Cyril Bouquet

Professor of Strategy and Innovation

Cyril Bouquet is Professor of Strategy and Innovation. He specializes in helping organizations and executives to tackle complex challenges through innovation and creativity. An award-winning researcher and teacher, he supports organizations on significant transition journeys as they seek to create change and deliver progress for society.

Challenges he has recently taken on include helping Nestlé to achieve its carbon neutrality objectives, working with O-I Glass to define the company’s ambition and advance its sustainability agenda, rethinking the banking experience with UBS and UBP, and re-imagining the future of women’s football with UEFA and the International Olympic Committee.

I believe everybody can be creative. We have what it takes in our heads and our hearts to achieve extraordinary outcomes, but people need the right stimulus to be able to achieve their true potential. That is the motivation for my work.

At IMD Bouquet has also pioneered a “mega dive” approach, which involves working with large groups of people across an organization to ensure they become one united force capable of embracing the future together. Most recently, he has deployed this method in his work with 700 top executives at Maersk, helping the company to adapt quickly to changing environments and shifting customer demands as it evolves from being a shipping company to becoming a provider of integrated logistics solutions.

Similarly, when the French authorities announced plans to merge train operator SNCF with rail network owner RFF, Bouquet designed and delivered a pivotal meeting for the top 650 leaders aimed at helping transform the combined businesses into a new entity in which they could all take pride. The approach has been successfully implemented on a number of other IMD custom programs for individual businesses, including EDF and Stora Enso.

Bouquet also has a keen interest in technology and has supported tech companies such as Cisco, SAP, and Liberty Media. He has created a start-up and collaboration platform called Augmented Tribe which helps executive teams learn on the go and connect with experts whilst solving practical problems. And he is part of the IMD faculty team that launched the TransformTECH program in collaboration with École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to help senior leaders learn how new technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics and the internet of things are transforming the world of business. He is also Director of IMD’s Innovation in Action program.

Articles based on his research have been published in prestigious academic journals such as Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of International Business Studies, the Journal of Management, the Journal of Management Studies, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. Bouquet also serves on the editorial board of the California Management Review.

Bouquet is author of a 2021 book on innovation and creativity (ALIEN Thinking: How to Bring Your Breakthrough Ideas to Life). His 2005 book Building Global Mindsets: An Attention-Based Perspective was based on his PhD thesis, which won the Academy of International Business Richard Farmer Award for best doctoral dissertation in the field.

He joined IMD in 2008 after serving for five years as Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

Bouquet also has a keen interest in technology and has supported tech companies such as Cisco, SAP, and Liberty Media. He has created a start-up and collaboration platform called Augmented Tribe which helps executive teams learn on the go and connect with experts whilst solving practical problems. He is also part of the IMD faculty team that launched the TransformTECH program in collaboration with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to help senior leaders learn how new technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics and the internet of things (IoT) are transforming the world of business.

Articles based on his research have been published in prestigious academic journals such as Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of International Business Studies, the Journal of Management, the Journal of Management Studies, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. Bouquet also serves on the editorial board of California Management Review.

He is author of a 2021 book on innovation and creativity: ALIEN Thinking: How to Bring Your Breakthrough Ideas to Life. His 2005 book Building Global Mindsets: An Attention-Based Perspective was based on his PhD thesis, which won the Academy of International Business Richard Farmer Award for best doctoral dissertation in the field.

Bouquet joined IMD in 2008 after serving for five years as Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

