An otherwise great column in HBR It’s Time for the 3-D MBA about improving MBA programs starts well by urging more breadth and depth, then calling for more ‘dynamics’ than static prespectives. [I’d hardly disagree with that!]. But it then asserts that “The vast majority of value created in business comes not from applying existing models, but from creating new models that do not now exist. It comes from creativity; from innovation.” – which is either completely false, or else meaningless, depending on how you take it.
In any year, the vast majority of value is created by companies exploiting business models they have had for years or decades, rather than ones they just invented. On a longer view, though, all value ever created comes from business models that were new at some point in time. The article seems to be taking the first meaning – implying that most value is created by recently-new business models – and urges business schools to focus MBAs on innovation. This may be useful in some cases, but should not take precedence over strategy delivery. If this comment leads to MBAs learning less about how to deliver strategy as a result of focusing on innovation, it will be a great example of how an entirely false premise can lead to fundamentally wrong strategic choices [and this from a business school that is supposed to be teaching the rest of us how to do strategy well!]
So … when reading an article that seems persuasive, do put on your ‘skeptical’ hat and just check that it’s built on accurate foundations.