Kars Mennens to join BISCI research team
Kars Mennens will join the Brightlands Institute for Supply Chain Innovation as of 1 September. He will help expand the new institute, build up a network of supply chain industry partners, develop training and education to prepare the next generation of SCM professionals and leaders, and work on sustainable innovations in the sector.
Mennens completed his PhD in Innovation at Maastricht University’s School with a thesis on the impact of innovation subsidies on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the southern Dutch province of Limburg. He found that these subsidies served as a catalyst for change in companies, particularly when employees are actively involved in the innovation process.
Allowing employees to give their input will strengthen the level of their engagement and encourage them to come up with new ideas and solutions themselves. This in turn will boost employee satisfaction and make them more open to new technological developments.
The benefits of collaboration
The findings of Mennens’ research, titled Enhancing SME innovation performance – Results from a multi-actor perspective, were reported in several scientific as well as societal publications, including De Limburger newspaper.
The research project was a ‘triple helix’ collaboration involving academics, the Province of Limburg and industry. This is precisely where Mennens’ strength lies: in forging partnerships between these three parties and making them all benefit from their collaboration. “I get a lot of energy from translating my research findings into practical implications for businesses and government,” he says. “This blends in well with one of BISCI’s core tasks: driving supply chain innovation in the region.”
Mennens currently works with the business to business department of communications company Vodafone Ziggo. He is happy to rejoin the world of practice-oriented academic research. “BISCI has a broad focus, ranging from logistics and operations to purchasing and marketing, and this very much appeals to me. This holistic approach allows for research into a multitude of relevant topics, such as the role of new technologies in transport and warehousing or the sustainability of logistics through chain collaboration.”
No ivory tower scientist
Professor Gaby Odekerken-Schröder, initiator of BISCI and head of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Maastricht University, is pleased to have Mennens back into the academic fold. “His main strength is conducting sound and innovative scientific research, with and for entrepreneurs, and this will be put to good use here. Kars is a hard worker, a ‘people person’ full of energy. That is exactly what we need at BISCI. He is certainly no ‘ivory tower’ scientist. He effortlessly speaks the language of entrepreneurs.”