Campus & Community

Top-rated European school gets Howe professor’s perspective on process innovation

<p>When a company examines its own business processes, there&rsquo;s a difference between making improvements and harnessing innovation.</p><p>That&rsquo;s the point Dr. Michael zur Muehlen made during an interview with Vlerick Business School, which has four campuses scattered across Europe.</p><p>&ldquo;Process improvement tends to be reactive,&rdquo; said zur Muehlen, associate dean for graduate education at the Howe School. &ldquo;It tends to focus &hellip;&nbsp; on the problem that I&rsquo;m facing.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;When I&rsquo;m thinking about process innovation, I&rsquo;m thinking about opportunity-driven activities ... I&rsquo;m thinking about new ways of doing business rather than improving the old ways.&rdquo;</p><p>&lt;iframe width=&quot;400&quot; height=&quot;225&quot; src=&quot;//; frameborder=&quot;0&quot; allowfullscreen&gt;&lt;/iframe&gt;</p><p>That kind of innovation, zur Muehlen said, tends to come about when a company sees an opportunity to enter a new market, or create something new that provides a competitive advantage. That might mean appraising a new technology that isn&rsquo;t commercially viable, or assessing new intellectual capital brought on board through a merger.</p><p>At Stevens, process innovation as it relates to business is a major component of thinking and instruction in the Howe School, at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Undergraduate students <a href=" the information systems major</a> study process innovation, as do graduate students <a href="">purs... degrees in information systems</a>. Of particular note on the graduate side is the business process management concentration available in the MSIS degree program.</p><p>Stevens&rsquo; programs benefit from access to industry insight into process innovation, an advantage exploited by its location minutes from New York City.</p><p>Process innovation can be both an art and a science, zur Muehlen said, explaining how and why certain steps are taken and identifying the pitfalls that trip up some organizations.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s an artful process in its content, but it&rsquo;s a scientific process in its execution,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Vlerick is one of the more prestigious universities in Europe, and has been recognized as such by The Economist and the Financial Times.&nbsp;</p>