Don’t change the company, change its CEO

SenseSchool partners with universities to teach business students how to lead companies towards disruptive and sustainable business models.

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The world has never changed so fast. In a few decades only, entire industries have been disrupted by startups, climate change has become inevitable and superstars have switched leather jackets for computers and 3D printers. The way consumers and brands interact is profoundly changing and all players, especially traditional corporations, need to adapt. And when companies decide to change their culture from the inside out, the best answer seems to lie in the future: change the next CEOs.

Today, they are 19 to 24 year-old. We see them having drinks outside of cafés, or sitting in business school rooms. They are the ones who, in a few years, will take leading positions and impact consumers’ lives by transforming firms. So how can we make sure these soon-to-be managers, entrepreneurs or directors make the right choices? How do we give them the keys to be successful in this ever-changing environment? How do we make sure they develop the necessary skills to become visionary leaders?

To us, the answer is innovation. The place is universities. Students not only need to learn how to create softwares, balance a budget sheet or organize logistics anymore. They are asked to be creative, start new projects and think outside of the box. Indeed, it is no longer a matter of following the rules: they are all yet to be written. At SenseSchool, we are convinced that universities are the best place to take action. Because we think that educational programs need adaptation, we partner with higher education institutions, such as ESCP Europe, to help students develop the skills they need to lead disruptive and sustainable businesses.

From February to April 2016, 560 students from ESCP Europe’s campuses — London, Berlin and Paris — took part in a unique seminar. 15 companies, from multinational firms to non-profit organizations, were mobilized to share their current innovation challenges with the students. Lead by SenseSchool’s professional coaches and its methodology based on design thinking, students had one day to develop creative yet feasible solutions and present them to the company representatives.

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The process included a divergence phase, during which students were taught to produce the most innovative ideas, and a convergence phase, where students were asked to structure their ideas and focus on defining a key solution. This experience was thought to stimulate the skills they will later need to succeed, that is the ability to:

  • recognize and define a problem
  • set objectives
  • have a user-centric approach
  • develop creative solutions
  • work in a cross-cultural team and
  • convince an audience.

“The brainstorming session really helped to come up with unique ideas. It was interesting and widens your imagination. Design thinking is something everybody should learn about!” Alix*, ESCP Europe student

We do not own the recipe to our society’s issues and disrupted economy. But these students are the ones who will. And we want to make sure they have all the tools needed to invent tomorrow. The world is changing whether we want it or not: so if you want to make sure companies and markets stay relevant, do not try and change companies, change their future CEOs.

If you wish to know more about our innovation seminars, contact us at:

*The student’s name has been changed to protect its privacy.

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makesense est une communauté internationale de citoyens, d’entrepreneurs et d’organisations qui résolvent ensemble les défis sociaux et environnementaux

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