William Fischer

Emeritus Professor of Innovation Management

Mobile Menu

William A Fischer is Emeritus Professor of Innovation Management. He co-founded and co-directs the IMD program on Driving Strategic Innovation in cooperation with the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and authors a regular column for Forbes entitled The Ideas Business.

An engineer by training, American by citizenship, Fischer has lived much of his life in Asia and Europe. He held a full professorship and endowed chair on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1976-1998), first moved to China in 1980, and later became President of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai (1997-1999). In 1999, he was awarded the Magnolia Silver Award, Shanghai’s highest award for foreigners contributing to the city’s development.

He first joined IMD in 1990 and was part of the team that developed the Managerial Deep Dive process for improved innovation conversations. His most recent books include Reinventing Giants: How Chinese Global Competitor Haier has Changed the Way that Big Companies Transform (with Umberto Lago & Fang Liu), and, with Andy Boynton, The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make them Happen (2011), and Virtuoso Teams (2005). All of these books address issues of innovation, talent development, and expression in a variety of organizational settings.

Over the past few years, Fischer has also been recognized by a variety of sources for his professional presence on Twitter and as a leading innovation blogger.

Insight for Executives
A discussion on business model innovation with Bill Fischer and Alexander Osterwalder
A discussion on business model innovation with Bill Fischer and Alexander Osterwalder
IMD innovation expert Bill Fischer discusses the journey of the Business Model Canvas with its originator
Published 22 February 2019
How Chinese companies disrupt through business model innovation
Experts continue to debate whether Chinese businesses are truly disruptive. For some industries in the West, this question appears a bit ridiculous. The American textile and apparel industries, for...
Published 8 July 2016
The Haier road to growth
Start with 30 million responses on social media platforms to the question: "What do you want in air conditioning?" Then pay attention to the more than 670,000 people who take part in the online con...
Published 27 April 2015
Dealing with a hands-off boss
Having a hands-off manager can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, these bosses give employees considerable initiative and empowerment. On the other hand, they can sometimes be so removed from th...
Published 17 December 2014
Unlock employee innovation that fits with your strategy
In innovation circles, empowerment is now a familiar theme; project teams working highly autonomously have been behind many of the world’s most innovative offerings. But my work with colleagues stu...
Published 27 October 2014
Innovating the iPod
Seldom has a single technological innovation affected so many markets at once - the music industry, hardware vendors, the labour market, artists and consumers themselves. This is the story of how t...
Published 7 April 2011
Reinventando a mentalidade administrativa
Published 30 June 2009
Virtuoso teams
High-stakes projects need all-star teams. But all-stars often play by their own rules - and fight like cats and dogs.
Published 1 August 2005
Stephen King and the publishing industry's worst nightmare
Horror-writer Stephen King set out to give the publishing industry its biggest shock ever-by selling a book over the Internet at $1 a chapter. Things didn't go all King's way; not everyone paid for...
Published 1 August 2002
How Chinese global competitor Haier has changed the way big companies transform
Reinventing Giants
Disruptive Innovation

Grow your business through innovation

Apply strategic thinking to ensure innovations are implemented to maximum effect.

Location: Online Length: 5 weeks Fee: CHF 1,950 Next start: 31 October 2022
On campus
Orchestrating Winning Performance

Reset for sustainable and inclusive growth

IMD's signature program, OWP, brings you the latest business trends, thought leadership and insights to revitalize your business, drive innovation and lead you forward. Fully customizable schedule. For executives and teams.

Location: Lausanne Length: 5 days Fee: CHF 10,900 Next start: 26 June 2023
On campus
Driving Strategic Innovation

Achieving high performance throughout the value chain

Changes the way business leaders think about innovation and technology strategy, and provides a comprehensive roadmap for achieving breakthrough performance across the value chain.

Location: Lausanne Length: 6 days Fee: CHF 11,500 Next start: 19 March 2023