In January 2023, Frank Waeltring from Mesopartner again provided his annual seminar at the University of Leipzig in the MBA from SEPT on the topics of Innovation Economics and Territorial Economic Development. He has been doing this for 16 years now. Why are you doing this, Frank?

It is an MBA with students from very different backgrounds. This year we have 23 students from 18 countries in the class, mainly with a business background. They all have work experience and are keen to learn, ask great questions and have the potential to become future change agents in their countries. I also learn from their worldviews, their perspectives, and interpretations. It is also a good chance to sensitise the students to societal challenges and reflect with them on possible solutions. In the two modules, the focus was on ways how to promote regenerative and distributive economies and cities (in difference to degenerative ones), how to promote innovative business models that at the same time also contribute to challenging societal solutions, and how to take a system perspective that looks beyond the purely microeconomic and business understanding also including the ingredients of the supportive structure of a country or place. These perspectives get insufficient attention in traditional MBAs.

My understanding of knowledge accumulation is that it cannot happen mainly through direct knowledge transfer (lecturing, reading, content transfer) but through gaining knowledge in practising it in an explorative way. Therefore, my seminar-style approach involves many learning-by-doing and learning-by-interacting elements. It fits our ambitions in Mesopartner to transfer methodologies, concepts and tools, enabling our partners to act themselves. Sixteen years is a long time, but I am still thankful for having the chance to work with these young students. And I am also taking a lot home from this exchange.”

The photo shows a mapping on the floor exercise with the students using the systemic competitiveness framework.