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Innovation and the CEO 
- Jean Muls -
Why w/should Innovation be on 
our CEO agenda : 
1. USP, competitive advantage 
2. Radical game changer 
3. Boosts growth ...
The thinking outside the box 
anecdote (General Electric, 1995) 
In 1995 when Welch told me “your ideas 
are great, but yo...
# 1 : Innovation as USP at Flightcare – A 
business about competing for a licence
… 
FlightCare Belgium poursuit ses 
activités actuelles dans les quatre 
catégories pour lesquelles sa licence a 
été attr...
# 2 : Innovation as radical game 
changer at Bombardier Transportation
When Richard Branson wanted a train, he didn’t gave 
us the technical spec’s but only what the train needed 
to do : To tr...
AGC tender : Instead of proposing a product similar to 
Alstom's train – in that case we would have had no 
chance to win ...
# 3 : Growth & profit booster. 
Atmosphere of dynamism & change
When I started, AIB-Vincotte Board told me I had to cut costs. 
The CMO told me the employees were resistant to any form o...
Gate Terminal in Rotterdam went 
for our new Non-Destructive- 
Testing technology, a result of of 
long R&D efforts. 
We a...
The lessons I learned as CEO 
• Status quo is bad. Reject it. 
• Put yourself regularly in question. 
The rest of the comp...
"Innovation and the CEO" (J.Muls - Amsterdam, Sept 26th 2014)
"Innovation and the CEO" (J.Muls - Amsterdam, Sept 26th 2014)
"Innovation and the CEO" (J.Muls - Amsterdam, Sept 26th 2014)
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"Innovation and the CEO" (J.Muls - Amsterdam, Sept 26th 2014)

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What should a CEO do about innovation ? Should he care and why ? What should be his priorities and how should he do it ?
Starting from my career experiences as MD, CEO, ... - which I illustrate with a couple of examples - I summarise the lessons I learned in a couple take aways

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"Innovation and the CEO" (J.Muls - Amsterdam, Sept 26th 2014)

  1. 1. Innovation and the CEO - Jean Muls -
  2. 2. Why w/should Innovation be on our CEO agenda : 1. USP, competitive advantage 2. Radical game changer 3. Boosts growth & profit. Dynamic atmosphere. Change.
  3. 3. The thinking outside the box anecdote (General Electric, 1995) In 1995 when Welch told me “your ideas are great, but you need to think more outside of the box”, I had no idea what he was talking about ...
  4. 4. # 1 : Innovation as USP at Flightcare – A business about competing for a licence
  5. 5. … FlightCare Belgium poursuit ses activités actuelles dans les quatre catégories pour lesquelles sa licence a été attribuée jusqu'en 2018. Les activités de Aviapartner dans les catégories limitées d'assistance en escale prennent fin au 31 octobre 2011. …
  6. 6. # 2 : Innovation as radical game changer at Bombardier Transportation
  7. 7. When Richard Branson wanted a train, he didn’t gave us the technical spec’s but only what the train needed to do : To transport X people from A to B in Y hours. … and we ended up building a tilting train !
  8. 8. AGC tender : Instead of proposing a product similar to Alstom's train – in that case we would have had no chance to win the SNCF tender – we took our German “Talent” design, with its Jacobs bogie, which we adapted to the French norms. • Reaction of my German engineers : ! • Reaction of my French engineers : !!! But ultimately …
  9. 9. # 3 : Growth & profit booster. Atmosphere of dynamism & change
  10. 10. When I started, AIB-Vincotte Board told me I had to cut costs. The CMO told me the employees were resistant to any form of change. I discovered a company with a lot of highly competent employees, but widely underutilized. I started up an innovation management program meant to find new market applications for the company’s knowledge. We knew how to inspect large circuit breakers for industrial applications, we did the same for google’s new data center in Ghlin.
  11. 11. Gate Terminal in Rotterdam went for our new Non-Destructive- Testing technology, a result of of long R&D efforts. We also ended up inspecting 500 kms of pipeline in India for GAIL. … but the ITER project (www.iter.org), was our biggest victory Next slide Inspection of LNG storage - Gate Terminal, Rotterdam Harbour (NL)
  12. 12. The lessons I learned as CEO • Status quo is bad. Reject it. • Put yourself regularly in question. The rest of the company will follow. • Cultivate openness. Listen. Be curious. Look outside (the box). • Put innovation on the agenda, including yours.

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