Get a taste...

Curious about the content of the sessions? We would like to give you a brief idea of what you can expect! On this page each faculty member shared some insights and tips on the topic that they have covered in the Feed Your Mind series 2014.

Session Marc Buelens

Making the complex simple again
Professor Marc Buelens: ‘We can get more out of less’

The flow of information is unstoppable. Every day, we’re confronted with a whirlwind of messages, comments, questions, problems, suggestions and opportunities. Vlerick Business School’s Professor Marc Buelens notes that our hard drives are gradually filling up... "We must get back to basics."

Filtering information
How do we ensure that we do not become overloaded by the mountain of information that we have to cope with every day? How do we distinguish the key messages? And how do we create sustainable responses?

According to Prof Buelens, we must make our complex way of working simple again. “Learn to play fast in a slow game, or slowly in a fast game. Yes, less is more, but more is different.”

Don’t add anything
When we are asked for our opinion or feedback, we always want to add something. We simply can’t leave well enough alone. It's a way of showing that we are clever and involved in the project.

“Important people always want to add things to create added value. But that’s where they go wrong, because more is not always better,” Prof Buelens explains. “It's a much bigger challenge to leave things out. Only truly great leaders dare to throw things away and say no.”

Professor Marc Buelens: “The more data we collect, and the more software we develop to analyse those data, the more slowly and painfully we make business decisions. Why is that?”

Strategic choices
It can – and should – always be simpler. And it begins with the fundamental choices concerning the company’s strategy. Prof Buelens: "They want to be operationally excellent and customer-oriented and innovative and cost-conscious and radically international. It looks good on paper, but it creates chaos in practice. With such an all-inclusive strategy, you’re actually not making any choices.”

During the Feed Your Mind kick-off session, he explains to the participants how they can get back to simplicity.

To find a way out of complexity, we need sufficient resilience – the ability to stand back up after we’ve been knocked flat. “As a company, you can do this by not always wanting to respond quickly and impulsively,” says Prof Buelens. “Resilience includes being able to wait just a bit longer than strictly necessary. But also taking time to celebrate small successes together, or to console each other if something must be mourned.”

Vlerick briefings 
Feed Your Mind is a new, inspiring series of briefings at Vlerick Business School. Via compact sessions of 90 minutes, participants stay up-to-date on new research results, important developments, crucial insights and personal recommendations.

With his session, Professor Buelens wants to initiate the formulation of a few simple rules, which allow for multiple winners in a complex playing field. “We should choose ‘better’ over ‘cheaper’ and learn to formulate even more clearly what we do not want.”

Other reward systems
The Vlerick professor also wants to encourage companies to scrap reward systems that are only based on ‘more’. “They make sure that everyone starts producing even more in less time. But under time pressure, we begin more and more to think and do the same. Which actually makes us less ‘successfully different’,” says Marc Buelens.

Want to know more?
Feed Your Mind – a series of 90-minute Vlerick briefings, spread over 7 months. The Dutch-language sessions are held in Ghent or Antwerp. The English-language sessions are offered in Brussels or Liège.

Session Marion Debruyne

‘Turn your customer into a business partner’
Co-creation: think up innovations together with your customer

How can you – together with your customer – bring brilliant new products and services onto the market? By deploying co-creation, crowdsourcing, communities and platforms. Vlerick Business School’s Professor Marion Debruyne explains how every company can innovate in this way.

So many ideas
Because a customer knows what the needs, desires or gaps are, he/she is a perfect advisor for improving – or even inventing – a product or service. In co-creation, a company enters into dialogue with its customers to develop innovations together. “If the process is approached in the right way, it can lead to phenomenal successes,” says Prof Marion Debruyne – who will present a practical session about all of the possibilities and difficulties of co-creation during Feed Your Mind in September.

Each year, Lays asks its customers what new flavours they would like chips to have. The suggestion that draws the most public votes will then appear on the supermarket shelves.

“Customers appreciate the fact that the company asks their opinion. Co-creation not only generates fresh ideas, it also boosts the customers’ pride in, and involvement with, a brand,” explains Prof Debruyne. “But be careful: it can also create an anti-reaction. If the enthusiastic inventors do not receive a response, or ideas are not executed correctly, you are guaranteed to lose those customers. It’s extremely important to take good care of your relationships.”

Professor Marion Debruyne: “Co-creation not only generates fresh ideas, it also boosts the customers’ pride in, and involvement with, a brand.”

Small and unknown too
In co-creation, you can also give your customers the chance to add a personal touch. Just think of Coca-Cola® cans displaying the name of your sweetheart, Vedett beer bottles with a photo of your friend celebrating a birthday, personalised Nikes, and so on.