Selected publications
Article
Why outside perspectives are critical for innovation breakthroughs
Innovation is widely viewed as an engine of progress — not only for driving economic growth, but also for bringing vital improvements in a variety of domains, from science and medicine to inequalit...
Published 8 February 2022
Article
Stop sabotaging your ability to innovate
Innovators can be their own worst enemies, derailed by personal traits, such as confidence and optimism, that are essential to creativity but can be toxic when taken to an extreme, and by emotions ...
Published 1 November 2021
Article
Big ideas are not enough
The difference between creativity and innovation is execution. While creativity is generating valuable and novel ideas, innovation is about successfully implementing those ideas, turning concepts i...
Published 13 May 2021
ALIEN thinking: The unconventional path to breakthrough ideas
Book
ALIEN thinking: The unconventional path to breakthrough ideas
How do people come up with truly original ideas? For the past decade, the authors of this book have studied individuals who have made leaps of creativity-inventors, scientists, doctors, entrepreneu...
Published 16 March 2021
Article
Bring your breakthrough ideas to life
Digital advances in the past two decades have enabled more people than ever before to express creative intelligence. Yet apart from the transformation of services powered by mobile apps and the int...
Published 1 November 2018
Article
Boundary spanning activities of corporate HQ executives insights from a longitudinal study
What are the boundary spanning activities undertaken by the Corporate Headquarters (HQ) executives of a Multinational Corporation? We address this question through a five-year longitudinal case stu...
Published 19 January 2017
Article
International attention and multinational enterprise performance
This study examines the performance consequences of international attention, defined as the extent to which headquarters executives in the multinational enterprise (MNE) invest time and effort in a...
Published 1 January 2009
Article
Managing power in the multinational corporation: How low-power actors gain influence
This article provides a conceptual integration and synthesis of the literature on power and influence in multinational corporations (MNCs). To provide some focus to their synthesis, the authors con...
Published 1 June 2008
Article
Weight versus voice: How foreign subsidiaries gain attention from corporate headquarters
This study investigates how foreign subsidiaries gain attention from corporate headquarters. Using detailed questionnaire and archival data on 283 subsidiaries of multinational enterprises, our ana...
Published 1 January 2008
Book
Building global mindsets: An attention-based perspective
Today's multinational enterprises are headed for trouble unless their top-level executives manage to pay the appropriate amount of 'attention' to what is happening in the farther corners of the bus...
Published 1 January 2005
Academic publications
ALIEN thinking: The unconventional path to breakthrough ideas
Book
ALIEN thinking: The unconventional path to breakthrough ideas
How do people come up with truly original ideas? For the past decade, the authors of this book have studied individuals who have made leaps of creativity-inventors, scientists, doctors, entrepreneu...
Published 16 March 2021
Article
Perspective d'analyse en négociation: L'alliance Renault-Nissan
The analysis of the negotiations concerns seven factors: the parties, the regulating, the questions, the interests, the options, the possible agreements and the links. This article shows how this p...
Published 1 December 2004
Article
How do firms manage strategic dualities?: A process perspective
In a complex business environment, firms frequently have to manage strategic dualities—pairs of imperatives that are equally important but to some degree in conflict with one another. While there i...
Published 20 May 2016
Article
Fighting the headquarters knows best syndrome
When subsidiary managers at global organizations are ignored or constrained by a parochial mindset at headquarters, the whole company can suffer. Here’s how one company set out to change that dynam...
Published 1 January 2016
Article
The perils of attention from headquarters
Operations in growing markets such as China often draw substantial attention from corporate headquarters. Unfortunately, that attention does not always add value - and can even impede performance.
Published 1 January 2015
Article
Weight versus voice: How foreign subsidiaries gain attention from corporate headquarters
This study investigates how foreign subsidiaries gain attention from corporate headquarters. Using detailed questionnaire and archival data on 283 subsidiaries of multinational enterprises, our ana...
Published 1 January 2008
Article
The trouble with being average
This article presents the findings from a study of the relationship between corporate social performance and a company’s ability to achieve profitable sales outside its domestic market. The authors...
Published 1 May 2009
Article
Managing power in the multinational corporation: How low-power actors gain influence
This article provides a conceptual integration and synthesis of the literature on power and influence in multinational corporations (MNCs). To provide some focus to their synthesis, the authors con...
Published 1 June 2008
Article
Managing executive attention in the global company
For executives running global companies, the challenge of keeping abreast of events in markets around the world is mind-boggling. The problem is not a lack of information--it is having the time and...
