Innovating in Times of Crisis

BPS Community: Coping with Corona

Studierende der diesjährigen Abschlussklasse vom Berlin Part-Time MBA haben eine Reihe von BPS Community Sessions zur Bewältigung der aktuellen Krise am Arbeitsplatz initiiert.

In wöchentlichen Sessions berichten zwei bis drei Studierende kurz über ihre Erfahrungen am Arbeitsplatz und tauschen Ideen aus. Professoren der Berlin Professional School nehmen an der Diskussion teil und geben kurze Inputs.

Sie möchten gerne teilnehmen? Bitte schicken Sie eine E-Mail an Prof. Dr. Matthias Tomenendal: bps-direktor(at)

Sessions gibt es zu den folgenden Themen:

Surfing the Edge of Chaos

In many organizations, daily work follows routines and well-crafted processes. Providing stability and thus meeting long-term expectations of stakeholders is a strength of many organizations. During stable times, creativity and innovation are usually evoked in specialized departments, during slack time or in spin-offs. Crises however disrupt the common order. While big effort is then put in showing resilience, i.e. bringing the organization back to a stable path, the sudden appearance of disorder also provides opportunities for innovation in all parts of an organization.

At this point, the “edge of chaos”, which has been introduced as a concept by complexity scientists many decades ago, offers an interesting metaphor for current times. A system at the edge of chaos marks a fruitful balance between stability and flexibility where innovative developments are possible, such as product and process innovations or the creation of innovative, virtual organizations (IMB Working Paper No. 84). Hence, surfing the edge of chaos may be the sign of the current times.

Strategic Responses to Crisis

Sarah Stanske, HWR alumna, co-authored a (topical review paper ) on how companies have strategically reacted to crises over the last years. Four types of responses could be identified: retrenchment, persevering, innovation and exit. Innovation appears as an important if not unavoidable strategy for sustaining firm survival in the long run. According to the authors, crises open up opportunities for strategic renewal as they trigger a mode of reflection that allows managers and employees to “transcend the boundaries of what they believe is thinkable and feasible”. We would call it: They suddenly surf the edge of chaos.

Intrapreneurial Readiness needs Financial Understanding

From a venture capital point of view, financing innovation requires stamina. This is because innovation takes time, and on average only one out of 10 investments in new ventures will yield considerable returns. It is questionable how the Covid-19 pandemic will influence corporates, which have started promising intrapreneurial initiatives over the last years, in terms of their corporate venture capital mindset. This topic is discussed in our BPS Community online session with Prof. Dr. Sven Ripsas.

Planning and Steering in Times of Crisis

In this online session MBA students and Prof. Dr. Solveig Reißig-Thust exchanged their experiences and ideas around the topic “Planning and steering in times of crisis”. Two students reported about the challenges  their companies are facing and how their personal working situation has been affected. Solveig Reißig-Thust shared some ideas how agile and driver-oriented planning concepts can help to quickly adapt to changes and therefore increase the resilience of companies in times of crisis.