Every manager is faced with one or both of these common dilemmas: data without ideas or ideas without data. In the first scenario, advanced technology has allowed us to amass vast quantities of data, but it isn't always clear how to turn that data into valuable insights. In the second scenario, options abound, but how to predict which project will be successful? A wrong move can cost your company heavily.
In an event co-sponsored by Darden Executive Education and The Economic Times, India's major business periodical, Professors Rajkumar Venkatesan and Saras Sarasvathy posed these two scenarios to a packed house at the Taj Mahal Mansingh Hotel in New Delhi, India in January. Executives from companies including IBM, Nestlé, Oracle and PricewaterhouseCoopers were in attendance to hear the dilemmas that keep big companies from leveraging big data for competitive advantage and the entrepreneurial processes that set up innovation efforts for success.
In a roundtable including 28 top Indian executives, the discussion centered around how organizations tackle innovation challenges. Small groups considered real business problems and used the principles shared by professors Venkatesan and Sarasvathy to propose solutions. Some examples of challenges posed included how newspapers can remain relevant to a new generation, software to diagnose mental health issues, new models for e-learning, and structures for manufacturing facilities. The wide-ranging topics demonstrate the universal applicability of the principles presented.
The larger showcase event hosted nearly 60 managers who heard Sarasvathy and Venkatesan weave together the principles of effectuation and big data using AirBnB as their case study. Sarasvathy used cooking as a metaphor for effectuation, comparing the differences of using a recipe vs. using the ingredients you have.
At the end of the events, some participants received Sarasvathy's book, Effectual Entrepreneurship and Venkatesan's Cutting Edge Marketing Analytics: Real-World Cases and Datasets for Hands-on Learning.
Interested in being more innovative? Register now for one of Darden's upcoming online design thinking courses. When you take all four 5-week programs, you'll earn a Specialization in Design Thinking and Innovation. We also offer a 5-day, in-person course titled Leading Innovation: Transform Yourself, Your Team and Your Organization. Contact Darden_ExEd@darden.virginia.edu with questions and for more details.