Published 1 January 2007
Article
International attention and multinational enterprise performance
This study examines the performance consequences of international attention, defined as the extent to which headquarters executives in the multinational enterprise (MNE) invest time and effort in a...
Published 1 January 2009
Article
How global strategies emerge: An attention perspective
Most prior research in the field of global strategy focuses on what choices executives make to build the competitive advantage of a firm, from setting up activities in different locations to coordi...
Published 1 November 2011
Article
Transnational social capital: A conceptualization and research instrument
In this study, we introduce a conceptual framework for transnational social capital as a higher order multidimensional construct. Consistent with this view, we develop and validate a 11-item scale ...
Published 1 January 2013
Article
The impact of corporate social performance on a firm's multinationality
Using panel data of 4,244 company years, we examine whether and how corporate social performance (CSP) affects a firm’s capacity to achieve profitable sales in foreign markets. Based on our extensi...
Published 1 January 2007
Article
Are you giving globalization the right amount of attention?
Too little or too much attention from head office executives can cause problems in a companys global operations. But there isn't an amount of attention that's right for every business. Here's how t...
Published 1 February 2011
Article
Boundary spanning activities of corporate HQ executives insights from a longitudinal study
What are the boundary spanning activities undertaken by the Corporate Headquarters (HQ) executives of a Multinational Corporation? We address this question through a five-year longitudinal case stu...
Published 19 January 2017
Article
The 5 myths of innovation
Historically, most managers equated innovation primarily with the development of new products and new technologies. But increasingly, innovation is seen as applying to the development of new servic...
Published 1 February 2011
Article
Natural frequencies facilitate diagnostic inferences of managers
In Bayesian inference tasks, information about base rates as well as hit rate and falsealarm rate needs to be integrated according to Bayes’ rule after the result of a diagnostic test became known....
Published 22 June 2015
Article
Foreign expansion in service industries: Separability and human capital intensity
The authors investigate the effect of operating in service industries, in which separability and human capital intensity factors influence the choice of foreign entry mode and expatriate staffing d...
Published 1 January 2004
Article
How to overcome a power deficit
Many years later, after a successful career as chairman and CEO of the biotechnology giant Amgen Inc., Kevin Sharer would look back on a period earlier in his career when he had a hard time getting...
Published 2 July 2013
Insight for Executives
The mega dive, with IMD professor Cyril Bouquet
Article
The mega dive, with IMD professor Cyril Bouquet
IMD professor Cyril Bouquet introduces his "Mega-dive" concept and how it can bring people together to build a shared vision of the future
Published 10 November 2022
Setting business priorities on the slow road to COP targets
Article
Setting business priorities on the slow road to COP targets
On 26 October, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development brought together representatives from global companies, academia, policymakers, and NGOs to discuss the priorities for business...
Published 4 November 2022
Article
Could psychedelics open new doors for science and business?
Psychedelics. Just mentioning the word triggers a wealth of opinions, stigmas, misconceptions, and judgments that are often based on loosely founded assumptions, Hollywood depictions, or stories of...
Published 3 November 2022
ALIEN thinking: Innovating our way to a net-zero future
Article
ALIEN thinking: Innovating our way to a net-zero future
How can we best accelerate our search for the new practices our planet needs to ensure its future? By adopting the habits of ALIEN thought, says Cyril Bouquet, IMD Professor of Strategy and Innovat...
Published 31 October 2022
Driving diversity into product innovation
Article
Driving diversity into product innovation
Some companies are recognizing the benefits of creating new products and services for traditionally under-served audiences. But many more would benefit from doing the same.
Published 30 September 2022
Article
디지털 시대, 충족되지 않은 니즈를 찾아라
Innovation is all about finding and filling people’s unmet needs. But even innovators and organizations renowned for their scanning capabilities often have trouble perceiving and correctly interpre...
Published 4 July 2022
Article
Identifying unmet needs in a digital age
Innovation is all about finding and filling people’s unmet needs. But even innovators and organizations renowned for their scanning capabilities often have trouble perceiving and correctly interpre...
Published 1 July 2022
Article
Dijital çağda Karşılanmamış İhtiyaçları Belirleyebilmek
Innovation is all about finding and filling people’s unmet needs. But even innovators and organizations renowned for their scanning capabilities often have trouble perceiving and correctly interpre...
Published 1 July 2022
Article
Why outside perspectives are critical for innovation breakthroughs
