Organizations must foster a culture of ‘openness’ to encourage innovation, hears IMD Business Forum on Keys to Sustainable Organic Growth

Published May 30th, 2010 - 06:59 GMT

Over 150 business leaders from the GCC countries attended the IMD Business Forum in Dubai on 'Keys to Sustainable Organic Growth'. The annual conference was held by Switzerland based IMD Business School, which is ranked second in executive education worldwide (Financial Times rankings, 2008-2010) and second in MBA rankings (The Economist, 2009) globally. IMD Professor Seán Meehan, who led the discussions, highlighted the importance of fostering a culture of openness in organizations to break down boundaries that hinder innovation, which is so important to achieving sustainable organic growth.

"As a first step towards attaining consistent organic growth, it is important that everyone in the organization understands and acts on the brand promise. It is also essential to invite feedback from customers to constantly keep track of their experience and expectations from the brand. Don't rest on your laurels, it is important to think about incremental innovations that can take your brand to the next level. You must go 'beyond the familiar'.

"And to embrace innovation, it is crucial that the management opens up communication with people throughout the organization to hear what is being said, not what is filtered through multiple channels of communication," explained Seán Meehan , IMD Business School's Martin Hilti Professor of Marketing and Change Management and the school's Dean of External Relations.

In a Q& A session at the conference, Fadi Ghandour, CEO of Aramex, spoke to Dr. Hischam El Agamy, Executive Director of IMD, about how his company achieved sustained organic growth by consistently delivering on its brand promise. The Aramex brand is today considered credible because it has worked hard to deliver its promises within the organisation and to clients.

Speaking about the importance of the IMD Business Forum, Fadi Ghandour, commented: "IMD Business Forum brings together leaders in the region to discuss the challenges we are facing today. It is very important to share knowledge and experience and events like this help to do that. I am delighted to have participated in this forum."

Maurizio Patarnello, Senior Vice President Nestlé Waters and Regional Business Head Asia, Oceania, Middle East and Africa, spoke about how his company achieved sustainable organic growth by following a 'Dual Brand Strategy'.

Nestlé Waters has followed a growth path focused on acquisition of local brands and expanding its presence, supply capacity and investing in brand building. The result has been a dual brand strategy through association of Nestlé Pure Life with other local water brands by clearly differentiating each brand based on their promises. For example, Nestlé Pure Life Water is positioned as a re-mineralised drinking water guaranteed by Nestlé. It is 'great water' with promises of 'great taste' and focused on health, family and hydration. The local acquired brands like Baraka, Sohat and Ghadeer are positioned as mineral or spring water, purity guaranteed by nature and of ideal natural origin. The brand promises were developed based on a market study of consumer needs and preferences for drinking water.

Speaking about the IMD Business Forum held in Dubai, Dr. Hischam El Agamy, Executive Director of IMD, said: "Companies in the region need to constantly adapt themselves to real economic issues. There is an increasing need to differentiate, innovate and deliver on promises as businesses look to sustain their growth in changing economic climate where there is an element of uncertainty. The IMD Business Forum was able to shed light on these important issues.

"We are happy to have concluded another successful edition of IMD Business Forum in Dubai and look forward to working more closely with companies in the region for executive training, research and development." 

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