SMS Special Conference Strategizing Practices from the Outliers

Mar 20
20 Mar 8:00 am - 23 Mar 6:30 pm
Strategizing Practices from the Outliers: Enabling “Big Bang” Innovations

In the continuing struggle to survive in an ever-changing business environment, organizations are constantly reinventing themselves. The need for innovative management of the these changes calls for further research and investigation into what constitutes innovative management practices, so as to develop pioneer thinking that expands our understanding of the practical implications of managing large scale transformation. In partnership with CERN and IMD, this Special Conference aims to employ the practices of outlier organizations as working examples of successful and innovative management of large scale change. CERN and IMD are principal partners in this conference owing to their respective roles in propelling the practical and theoretical discussion of innovation to the next level. The value of outlier organizations can be most clearly seen in the substantial impact they have made across industries, thereby changing the competitive landscape. An intriguing and vital issue that this Special Conference seeks to understand is how organizational and management capabilities strengthen such outlier performances, and how does, and in what capacity can, the action of leadership represent and support these capabilities.

Welcome From The Program Chairs

Dear Colleagues:

We are delighted to introduce and invite you to the SMS Special Conference at Lake Geneva. This location is the perfect setting for our conference theme, Strategizing Practices from the Outliers: Enabling "Big Bang" Innovation. The bustling and sophisticated cities of Geneva and Lausanne offer a dynamic mix of organizations that are making a real impact: academic institutions, global businesses, consulting and development networks, and not-for-profit organizations.

The aim of this conference is to enable a conversation about radical change and strategic innovation. Many organizations are struggling to reinvent themselves to cope with the uncertain and fast-changing business world. Many of these organizations have simply become too big, or too slow, to manage effectively. A great deal is known about the process of continuous improvement, and there are plenty of examples of fast-followers who have mastered such techniques as benchmarking and reverse engineering. However, truly transformational change – the form of change that is needed more than ever — is hard to achieve and is poorly understood.

One important way of thinking constructively and creatively about large-scale change is to look at the outliers – the deviant organizations that are deliberately taking a different path, or working from a different set of assumptions. Sometimes these are progressive business organizations (e.g. Apple, HCL Technologies Zappos, Topcoder); other times they are not-for-profits or public sector organizations (e.g. CERN, NASA, Mozilla, Cleveland Clinic). Such organizations are a source of inspiration and insight. They promote a much richer conversation than what is possible with a discussion of traditional best-practice organizations.

For this Special Conference, the SMS is partnering with CERN and IMD to bring strategy, management, and business scholars and practitioners together to discuss and develop strategies for how "outlier" organizations are developing practices that enable large-scale, transformative innovation. The program also includes a visit to CERN and exclusive access to the ATLAS underground facilities (space is limited; benefit from early registration!)

We encourage you to take the time to open your mind, think outside the box, and seize this opportunity to learn, network, and enjoy intellectual free-wheeling in Geneva and Lausanne in March 2013.

A warm welcome!


Julian Birkinshaw
Bettina Büchel
Albrecht Enders
Markus Nordberg
Timo Santalainen
SMS Special Conference Strategizing Practices from the Outliers


No attendees