Innovation is widely viewed as an engine of progress — not only for driving economic growth, but also for bringing vital improvements in a variety of domains, from science and medicine to inequalit...
Published 8 February 2022
Article
Lessons from BioNTech’s unorthodox path to breakthrough solutions
The story of BioNTech, the small biotech company that delivered the first US-approved coronavirus vaccine, is already the stuff of lore. Maintaining the pace, the pioneering German group has since ...
Published 26 January 2022
Article
Stop sabotaging your ability to innovate
Innovators can be their own worst enemies, derailed by personal traits, such as confidence and optimism, that are essential to creativity but can be toxic when taken to an extreme, and by emotions ...
Published 1 November 2021
Article
How to thrive in uncertainty: Learn from the Olympics and UEFA
All organizations, no matter how big or successful, must learn to embrace continuous innovation to ride the relentless waves of disruption and changing consumer habits.
Published 15 September 2021
Article
Innovation 2.0: Experimenting to improve, not to prove
Innovators who experiment solely to validate their idea are making a dangerous mistake, and the authors point to the inventor of the Segway as a prime example. The purpose of experimentation should...
Published 1 September 2021
Article
Big ideas are not enough
The difference between creativity and innovation is execution. While creativity is generating valuable and novel ideas, innovation is about successfully implementing those ideas, turning concepts i...
Published 13 May 2021
Article
Being an expert navigator is the key to innovation success
Innovators must prepare for their journey like adventurers: studying the conditions and being prepared to respond to dynamic elements along their path
Published 19 April 2021
Article
How tech pioneer Radia Perlman overcame bias to invent a core component of the internet
Computer scientist Radia Perlman is often referred to as the “Mother of the Internet”—a title she shuns, but which has stuck due to her key role in driving the growth and development of the interne...
Published 18 March 2021
Article
Inside the rebel mind of Google’s AI pioneer
Demis Hassabis has a knack for making the miraculous look easy. In just 10 years, DeepMind, the company he co-founded in 2010 and sold to Google for a reported $600m in 2014, has created self-learn...
Published 15 March 2021
Article
‘I want a revolution, not a PowerPoint presentation’
Once a leader in its field, by the mid-2000s, the Scandinavian paper giant Stora Enso had hit a wall. With the shift from print to online publishing and the shrinking demand for paper, company lead...
Published 10 March 2021
How to change your thinking and allow radical ideas to become reality
Video
How to change your thinking and allow radical ideas to become reality
The good news is that it is possible for individuals and organizations to change their mindsets about how they approach change to foster positive innovation.
Published 26 February 2021
Article
100 years ago, Alexander Fleming revealed the key to breakthrough ideas
Today, as researchers work to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, it’s worth examining how, 100 years ago, the British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming discovered his first antibiotic, and how that breakth...
Published 5 February 2021
Article
The unconventional innovator who created Wikipedia
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of homebound schoolchildren and university students have benefited from a valuable resource that most take for granted. Today, anyone with a desktop or mobile d...
Published 12 January 2021
Article
Les promesses et les pièges de l’intelligence artificielle médicale
Les êtres humains restent indispensables pour résoudre les plus grands maux de la planète. Le Covid-19 nous en apporte la preuve. Y a-t-il un docteur Watson dans la pièce ? L’intelligence artificie...
Published 18 November 2020
Article
Innovation technologique: En quoi la crise a changé la donne
With the coronavirus and the social distancing which ensued for several weeks, everything that revolves around the virtual has experienced considerable growth. Artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D...
Published 26 June 2020
Article
Innovation : évitez de tomber dans le piège de ces 5 idées reçues
Formerly an area reserved to ​​a department with clear attributions - the development of new products -, innovation is everywhere today. However, developing a true culture of innovation in the comp...
Published 11 September 2019
Article
En matière d'innovation, ne croyez pas aux héros
Bien sûr, certaines personnes innovent là où d’autres préfèrent maintenir le cap. Après tout, les individus n’ont pas tous vocation à changer le monde. Mais quand on s’intéresse de plus près au par...
Published 15 July 2019
Article
Bring your breakthrough ideas to life
Digital advances in the past two decades have enabled more people than ever before to express creative intelligence. Yet apart from the transformation of services powered by mobile apps and the int...
Published 1 November 2018
Article
Le syndrome du singe ou la routine d'entreprise
Une expérience célebre met en scène quatre singes, un mât couronnée de bananes et des seaux d'eau froide. Une véritable leçon de management qui explique comment se perpétuent des règles dont plus p...
Published 17 September 2016
Article
Spirit of partnership can help HQs ad real value
Executives often mock the contribution of head offices to their subsidiaries. And rightly so. Head offices remain bastions of conservatism, advocating innovation everywhere but at headquarters. To ...
