Are You Ready To Innovate?

Are You Ready To Innovate?

ions have always been held by teachers from our industry’s own University of the Aftermarket or the INCAE Business School. The INCAE Business School is widely recognized as Latin America’s leading MBA business program, with campuses in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Finding its famed roots all the way back to JFK and the Harvard Business School, their programs have generated some of the leading business minds in the region. This year’s training session in Panama was presented by one of their finest professors, Juan Carlos Barahona PhD. Barahona is an MIT graduate who teaches technology and innovation at INCAE.

How about that — a professor of technology and innovation! His presentation was superb, focusing on the need for businesses to innovate. His MBA classes teach business professionals how to use digital technologies and social networks to promote the dissemination of ideas and behavior modification to change corporate structures to innovate. This is so important for all of us in the auto parts world; as we’ve said before in this column many times already, be ready to innovate or step aside, because your competitors will.

The need to innovate has clearly become a required core competency in our times. The desire to learn how to innovate is out there; a quick search of shows that they carry more than 11,200 books with the word “innovation” in the title, just under their business section for books.

Pro. Barahona went on to share some revealing statistics on the cost of not innovating. Based on a 2001 study by Foster & Kaplan aptly named “Creative Destruction,” analyzing the Forbes 100 business list from 1917 to 1987 reveals that:

•60 percent of the original businesses no longer exist.
•Only 18 percent remain in the Top 100 Forbes list.
•All new entrants into this select group displaced an existing business based on an innovative core competency their competitors lacked.

Barahona further challenges us to have the audacity and discipline to continuously reinvent ourselves and be a protagonist of the major leap undertaken by our species in this new technological world-order.

So the question is clear: are you ready to innovate?

Mandy Aguilar is a regional vice president for Jacksonville, Fla.-based The Parts House. Visit his blog at

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