Be a Co-Creator.
The future calls for business schools to capitalize on academic strengths in order to grow and develop the rich space between theory and practice in ways that positively impact society. To do so, schools will need to pursue operational models and strategies that firmly position themselves at the intersection of industry and practice, as conveners and partners in the knowledge creation ecosystem rather than just suppliers.
These intersections could include business school partnerships with industries or industry clusters to create platforms for incubating new management ideas, or to analyze big data across firms to better understand and customize talent development needs. Partnerships focused on education and training can provide a foundation for the pedagogical research that in turn can support more contextualized learning methods and tools.
Co-creation also refers to the pursuit of new insights and understanding about business, management, and leadership through collaborative networks of business schools, as well as through connections with other disciplines. These networks create teams of researchers with complementary expertise and often aggregate supporting resources toward a shared mission. When the networks are global, they can enable important contextualization of management and leadership insights according to different cultural, economic, and regulatory contexts.
New ways of facilitating these deep, strategic connections and amplifying their impact are also on the horizon, and business schools will likely help accelerate their emergence. Open-access publishing is becoming more common among academics, some of whom firmly believe that “knowledge” should be open to anyone. Problem-solving platforms, where businesses and other organizations share challenges in the hopes that teams of experts will compete to find a solution, are gaining traction. Opportunities to contribute may be open to anyone or exclusive to a network of committed partners. All of these developments create new mechanisms for schools to communicate to a larger audience the value and impact of their research.