Georges Haour

Professor Emeritus of Technology and Innovation Management

Georges Haour is Professor Emeritus of Technology and Innovation Management. He specializes in management of innovation and technology commercialization. In the UK, he was associated with the Cambridge-based incubator-innovator Generics (now Sagentia) and helped launch the Ipswich-based BT incubator Brightstar. He frequently acts as an adviser to firms/organizations on effective R&D and innovation management as well as technology commercialization for growth and job creation and innovation in China. An in-demand public speaker, he frequently delivers keynotes at conferences.

He regularly travels to China, Japan, and Singapore, and has a special interest in China’s vibrant innovation scene, where the activity on mobile internet compelled him to engage in projects on the digital revolution. One project, 5G Pagoda, includes Japanese companies such as Hitachi, NEC, and KDDI alongside European ones. Another project, Digital Agora, deals with e-health, bridging Switzerland and Shanghai.

Innovation is an all-pervasive notion in our times. What we need is effective and responsible innovations. Furthermore, although technical innovation is indeed a powerful enabler in creating value, we desperately need non-technical, conceptual innovations in order to implement systemic change in dealing with the substantial issues faced by the world.

Born and raised in Lyon, France, Haour graduated from Paris’ higher engineering school ENSCP-Paristech. He has a Master of Sciences (New York) and a PhD in chemistry and materials science from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Prior to joining IMD, he spent nine years leading a business unit in Battelle, Geneva, carrying out innovation projects funded by multinational companies, many of which were in Asia. He hired professionals from six countries and significantly grew his unit’s sales above €4 million per year. Several of his eight patents, licensed to firms, resulted in new business for the client companies.

Earlier, he was a researcher at ATT’s Bell Laboratories, in Murray Hill, New Jersey. In Toronto, he worked with Marshall McLuhan – known for phrases such as “the Gutenberg galaxy”, “understanding media”, and “the global village” – at his Centre for Culture and Technology.

Author of more than 100 publications, Haour has written several books on creating new activities and jobs through effective innovation, including Resolving the Innovation Paradox: Enhancing Growth in Technology Companies (2004), and From Science to Business: How Firms Create Value by Partnering with Universities (2011) which focuses on the difficult process of effectively transferring knowledge and technology to firms.

His book Created in China: How China is Becoming a Global Innovator (2016) argues that China, the world’s manufacturing powerhouse, is diligently shifting to higher value activities. Documenting this momentous transition, the book concludes that, barring major mishaps, China will be one of the world’s major sources of innovations within 10 years or so, particularly in the area of the digital internet, where it is already a leader. The Chinese version of the book was published in 2017.

In 1989, Haour founded the annual International Forum for Technology Management (IFRM), which is held in cities such as Paris, Istanbul, Kyoto, and Shanghai (at Tongji University). For years, he was on the jury of the Innovation Award of The Economist. In Basel, in 2006, with Dr. Fritz BĂĽhler, formerly with Roche, he founded the ECLE executive course for managers from the healthcare sector. He is on the board of several organizations, including three startups and an investment fund.

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