“It’s a common misconception that co-creation works only with consumer goods from large, well-known brands with a wide audience,” Prof Debruyne adds. “The process can just as well be applied in small, unknown niche sectors with only a handful of professional customers – as long as you can convey the enthusiasm!”

Doing the leg work
To set a process of co-creation in motion, you need more than just a digital platform where ideas are welcome. “You mustn’t assume that your customers will participate automatically. If you don’t want to be left empty-handed, you have to appoint someone to do the leg work.” More tips & tricks for getting the co-creation ball rolling will be unveiled during Prof Debruyne’s Feed Your Mind session.

Vlerick comes to you
Feed Your Mind is a new, inspiring evening series organised by Vlerick Business School at four different locations (Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels and Liège). Via compact 90-minute sessions, participants stay up-to-date on new research findings, important developments, crucial insights and personal recommendations.


Session Miguel Meuleman

How can a company behave like a start-up again?
Professor Miguel Meuleman puts dynamism and flexibility back on your agenda

They’re small, flexible, creative with few resources, and super passionate about their brand-new business… And larger companies sometimes envy these start-ups for their speed and enthusiasm. Vlerick Business School’s Professor Miguel Meuleman explains how the big players can get themselves back into start-up mode.

The power of the starter
Two boys in a garage, tinkering with an idea that they truly believe in. They come up with wild plans and devise clever ways to capture the market. They have loads of enthusiasm, and their energy seems virtually inexhaustible. Plus, as starters, they’re open to all kinds of feedback and input. “There are no rules or procedures with a start-up – everything is possible and open to discussion,” says Prof Miguel Meuleman. “This is the very dynamism and flexibility that the established players are looking for too.”

Colouring outside the lines
Large companies need more structure to be able to function, but bureaucracy can also be paralysing. “To innovate successfully, you need to be able to colour outside the lines. Get out of that office and launch that new idea onto the market as fast as possible. Companies must dare to experiment, ask for feedback, and even fail.”

During his Feed Your Mind session, Prof Meuleman wants to encourage companies not to spend years working on innovations behind closed doors, but to come out with something more quickly.

Everything at once
In a traditional scenario, a product development phase is followed by a period of market development. With a start-up, everything is done at the same time in order to lose as little money and time as possible. “That’s exactly what bigger players need to start doing again too,” says the Vlerick professor. “It requires another mind-set and a less structured way of working. But in return, you get feedback on your product or service more quickly, which enables you to adapt it to the needs of the market sooner.”

Vlerick comes to you
Miguel Meuleman reveals his new insights concerning start-ups and dynamic entrepreneurship at Feed Your Mind – an inspiring evening series organised by Vlerick Business School at 4 different locations (Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels and Liège). Via compact 90-minute sessions, participants stay up-to-date on new research findings and important developments that they can apply immediately to their daily practice.

Session Katleen De Stobbeleir

How leaders can remain leaders
Professor Katleen De Stobbeleir on ‘inclusive leadership’ and ‘pay it forward’

How do you make the diversity within a team flourish? And as a coach, how do you win as much influence as possible in your organisation? Vlerick Business School’s Professor Katleen De Stobbeleir explains how we can become successful leaders of strong teams.

An organisation’s boundaries are loosening up – collaboration and win-win formulas are being sought with customers, suppliers and even competitors. “To keep a competitive advantage longer, you need a well-balanced relation with as many stakeholders as possible,” explains Prof Katleen De Stobbeleir. During her Feed Your Mind session, she explains how leaders can stimulate(or: facilitate) the search for collaboration within their organisation.

One size never fits all
It doesn’t make sense to force all employees to work in the same way. “One size never fits all,” says Prof De Stobbeleir. “You don’t have to get all the noses pointing in the same direction. To innovate successfully, you need diversity and creativity in your team – which can be activated with ‘inclusive leadership’. Drop your preconceptions, make sure that your employees can be themselves, and the talent rises to the surface almost by itself.”

Pay it forward
Prof De Stobbeleir also wants to do away with the traditional give-and-take culture within organisations. “I do something for you, and you help me in return. That’s nice, but the reciprocity stays limited to two persons.” She recommends that organisations apply ‘pay it forward’ as much as possible. “That way, you as coach don’t ask a favour in return, but you propose that the one you have helped pass the knowledge on to someone else in the organisation. With this ‘passing it on’ strategy, management can gain enormous impact,” says the Vlerick professor.

Vlerick comes to you
Katleen De Stobbeleir reveals her new insights and tools in leadership development at Feed Your Mind, an inspiring evening series organised by Vlerick Business School at 4 different locations (Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels and Liège). Via compact 90-minute sessions, participants stay up-to-date on research findings that they can put immediately into practice.