Interview with prof. Petra de Weerd-Nederhof

The Next Organization is celebrating its 10th birthday! A true milestone that we are very proud to have achieved. To celebrate 10 years of helping clients to grow their business, we are publishing 10 inspiring client interviews throughout the year. With our clients we will talk about how the world has changed and which challenges they have overcome, what developments they see in their market, predict what their industry will look like in 10 years and which challenges lay ahead of them. Read all about it in the interview below.

10 Years TNXTO: Interview with professor Petra de Weerd-Nederhof (University of Twente)

Balancing today’s business with tomorrow’s challenges. This is what our collaboration is about. Nowadays, I still use our collaboration as a best practice how a university can collaborate with the industry.

Knowledge forms the heart of our service and therefore we closely collaborate with several business schools and universities. One of them, is the University of Twente (UT), located in Enschede, The Netherlands. We spoke to Petra de Weerd-Nederhof, professor in organisation studies and innovation and former department head of the NIKOS Department for Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation Management at the Behavioural Management and Social Sciences (BMS) faculty at the UT. In our long-standing and intensive collaboration with the UT, we closely worked together on research projects, guest lectures and the Marketing & Sales Game.

Fruitful collaborations starting off spontaneously
De Weerd-Nederhof states: “When the idea of the project, in this case the PhD project focussing on Value Experience and Value Creation in the Service Logic, was built, everything went very quickly. But the best is even to come! I was working on a proposal for research funding for a Post-Doc project for sustainable business models. I remember working against the clock together with several colleagues at The Next Organization. Eventually we succeeded in receiving funding and we have an entire team working on that project. I think that is just very nice! I think, that is ‘just The Next’.”

Collaboration is food for further collaboration
Even though the UT and The Next Organization are working hard on current projects and delivering results, looking forward is always good. As professor De Weerd-Nederhof mentions: “2020 is the year of the Post-Doc project and in late 2021 Yasin is finishing his PhD. I certainly expect that these projects are food for further collaboration. So, it is very exciting to look forward, already!”

Learnings from unique construction of collaboration
Great things happen when academia and practice come together. The state-of-the-art knowledge universities develop and the expertise organisations have in the industry, can very much complement each other. Through building such unique collaborations, we get rid of the still existing dichotomy of ‘academia’ and ‘practice’. Instead of separating these two, the collaboration of the UT and The Next Organization shows its power and possibilities. As De Weerd-Nederhof mentions: “Personally, I learn a lot from such collaborations and inspires me. Besides the real knowledge we develop, it shows how different type of organisations work. Universities have different stakes and The Next Organization too, but still, they are complementary. You really learn on the job. It enriches every individual!”

Valorisation through building concrete solutions serving different groups
The collaboration between the UT and The Next Organization creates solutions on different levels. As De Weerd-Nederhof discusses: “New academic knowledge which is directly translated into knowledge programs or tools. That’s what it’s all about. Valorisation and dissemination… I have seen plenty of organisations that do it differently. They invest in trajectories that are not directly linked with their daily business. In our case, that works differently. There is a common urgency among different parties which leads to directly developing new ideas and knowledge relevant for all parties.”

Today’s and tomorrow’s society is all about being ambidextrously successful in your network
A key challenge for organisations is to maintain continuous business while looking ahead at the same time. According to De Weerd-Nederhof, knowing that her doctoral dissertation focused on ambidexterity, the collaboration between the UT and The Next Organization is a best practice of maintaining operational excellence on a daily basis (in for example consultancy services) while having strategic flexibility to be fit for tomorrow’s challenges (in research projects). “This is of key importance and I think that is exactly where we are at with our collaboration. We reap what we sow.”

Stimulating blended learning in future collaborations
“Our collaboration with the UT inspires to think about the future too. Knowing that future collaboration is much more about combining skills and knowledge, blended learning would be very suitable” according to De Weerd-Nederhof. Collaborations where students follow courses while doing research and contributing to practice at the same time, is a great future idea. “Of course, we have to think big in order to serve hundreds of students. Besides, new generations have a greater need to learn and work on the job at the same time. Blended learning concepts are therefore very suitable.”

The University of Twente and The Next Organization keep working intensively together on several facets. We will regularly post updates, so stay up to date and follow us on LinkedIn.

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