In September 2018, our President Dr. Henrik Totterman wrote in The New England Journal of Higher Education about benchmarking higher education with the values, culture and service design of the world’s most successful furniture company...
Since then we have received a steady stream of excited inquiries from both business executives and leaders of non-profit institutions, requesting to learn more about the association method, as part of strategy and transformation processes. We also receive a growing number of requests to facilitatestrategy and innovation workshops with association as a central tool among others, something I find truly inspiring.
Association is a powerful approach to free creativity and bring new insights to the organizational context. During the past Spring, we've applied this approach multiple times in education and corporate projects. For instance, in January-March we applied the method successfully when kicking of a major digital product development project with one of the worlds largest and most prominent electronics manufacturers, and in March-April we did the same when working on disrupting Verizon's strategic positioning in the 5G and consumer mobile space generally. As stated by Henrik:
"Most recently, I adapted the method in my EMBA style course as part of a 3 day disruptive innovation business war game at Hult International Business School. I will run a similar war game as part of my upcoming Harvard UniversitySummer Strategic Managementcourse, and I am scheduled to apply it in my innovation management course at Hanken School of Economicsnext fall."
Typically, in one of the many assignments. participants analyze their employer and then imagine what would be fundamentally different if the organization was founded by Ingvar Kamprad, and operated by the people behind IKEA's worldwide success. This creative exercise drives innovation. It also liberates minds to think more freely about the employer, without loosing focus of its mission, strategic positioning, and competitive advantage.
Goes without saying that this is powerful and joyful stuff. Consequently, association offers a practical tool that I continuously apply with clients. Corporations and institutions alike are increasingly focused on nurturing a creative leadership style, which empowers employees to take initiative and ownership of the organization's survival and success.