Bridging the gap between governments and small and medium-sized enterprises

Ben De Coninck

What was my dream when I was little?

I guess I went through the usual phases: a fighter pilot, a policeman, a prince, an astronaut, a firefighter, and so on. The one thing I figured out quite early is that becoming a king was going to be difficult. But as Journey so wisely sang: “Don’t stop believing, hold on to the feeling”.

What am I doing when I am not working on my PhD?

I like to go out with friends and have a good time. Apart from that, I absolutely love the sun and warmth. If I find the time and money, I try to visit friends living in warm countries. Friends in cold countries get less visits.

What is my PhD about?

My PhD focuses on the use of open innovation strategies (e.g. crowdsourcing, innovative procurement, communities, etc.) as a lever for digital transformation in the public sector. Essentially, I try to understand how we can leverage knowledge that is spread throughout society in the innovation processes in government.

Why is this important for practice?

“No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.” –Joy’s Law

Digital transformation is difficult… So why don’t we try to tackle it by involving innovative actors outside of government’s boundaries? By moving to an open innovation model, we can achieve two goals: (1) we can more effectively tackle the challenges that government faces (e.g. digital transformation, ageing population, etc.), and (2) we can stimulate innovation in private companies so that they can continue to grow. Open innovation is all about creating a symbiotic relationship.

How do I like to be remembered after my PhD?

Well, I hope that the end of my PhD doesn’t mean that I would suddenly disappear from the planet… As long as I am remembered as an optimistic, helpful researcher that contributed something that improves people’s lives, I am happy.

How do I see my future?

Like a thick cement wall – I have no clue what’s on the other side.

& Rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times