Jean-Philippe Deschamps

Professor Emeritus of Technology and Innovation Management 

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Jean-Philippe Deschamps is Professor Emeritus of Technology and Innovation Management. He focuses his research, teaching, and consulting activities on the management and governance of innovation, on the profile and focus of innovation leaders, those senior executives who stimulate, steer, and sustain innovation.

He designed IMD’s Managing the Innovation Process program and was a key faculty member on Mastering Technology Enterprise, offered by IMD together with Polytechnic Universities of Zurich (ETA) and Lausanne (EPFL). He was also part of the faculty of the Driving Strategic Innovation program, offered jointly by IMD and MIT, and of IMD’s High Performance Board program. In addition to these open-enrolment programs, he has designed and directed a number of specific programs on product management, product strategy, and innovation management for a variety of multinational companies.

Innovation is not just a matter of creativity and disciplined teamwork. It has to start high up in the management team and even in the governance of the company. It requires a strong commitment at the very top of the company, i.e. a dedication of the management team to fostering a ‘can-do’ culture throughout the organization, and to proactively organizing and mobilizing for innovation.

Prior to joining IMD in 1996, he was a corporate vice president with consulting firm Arthur D. Little (ADL). At ADL, he occupied successively the position of European practice leader for strategy consulting, then founded and became the Chairman of the firm’s technology and innovation management practice. He has close to 40 years of hands-on management consulting and teaching experience with multinational corporations throughout Europe, the USA, and Asia, and has coached a number of successful startups. He has worked in most industrial branches.

Throughout his consulting career, he has dealt with top management teams and boards, mainly on strategic issues. He has served as advisor of several chairs and CEOs on merger and acquisition issues, top management evaluations and successions, and even a major post-bankruptcy company revival. For several years he served as external director on the board of a global Nordic $4 billion company and on the board of a highly promising, Nasdaq-quoted medical technology company. He is now focusing on the role of the board of directors in the governance of innovation and has addressed major directors’ conferences and panels around that theme, e.g., in Malaysia, Singapore, Canada and Finland.

Deschamps graduated in business management from the École des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Paris, the European Institute of Business Administration, INSEAD in Fontainebleau, and Harvard Business School. He is the author of numerous cases, articles, and book chapters, and co-authored Product Juggernauts: How Companies Mobilize to Generate a Stream of Market Winners, which has been translated in six languages and has long featured in the best-selling list of the Harvard Business School Press.

His books include Innovation Leaders: How Senior Executives Stimulate, Steer and Sustain Innovation and the 2014 title Innovation Governance: How Top Management Organizes and Mobilizes for Innovation.

He has given conferences and lectures throughout the world, including twice in front of heads of states and entire governments, as well as at the 2010 Millennium Prize in Helsinki. He was a regular speaker at Management Centre Europe in Brussels and was invited three times as a speaker and faculty facilitator at workshops organized by the International Association of Product Development (IAPD) in the US, and twice as a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Academic publications
Article
Different leadership skills for different innovation strategies
A number of researchers have raised the question, "is there a specific and distinctive form of leadership for innovation?". However, innovation comes in many different varieties - new product categ...
Published 1 January 2005
Insight for Executives
Article
How to best govern innovation?
Managing innovation effectively involves mastering a number of processes — from idea generation to project management and commercialisation — across functions, disciplines or even companies. It req...
Published 5 November 2012
Article
Governing innovation in practice: The role of top management
What role does the C-Suite have in exercising the company’s innovation governance responsibilities? In this article, the last in a series of five, professor Jean-Philippe Deschamps, defines six dom...
Published 3 September 2012
Article
Governing innovation in practice: The role of the board of directors
Board members have reasons to shy away from most innovation issues — barring those with a considerable investment or risk profile. First and foremost, board meetings are limited in number and durat...
Published 9 July 2012
Article
What is innovation governance?: Definition and scope
Certainly, innovation consists of several cross-functional processes from generating ideas to taking technologies to market, but there is more to it. It deals with “hard” business issues like growt...
Published 12 March 2012
Article
How to make a packet
Firm chains of adoption and leadership ensured that Tetra Pak's new carton technology made it from drawing board to shopping aisle.
Published 1 February 2005
Article
Aligning technology beliefs and values: The starting-point of a technology vision
A decade ago, no job applicant with a freshly-minted MBA would have dared ask the interviewer to outline his/her company's vision. Nor would he/she have tried to probe the rationale behind the comp...
Published 1 January 2001
Article
The emerging leadership role of the chief technology (or chief research) officer
Hardly any article mentions the name of the men and women who, behind the CEO, make or strongly influence the important technology choices on which the companies bet their future, i.e.: the Chief T...
Published 1 January 2000
Article
What's new in innovation?
We normally think of innovation as a creative, "fuzzy" process that is unpredictable and difficult to manage - the doyens of Silicon Valley are typical. But this "bottom up" conceptualisation, wher...
Published 1 January 1998