Archive for February, 2011

Cirque du Soleil: navigating blue oceans

February 26, 2011

From INSEAD Knowledge

Even before the groundbreaking book Blue Ocean Strategy, by INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, became an instant global bestseller, one company had already been searching for its own blue oceans and found its uncontested space.

The company in question is Cirque du Soleil, a world-class circus devoid of animals, but which features a world-class performance troupe like no other, comprising its trademark blend of traditional circus, theatre, music and special effects.

Check: Read more..

Povl Tiedemann

February 2011


Business schools promote responsible leaders

February 21, 2011

By Munyaradzi Makoni, University World News

‘Social responsibility’ has assumed new meaning in the international business vocabulary: it is now about corporations moving from being the best in the world, to being best for the world. There is also growing implementation of the notion, thanks to a UN-sponsored global initiative to encourage business schools to promote responsible commercial practices.
Full report on the University World News site

Povl Tiedemann

February 2011

Exchange students in Denmark and in Norway

February 13, 2011

Ministry limits foreign exchange students in Demark

By Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News
The Ministry of Higher Education has instructed higher education institutions that the number of foreign exchange students in Denmark must not exceed the number of Danish students going abroad. Only exchanges through reciprocal agreements between universities will be counted for budgetary awarding.

Full report on the University World News site

Foreign students flock to free universities in Norway

Norwegian colleges and universities are reporting an increased application rate from foreign students, as Norway has become the only country in Europe to continue offering tuition-free higher education to all, regardless of country of origin, reports News in English.

More on the University World News site

Povl Tiedemann

February 2011

Business demands drive degrees shake-up

February 10, 2011

By Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News.
Danish Higher Education Minister Charlotte Sahl-Madsen is trying to make universities more responsive to the demands of business. She is also tackling the ‘thesis swamp’ that traps many Danish graduates so that they fail to complete their masters on time, and plans to encourage students to choose courses better suited to a job in the private sector and to limit the numbers taking degrees that are less in demand by employers.

Full report on University World News site

Povl Tiedemann

February 2011

University Mergers Sweep Across Europe

February 4, 2011

Extracts from article by By Aisha Labi, Espoo, Finland.

Increased Autonomy.

For the policy makers and university administrators behind the recent university mergers, the specter of global rankings looms large. Some explicitly acknowledge rankings to be part of the motivation behind their decision making; others say the tables are less of a driving force but still acknowledge their influence.

But other factors are also at play, including shifts in attitudes across Europe about university autonomy and whether all institutions are – or should be – considered equal.

Most European universities have historically been public institutions with limited independence from government oversight and financial control. But this model is being reworked in many countries, as institutions seek more say over their administration and public money dwindles, or as governments focus their spending more specifically.


Povl Tiedemann

January 2011

Mind the culture-gap – by Peter Lorange

February 2, 2011

Cross-cultural intelligence and mindfulness are both becoming increasingly important for international managers to succeed in a global world, which is ever so interconnected. 

Managers who come to IMD often ask what skills are most important for the future? The answer lies in the interplay of what can be taught in a classroom and what each manager experiences. These experiences on their own have no value if the individual is not mindful enough to learn from them. Success or failure should be connected to concepts learnt and should lead to further insight.  

Cross-cultural intelligence provides a good example. To succeed in other cultures, managers need a set of meta-capabilities combined with a mindfulness for paying careful attention to each situation and acting accordingly. It is fine to read about do’s and don’ts in other cultures, but what matters more is a fundamental understanding of cultural assumptions and values as well as a willingness to engage in continuous and deep learning. We call this lifelong learning. 

In my opinion, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) best exemplifies this. Astute and culturally aware, Amundsen defied the odds when his small team of experts became the first to set foot on the South Pole, beating out a better funded English group led by Robert Scott.  

Non-stop learning 

Amundsen had an amazing thirst for learning. He took detailed notes of everything, constantly questioned strategies and used mistakes to his advantage. He also maximized cultural learning opportunities, as evidenced by his immersion in the lives of Eskimos to better understand the local ways of living. At the time, Eskimos were viewed as primitive people in need of influence from civilized society. To counter-balance any cultural barrier and earn the their trust, Amundsen first learned the local language. Afterwards, he was able to gain insights about their technology, habits and culture. These lessons proved to be critical to Amundsen’s success during his epic jaunt to the South Pole. 

Only the best team

Amundsen formed a strong team consisting of five highly skilled individuals: an expert dog driver, two highly experienced sailors, a cook and a top skier. Each had a special role to play and Amundsen engaged his men and relied on their expertise in making decisions. Rules and

bureaucracy were minimized in order to make the most of talent. Amundsen was a big believer in the team concept. Upon arriving in the South Pole, he insisted that the entire group plant the Norwegian flag together so that each team member could equally share in the historical moment.

Cultural learning at its best 

These examples may seem straightforward at first glance, but they represent a deeplevel of cultural understanding and mindfulness. When we teach culture, one of the fundamental orientations is called “relationships among people”, which covers collectivism, hierarchy and individualism. Cultures and people may differ on these dimensions. But subconsciously these dimensions are all used for organization and problem solving.

Amundsen applied these perspectives in ways that were appropriate for the situation and the environment. Having the best individuals is worthless if there is no collective goal and sense of group belonging. But it needs to be organized so that each member is using his or her expertise so that synergy is created throughout the team. 

When the fundamental dimensions are understood, applying them as a leader in cross-cultural situations is worth significantly more than knowing simplistic behavioural rules. Why? Because, people forgive and forget simple mistakes from “foreigners”, but they appreciate and remember the willingness to engage in deep, non-judgemental learning. 

Peter Lorange, former president of IMD, Lausanne

First publication January 2008

For more information on Peter Lorange, please check: 

Povl Tiedemann

January 2011

Scientific dynamics and polito-cultural basics addressing Humbolt and Grundtvig

February 1, 2011

From University World News

More science in higher education in the islamic world
By Ameen Amjad Khan
Higher education and science and technology ministers from member countries of the Jeddah-based Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have decided unanimously to make curricula in universities of member states more science-oriented.
Full report on the University World News site

Universities in China still have problems
By Linda Yeung
A staunch advocate for higher education reform in China, Xiong Bingqi drew widespread attention in 2004 with the publication of his first book Universities Have Problems. Now China wants to build world-class universities and attract foreign faculty. But universities still have problems, particularly with party officials intervening in academic affairs, Xiong said in a frank interview.
Full report on the University World News site

Povl Tiedemann

January 2011