Creating the conditions for innovations

“Creating the conditions for innovation’ was one of the sessions that stood out for me. The energy, the connection between theory and practice, the mirror Prof. Simon de Jong held up to us was a great learning experience”, says Eddie van der Wereld, COO of In Tense. “Simon was very energetic”, Jill Hensen, CEO Health Plus, agrees. “It was interesting, very interactive and fun.”

Fun and energetic approach

The leadership session ‘Creating the conditions for innovation’ is part of the module Entrepreneurship and New Business Development of MaastrichtMBA. Prof. Dr. Simon de Jong is a Full Professor in Organization Studies at the Department of Organization, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship of Maastricht University. Before joining Maastricht University, he worked as a Human Capital consultant at Deloitte Consulting and held various academic roles at top universities and business schools across Europe. In his research Simon focuses expanding contemporary knowledge regarding teamwork, organizational design, effective leadership, and performance management. His research has been published in various top scientific journals as well as more practitioner-focused outlets. Within this MaastrictMBA module, Simon also gives sessions on teaming and on trust and conflicts. His sessions are known to be fun and energetic because of the mix of presentations and pitches, scientific literature and results of empirical field research, games, quotes and books.

Understanding the daily process

The ‘conditions for innovation’ session focuses on the importance of creating the right circumstances and right culture in which employees can thrive. As Prof. De Jong states it: “In short: which factors can contribute (or obstruct) creativity and innovation? It all starts with a deeper understanding of how employees work and interact together. To be able to develop and implement innovations a leader has to appreciate what literally happens day-to-day in the primary working process. Knowing the process in more detail helps to understand where value is created, or destroyed. As a leader, you can view your job as one that is to take away obstacles and facilitate your employees as much as possible, so that they can deliver that value. Overall, the session is based on the concept that leaders should be the developers of human capital by creating the conditions that bring people together and get the most out of them.”



Vincent Bastiaans, head lecturer at HAN University of Applied Sciences and manager of health expert center HAN SENECA: “My key takeaway is that business plans aren’t the answers to the problem. What you need is encouragement, room for failure, trust and an environment to stimulate growth. Innovation is very important in our organization, but as it also brings extra work you need people who love doing and are willing to walk the extra mile. As a leader you can empower people and make it happen.”

Jill Henssen: “As a CEO and owner of a healthcare center I spent several hours a week on innovation. I believe innovation is the only way to meet the present and future challenges of scarcity of staff and increasing demand for care. My key takeaway of this session is trust; enable your team to be creative and think outside of the box. What struck me was the example of finding the right person for the job. Don’t have in mind that ‘typical person’ you think would fit best, but have an open mind.”

Eddie van der Wereld: “Since COVID-19 forced our company in innovating and creating online services with an experiential learning format, we are constantly striving for innovation. I believe leaders in organisations should create the foundations of innovations by being open for change, by creating a proactive culture where people can speak up and have the feeling they can contribute and share ideas to innovate. Prof. De Jong’s session has made me even more aware of the leadership role I have in my organisation and the great energy we have in our team and that can be unleashed when we need it. Key takeaway for me was the connection Simon made between methodologies, science and practices and how those can create insights and evidence for specific approaches.”

Different perspectives

Prof. De Jong: “The session is all about enlarging the students’ toolbox. What is the role of context, interactions, culture, strategy, structure etc. when leading for creativity and innovation? This course, as part of the module Entrepreneurship and New Business Development module, stimulates a more holistic view by enabling our students – the leaders of tomorrow – to identify a problem from different perspectives and come up with integrated solutions.”



This article displays the student insights and experiences of our On-Campus MBA Entrepreneurship and New Business Development module. Our On-Campus track has an on campus learning format and is part of the executive modular part-time MaastrichtMBA programme. The programme has a Triple Crown accreditation and is aimed for professionals with at least 5 years of working experience.

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