Articles - Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Social Business

Empowering managers to reinvent business models

For Laurence Lehmann-Ortega innovation starts with asking questions. As a specialist in business model innovation, she encourages participants in HEC Paris programs to approach innovation as an adventure that is fueled by asking the right questions.


Developing creative and critical business leaders

Professor Lehmann-Ortega researched strategic innovation while obtaining her Ph.D in Business Administration and teaching at Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier (Montpellier Business School) before joining the HEC Paris faculty in 2009. She actually earned her Master’s from HEC Paris in 1993 so in many ways this was a return to her roots. Today, she teaches strategy in the Master’s and Executive Education programs, while also serving as the course leader at the Executive MBA and the academic director of several Executive Education custom programs.

In the classroom, Professor Lehmann-Ortega stresses the importance of creativity and critical thinking. Her motto: “I’m not here to give solutions. I’m here to teach participants to ask the right questions so they can come up with the solutions themselves.” Through what she calls “structured brainstorming,” Professor Lehmann-Ortega encourages managers in the Executive Education program to combine innovation and strategy to invent new business models for a changing world. Along with two other colleagues, she developed Odyssey 3.14, an approach that forms the basis of the three-day “ Strategic Innovation” program delivered at HEC Paris. “For us, innovation is not a linear process, it’s an adventure.” Inspired by crowdsourcing, she works with students to maintain a database of innovative business models from around the world.


Building a community of learners

For Professor Lehmann-Ortega, a third industrial revolution is currently transforming business models and learning models alike. “This revolution not only impacts what we teach, but also how we teach,” she observes. With the rapid pace of change in the business world, Professor Lehmann-Ortega feels that effective education is not just a question of passing on knowledge, but a means of enabling students and executives to find answers on their own.

Professor Lehmann-Ortega wants participants to remember that they also have a lot to teach each other and to take advantage of the highly diverse cultural and professional backgrounds at HEC Paris. Her main objective is to inspire participants to develop an appetite for learning that continues outside the classroom.


My role is to help students develop a new way of seeing the world so that they continue to ask the right questions, find new solutions and create change.”
– Professor Laurence Lhemann-Ortega, HEC Paris Affiliate Professor