter (who popularised the term entrepreneur and gave it its modern meaning) and Solow, who both demonstrated the crucial contribution that innovation makes to economic growth. More recent contributors include Abernathy and Utterback, who identified the product-process innovation lifecycle; von Hippel, who has explored the sources of innovation; Freeman, who examined the policy aspects of innovation and created the standard definitions now used to measure innovation around the world; Pavitt, who examined the role of intellectual property rights such as patents in innovation, and Christensen, who has articulated the notion of  ‘disruptive innovation.’

Studies range from the careful empirical to the deeply theoretical and have moved our understanding on apace. However, the challenge remains of communicating these insights. This blog series seeks to do just that – bring researchers and practitioners together to discuss, share and debate this fascinating topic, which is crucially important for building a better world.”