Taking skills development to a new level
Executive Faculty is completely different from traditional skills development. The concept matches a researcher from the School of Business, Economics and Law with an executive at a partner company. Together, they embark on a 1.5 year-long journey that aims to develop them both.
Evangelos Bourelos is a researcher at the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Staffan Vidén is Vice President, Manu- facturing at Volvo Trucks. Over the course of 1.5 years, they have met every three weeks to discuss and challenge each other.
“It felt good straight away. We quickly found areas of shared interest and were both keen to establish a good partnership,” says Evangelos Bourelos.
“I have quite a lot of exchanges with technical universities, but with this I gained a different perspective. We always have extremely interesting discussions. It hasn’t exactly been difficult to fill the time,” adds Staffan Vidén.
A unique Swedish opportunity
Both agree that business and society face major challenges, and tackling them will require new forms of collaboration.
“Change comes very quickly these days. Those of us who work in production often make investments over a 20 year time horizon. Many of the companies on today’s Fortune 500 list haven’t even been around that long! So it’s particular important to ask whether we have the right perspective, the right business models,” says Staffan Vidén.
“Very few countries have managed to get industry and academia to work together in a way that gets results. Sweden has cultural advantages in terms of its capacity to collaborate, and we’re a good example of that,” says Evangelos Bourelos.
Opportunity for cross-pollination
Artificial Intelligence and Big Data were subjects that both had immersed themselves in, creating the potential for cross-pollination.
“I wanted to know about the cutting edge expertise in the field and learn from what others were doing. A university offers greater scope for this and Evangelos was very knowledgeable on the subject,” comments Staffan Vidén.
“We also saw an opportunity here to engage with the students. I invited Staffan to come and be interviewed and give a talk. Many of the students were inspired, as evidenced much later when they were choosing their degree projects,” says Evangelos Bourelos.
After 1.5 years of Executive Faculty, the feedback has been extremely positive and the exchange continues.
“It worked out really well. I recommend that others try it. Even if you already have good contact with the academic world, this is a whole different ballgame,” concludes Staffan Vidén.
A long-term, structured programme that gives experienced professionals an opportunity to develop their expertise in an academic environment. Via a matching process, each participant is assigned a senior researcher with a suitable profile. Only available for the School of Business, Economics and Law’s Senior Partners.
This is an article from the School's Magazine 2019