Dean of Stanford Graduate Business School, Garth Saloner's mission has been to foster entrepreneurship across developing countries, which he believes will solve many of their global challenges. To achieve this, he has been promoting managers to become engines of growth for their economies.
THE WEEK caught up with Saloner to find out how innovation can be taught.
Why innovation, why India?
I think 'why India' is obvious. It is a rapidly growing economy. Why innovation? I have been coming to India for the last couple of years and I can see a shift in Indian business. Eight years ago, the conversation was about finding ways to match the emerging economies or how to meet their needs at a lower cost or more efficiently. Today, Indian businesses have become full-fledged and competitive. But, to be a global player, innovation is important. That is what we are targeting, and it is consistent with our own DNA as a business school.
How can innovation be taught?
Innovation can be taught [smiles], and we have learnt how to do that. Innovation requires three elements. First, you have to recognise the problem, and that needs analytical thinking. Business schools have been pretty good at that. Second, you have to come up with a solution, which is partly analytical and partly creative. I think business schools don't see themselves as teaching creativity. But, we have developed processes for creative thinking and on how to teach creative thinking. The third element is implementation, which is the biggest part of innovation. That is how you teach innovation, creativity and personal leadership.
When we think of innovation, it usually means putting two things together and coming up with a third one, something like jugaad. What is your take on this?