Redlands Business & Society Blog

News and Views from the University of Redlands School of Business & Society

Why Innovation and Technology are Key to Business Success

The ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities is a key source of competitive advantage. Effective business leaders—both those who launch their own enterprises and those who lead established brands—know that cultivating an innovation mindset and harnessing the power of technology are skills that are crucial to maximizing every opportunity as it arises. Given both skillsets, leaders can identify opportunities, establish a vision to seize them, take risks to achieve that vision, and drive efficient and secure operations.

Innovation and technology complement each other. Business leaders with innovative mindsets can recognize opportunities where others do not. They excel at thinking at higher levels of complexity and are lifelong learners who continually challenge assumptions. Similarly, business leaders who understand how technology affects how business is done and how to leverage technological advancements have the power to innovate. They can bring new services and products to market, deliver better customer service, and discover new business opportunities.

“The acceleration of technology gets faster and faster,” says Johannes Moenius, professor and William R. and S. Sue Johnson Endowed Chair of Spatial Economic Analysis and Regional Planning at the University of Redlands School of Business & Society. “It’s becoming a core competence for students to understand what technology management and leadership look like, to understand the connection between technology and innovation, and how to successfully implement both.”

Our Innovation & Technology Pillar

“Change is the new constant,” says Xin Zhao, professor of business at the Redlands School of Business & Society. “Given how fast change happens in the marketplace, businesses have to constantly make adjustments and innovate to stand out from the competition. That’s why it’s important for us to teach our students how to incorporate innovation and technology.”

The Redlands School of Business & Society curriculum encourages imaginative and business-oriented individuals and imbues them with the technology skills that help them lead innovative, technology-driven workplaces.

“We focus on delivering 21st-century business skills to our students,” says Zhao. “That includes training in innovative thinking, analytical decision-making, collaborative leadership, and the application of technology as a means to problem-solving,” says Zhao.

Students come to the Redlands School of Business & Society with personal passions—from wanting to create a new niche or serve an untapped market to tackling problems like systemic poverty or geographic food insecurity. They see earning their degrees as a pathway to solving the challenges they are passionate about. We see our responsibility as providing the environment where they can gain confidence in analyzing problems, proposing novel solutions, and growing their technical competence. By aligning innovation with technology, we help them develop the skills necessary to collaborate with others to effectively actualize those solutions.

“It is our job as educators to make sure that students are aware of technological change, how it happens, how technology management differs from other kinds of decision-making processes, and what that means for their businesses,” says Moenius.

Preparing 21-st Century Business Leaders

All programs of study, from the certificate and bachelor’s degree program to three master’s degree options, include a focus on innovation and technology.

  • The Business Location Analytics Certificate program delivers valuable skills in location analytics, spatial business, and geographic information systems (GISs) and enhances students’ business decision-making skills. Those earning the certificate gain valuable skill in mapping demographic trends and visual storytelling.
  • The Bachelor of Science in Business program includes instruction on business information systems and how to communicate effectively in a systems development environment. Students also learn how to apply GIS and spatial analysis to solve business challenges and how to determine the value of and appropriate investment in GIS strategies.
  • Three Master’s Degree programs prepare students for business leadership in technology-driven organizations that value innovative thinking. The Master of Business Administration includes a focus on analytics and data-driven decision making and information and knowledge management. The Master of Science in Business Analytics includes a focus on information, statistics, big data, predictive and prescriptive analysis, and emerging technologies. The Master of Science in Organizational Leadership integrates business analytics with organizational effectiveness and talent management.

In addition, through their research and practice, faculty engage in innovation and outreach ranging from technology-based innovations (especially in spatial analysis), start-up innovations (especially related to sustainability), and regional entrepreneurial centers. We are also examining options for a future Business Innovation Lab to help support these activities. 

Redlands School of Business & Society capstone projects also offer students opportunities to deepen their innovation and technology skills. Students can tackle capstones in a very personal way to help them meld their passions with solving real-world problems and capitalizing on market demands. By applying the 21st-century business skills they gained in their degree programs to their capstones, students can explore the dynamics of innovation and technology and further develop their skills as agents for change.

Encouraging the Innovation and Entrepreneurial Mindset

Innovation is imperative for businesses of any kind to stay competitive. However, innovation means more than just coming up with novel ideas for monetization. It requires doers, dreamers, and trailblazers who have the ability to influence organizations in ways that nurture cultures of innovation throughout their enterprises. From analytical thinking and problem solving to creativity and communication, the School of Business & Society’s curriculum is designed to help develop the innovators and entrepreneurs who are ready for the future of work. Learn more about the University of Redlands School of Business & Society and how we are developing tomorrow’s business leaders who will make lasting and positive impacts on business and society.