Grassroots Roundtable Discussion

Online session given by Prof.dr. Isabel Verniers,  February 9th, 15:00-16:15 CET
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Isabel is Senior Principal at MTI². She has co-designed and led several award-winning innovation and upskilling processes across a diverse set of industries such as pharmaceuticals and life sciences, automotive, chemicals, construction, engineering, financial services, and telecommunications,. Specifically, Isabel co-designed and deployed processes for clients such as Baloise Insurance, Michelin, Merck, Baxter, KLM, MAHLE, Novartis, SKF, SABIC, Agentschap voor Ondernemersvorming (Flemish Government) and the University of Ghent. 
In these processes, Isabel also delivers upskilling and coaching sessions for employees and innovators. Besides her consulting and mentoring work, Isabel is Visiting Professor at the University of Ghent in Belgium (her alma mater) in the area of marketing, innovation, and organization. Isabel has been a speaker and chair at several international conferences on the topic of change and innovation management.
Isabel will host a roundtable discussion, focused on the lessons drawn from the largest scientific study ever conducted on grassroots innovation. This session consists of three parts: (1) we will kickoff the session with a 20 min. introduction during which one of the authors of the paper will discuss the main findings, (2) subsequently we will have a 40 min. roundtable discussion, (3) we will wrap up the session with a 30 min. presentation during which we will share insights and best practices on grassroots innovation.

Our team at MTI² has just published what is the largest study we are aware of on the topic of grassroots innovation, i.e., “the voluntary generation and development of innovations by any member of an organization, regardless of function or seniority”, in the International Journal of Research in Marketing, the flagship journal of the European Marketing Academy.

In the paper, we surveyed 3,728 innovation managers in 14 countries, with 2,353 (63.1%) indicating their firm already had at least some experience with grassroots innovation. We asked these managers about how they design their grassroots innovation initiatives and how they evaluated the performance of such initiatives.

On average, we find that firms using grassroots innovation have better innovation performance than firms that do not use grassroots innovation.

We offer evidence-based guidelines on how to design processes that motivate employees to excel in customer-centric innovation. We highlight three key results:
- Give employees autonomy about their projects, embed upskilling moments in the process and help employees cross-pollinate.
​- To prevent employees from “drifting away” from the firm’s strategy, involve leadership but ask them to offer “facilitative support” (e.g., “how can I help you improve your idea?”).
- At the same time, adopt a “milestone logic” with clear reporting moments on important KPIs to keep the drumbeat in your process.
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How to register?
Would you like to join this session on February 9th at 15.00 CET (duration: 1h15)? Then please send an email to indicating:

- Your first and last name
- Your function and company
- Your e-mail address