Published 26 April 2016
Article
Three ways global executives add value
How often do we hear people mocking the contribution of head office to their subsidiaries? Head offices remain bastions of conservatism, advocating innovation everywhere but at the corporate headqu...
Published 25 January 2016
Article
For Coca-Cola's Guy Wollaert, innovation means 'permission to experiment'
In the popular imagination, the phrase “disruptive innovation” is so closely linked with Silicon Valley that it’s tempting to think non-IT companies have stood still since the 1990s. Some people te...
Published 8 December 2015
Article
Great just isn't good enough: 5 beliefs driving Google's constant renewal in the market
As we can see, for Google, being great is not the end of things. It is a temporary reward at best that gives the company enough slack to play with ideas that might create a desirable future. This i...
Published 20 July 2015
Article
En matière d'innovation, ne croyez pas aux héros
Bien sûr, certaines personnes innovent là où d’autres préfèrent maintenir le cap. Après tout, les individus n’ont pas tous vocation à changer le monde. Mais quand on s’intéresse de plus près au par...
Published 15 July 2015
Article
Solar Impulse, un modèle pour l’innovation en entreprise
Les exploits de Solar Impulse qui a atterri le 3 juillet à Honolulu [Hawaï], ne sont pas seulement passionnants. Ils sont aussi utiles pour comprendre ce qui rend possible l’innovation en entrepris...
Published 9 July 2015
Article
The future ain't what it used to be: How Google goes about reinventing itself
Google recently surprised the tech world and beyond with its announcement of restructuring into a new holding company called Alphabet. The wonder of Google also lies in its ability, so many years a...
Published 25 June 2015
Article
Le phénomène Uber est révélateur d’une nouvelle société
Uber est aujourd’hui présent dans plus de 300 villes à travers le monde, où son application sur téléphone portable met en contact immédiat conducteurs et clients à la recherche d’un moyen de transp...
Published 18 June 2015
Article
La rénovation créatrice: Un enjeu essentiel pour la Poste
La Poste vit des temps chahutés. Des conseillers nationaux de tous bords contestent sa décision de ne plus assurer la distribution du courrier dans quelques zones rurales particulièrement isolées. ...
Published 29 January 2015
Article
Salut les terriens! Et si vous vous mettiez à penser comme Elon Musk
Et si les avions pouvaient décoller et atterrir en mode vertical? Et si l’on pouvait parcourir Los Angeles–San Francisco à bord d’une capsule pressurisée en moins de 30 minutes? Et si un jour, nous...
Published 24 September 2014
Article
Pour innover comme Nespresso, vous devez devenir musicien
Nespresso, filiale de Nestlé, est une entreprise formidable, et pas simplement à cause du fameux « What Else ? » de George Clooney. Le marché des capsules individuelles n’existait pas il y a 30 an...
Published 15 September 2014
Article
La Poste se réinvente: Chronique d'une mutation stratégique réussie
Il est loin le temps où, comme dans les films de Tati, il enjambait sa bicyclette pour distribuer lettres et paquets. Notre facteur a changé. Son métier et ses missions ont évolué. Aujourd’hui, équ...
Published 9 September 2014
Article
10 tendances pour le futur
Cet article affirme l’importance de scruter l’horizon pour comprendre les tendances qui ont un impact sur l’entreprise. Chaque année IMD publie un «Rapport des tendances mondiales (Global Trends) q...
Published 19 August 2014
Article
Pour entrevoir l'avenir, observez les transports
Le monde bouge, et les dirigeants qui n’en tiennent pas compte voient leur entreprise décliner, ainsi qu’en témoigne le cas des taxis parisiens évoqué dans ma chronique précédente Nul ne sait à qu...
Published 12 August 2014
Article
Taxis contre VTC: Un parfait exemple de résistance au changement
Dans de nombreuses villes à travers le monde, une guerre des tranchées oppose actuellement les conducteurs de taxis dit traditionnels à une nouvelle forme de concurrence incarnée par la société Ube...
Published 5 August 2014
Article
Innovation requires more than systems and tools
Innovation ain’t what it used to be. Once the responsibility of a single department with a clear mission -- new product development -- today, it is everywhere and involves not just products and ser...
Published 1 May 2013
Article
The case study: A mid-size Dutch company heads east; breaking into the Chinese market
An experiment. Mr Kill decided to create a "dual core" headquarters: Irdeto's Dutch HQ would remain for the western hemisphere, while a new one would be established in Beijing for the eastern hemis...
Published 7 October 2010
Article
For better self-management leadership
You must avoid two common extremes in reacting to events. How you respond to the world can affect how fast your company responds to an economic downturn. Decision makers often suffer from poor atte...
Published 24 June 2009
Article
Strategies to influence corporate headquarters
As a subsidiary of a large global business, how can you make sure that you are firmly on the radar screen? The author reveals some of the strategies that subsidiary executives can use to increase t...
Published 29 April 2009
Article
Attention HQ
The article presents a discussion of executives in subsidiaries of multinational corporations and the art of attention seeking. It states that how these executives get attention from headquarters w...
Published 1 November 2006
The Unconventional Path to Breakthrough Ideas