Those that learn will survive - Micro MBA

Most of us think that time for doing business as usual is running out. If we are to believe the vast majority of climate change scientists, time has already run out and we have passed the point of no return to keep global warming within the two degree range. Welcome to the Anthropocene, the era in which human activity is having a direct impact on the earth’s systems, including its temperature.

Not a surprise that on 18 October EDI organised  already the 3rd Micro MBA ‘Survival of the Smartest’ at Nyenrode Business University, during which the need for sustainable transformation of major energy companies was discussed by several lecturers. The afternoon was attended by more than 150 young energy professionals representing most of the major Dutch energy companies.

Robert Kleiburg, from Recoy, introduced the audience to the Antropocene, a phenomenon many in the audience were not familiar with yet. His message stressed the need for energy companies to transform by innovating new business models that are more sustainable and can secure the company’s future existence. The example of several major coal companies reaching bankruptcy recently was given a warning of what might be in store for the oil and gas companies.

The example of former Dutch state mining company, DSM, that managed to transform into a successful biotech company, already some decades ago, was illustrated and explained by Rob Kirschbaum from Sakuragi Consult, who was closely involved in this process when working at DSM. His story serves as living proof that change is possible, but only for those that recognise this in due time and are at the forefront of open innovation.

Mark van Baal from Follow This called upon many of the young participants not to hesitate to lobby for a transformation of their respective companies, as it is the current generation that will have to do the job of creating not only a sustainable energy system, but a sustainable society and world as well. He did so by sharing his own personal story and vision on how to move major IOCs, such as Shell, towards a renewable portfolio.

The future is uncertain and can evolve down different pathways. Coyan Tromp from the University of Amsterdam illustrated this quite clearly in her lecture. In it she  sketched different views of our future, ranging from a bright ‘plenty for all’ scenario to a ‘tragedy of the commons’, in which the planet would be depleted of all its resources. According to her we should focus on those scenarios that find desirable and work towards them.

Finally, Nyenrode lecturer Richard Janssen returned to the question of how companies should try and identify a strategy that suits and strengthens their core competences. Once identified, dynamic capabilities should be used and further developed to direct the company towards its future transformation. Although many components ultimately decide whether a company will manage to survive, one skill that is without doubt the most important, is learning. According to Janssen, the ability of companies to learn in a quickly changing technological environment will determine their chances for survival.

EDI hopes that the Micro MBA ‘Survival of the smartest’ made a contribution to this learning process. 

Energy Micro MBA 

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