Direct from Monte Carlo – the experience of top entrepreneurs and innovators
The annual EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year event in Monte Carlo is a unique opportunity for some of the most dynamic global leaders, entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers to network, share knowledge and celebrate achievements.
At this year's four-day event, private sessions called Innovation Labs, or iLabs, brought together luminaries in their respective disciplines to share their views and recommendations. Here are some of the key takeaways we heard in these sessions.
Session: Building and leveraging a board
For private companies looking to grow while maintaining financial discipline and rigor, a board is more than simply a good idea — it's essential.
- Don't make key decisions by yourself. If it's too soon to establish a board, seek advice from experienced people.
- Once you have layers of management, it's time to start building a board with advisors experienced in different aspects of business.
- Choose individuals with whom you would want to have a continuing conversation.
- Give the board a strong governance role, freeing up the CEO to focus on running the company and creating value.
Session: On-line learning in frontier markets
In the developing world, digital technology offers great possibilities for education and advances in on-line learning.
- Facebook-style learning, incorporating students' personal progress and interests, empowers children to take charge of their own education.
- In a digital learning environment, working parents can get updates on their kids' progress 24x7 and stay connected to education in their communities.
- On-line learning can help to balance gender differences in classroom behavior, as typically restless boys interact well with point-and-click and the dynamic computer screen.
- Standardized online programs enable teachers to focus their energies on teaching instead of course design.
Session: Consumer products and Innovation
Maintaining the attention and loyalty of today's' consumer means ensuring a steady creation of new ideas.
- Successful consumer products companies foster a strong culture of innovation and transparency, open to ideas from all employees.
- Never stop finding gaps in the market or challenging yourself to identify those consumer needs that elude others.
- Combine your instincts with extensive market research to reach those “light bulb” moments.
- Cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit outside the organization – especially with young people – to generate a steady flow of game-changing ideas.
- Find new opportunities by returning to the reasons why you started your business in the first place.
Session: Becoming digital
A transformational force, this continuous form of disruption must be applied to new and existing business models. It leverages technology to tailor the customer experience across the multiple channels. Companies that expect to win in their industry must succeed on this digital journey.
- Use a hybrid approach, advises the owner of an online provider of pet insurance. The company combines a digital presence with a paper magazine that consumers can “touch” in veterinary offices – and then go online to see the offerings and choose the best options for their pet's needs as well as their budget.
- Even with the advances in 3-D modeling, says an architect, you lose something when you go completely digital. Beware of this on your digital journey.
- When companies decide to update their systems, says a software executive, the business user — not the CIO — must drive the decisions.