Menno van Dijk

I was born in the Netherlands to a father who worked at Philips in innovation (he still has patents on the CD player!) and a mother who taught me the value of education. I studied Physics in State University Leiden and later got my MBA at INSEAD.

From there I went to McKinsey & Company, where I spent more than 20 years—most recently as a tenured Director. I lived abroad in Australia and then in South Africa, when McKinsey opened an office after the end of apartheid. I worked with clients in sectors ranging from mining to technology to media, and in countries such as India, China, Australia, South Africa, and throughout Europe and the United States. My area of expertise was business strategy, innovation and growth. I had the opportunity to launch McKinsey’s first business in a joint venture with Nielsen. And I was a board member of New Venture, NEMO, and other organizations in the space of social impact, entrepreneurship, innovation, and learning.

For me, at THNK, the opportunity to interact with a high-caliber of creative thinkers and support their entrepreneurial adventures makes every day an inspiration. The quality, diversity and dedication of the THNK team is a real privilege. Together, we will grow THNK to a global community of creative leaders that collaborate to solve large social challenges, and partner with organizations across many sectors to turn those solutions into sustainable and high-impact enterprises.

All articles by Menno van Dijk:

  • consumer-research-and-customer-delight

    Customer Research and Consumer Delight

    Jan 27, 2016 | In: Creative Leadership

    Unmet consumer needs are considered the holy grail of product and service innovation: a mystical, sacred entity with unlimited value and powers for those that know how to tap into it. It would seem that with present day digitalization and social media, it is easier to connect to users everywhere through online surveys, platforms, and data mining technology. Moving from a mass-producing economy to one based on individually tailored products suggests that the gap between consumer needs and producer response are closely aligned. Yet the mystique surrounding unmet user needs remains.

  • getting-innovation-to-scale-waves

    Getting Innovation to Scale – Waves (part 3 of 3)

    Jan 20, 2016 | In: Creative Leadership

    Through scaling, smart movers can quickly build substantial market shares – or define entirely new markets. To help innovation leaders understand scaling we have divided it into three main areas: Emergence, Networks, and Waves. This article is on Waves, the third and last in a series of three.

  • getting-innovation-to-scale-networks

    Getting Innovation to Scale – Networks (part 2 of 3)

    Jan 13, 2016 | In: Creative Leadership, Strategies

    Through scaling, smart movers can quickly build substantial market shares – or define entirely new markets. To help understand scaling we have divided it into three main areas: Emergence, Networks, and Waves. This article is on Networks, the second in a series of three.

  • Flock-of-Starlings

    Getting Innovation to Scale – Emergence (part 1 of 3)

    Jan 06, 2016 | In: Creative Leadership

    Through scaling, smart movers can quickly build substantial market shares – or define entirely new markets. To help understand scaling we have divided it into three main areas: Emergence, Networks and Waves. This article is on Emergence, the first in a series of three.

  • learning-by-doing-and-storytelling

    Learning by Doing and Storytelling

    Dec 16, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership

    We are taught to think that all great minds think alike. While this may have worked during pre-twenty first century industrial times, this is no longer the case today. We need creative and diverse minds that can navigate through the chaos, uncertainty, and adventure of our present-day society —each individual contributing in their own unique way.

  • business-model-commitment-experimentation

    Business Model Commitment and Experimentation

    Nov 18, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership, Life Cycle Processes

    Successful business model innovations (BMI) can disrupt entire industries and change the rules of the game. While most companies actively look to bring new products and services to the market, business model innovations are usually left to start-ups that have yet to find their ideal value proposition, customers, or overall success formula —incumbents prefer business as usual. Understandably so: expanding products or service lines is easier than changing a firm’s entire strategy and logic.

  • prototyping

    The Serious Job of Prototyping

    Nov 04, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership, Strategies

    Things have definitely gotten out of hand. Executives in suits are rummaging around in the LEGO box, a tall man is putting on a wig and speaking in a high-pitched voice, and a group has hijacked all the furniture to build what looks suspiciously like a fortress. Not a scene from an asylum, but the Prototyping phase of THNK’s Innovation Flow. It’s time to turn new ideas and visions into something tangible, a product that can be used and tested, broken up and rebuilt a dozen times. For innovation leadership, this is a crucial step in the creative process.

  • innovation-portfolio-management

    Managing Innovation Portfolio For Big Vision

    Oct 28, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership, Life Cycle Processes

    Any enterprise, both big and small, must look to innovation not just to survive, but also to thrive. Predicting which directions the market will go and the right risks to take is a challenging goal, and requires several factors to ensure that each base is covered. Among them is portfolio management, a valuable method of organizing the innovative ambitions of any company. Project-based businesses – such as IT service providers, consultancy, and research firms – turn project portfolios into an expertise; enterprises focused on market risks (e.g., film studios, recording labels, VC firms) often decide on taking one single bet, preferring to manage an entire portfolio of projects and ventures.

  • lego wall

    Creative Space and Innovation DNA

    Oct 21, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership

    When Airbnb opened its first call center in December 2014, it was featured on headlines everywhere: finally, a call center that was not a hell to work at. “Picture a call center: rows and rows of gray cubicles, everyone donning headsets, sitting at their beige desks for hours on end […] Our landing spots work a little like cubbies for kindergarteners.” To create a happy, collaborative environment, Airbnb staffers were included in the design of the workplace, translating to shared desks, couches, and lots of use of natural materials and lightning —all fun and play.

  • evaluation-and-innovation

    Evaluation and Innovation

    Sep 30, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership

    The words evaluation and innovation are not often put together in one sentence. Most companies believe that measurement has a negative effect on creativity and innovation —it is seen as a control tool that harms, rather than supports, reflection and learning. While data is seen as a valuable source of discovering new trends and user needs, it is rarely used to measure internal innovation progress and capability. Because we see measurement as stifling innovation and creativity, companies rarely track the information needed to determine creative ability and innovation success. In fact, many organizations end up ignoring the issue all together.

  • startup-leadership

    Research Reveals Success Factors of Fast-Growing Startups

    Sep 18, 2015 | In: News, Reports

    Experienced leadership, a concept designed for scalability and timing, is the most important factor influencing fast-growing startups, also known as scale-ups. Only 1 out of 200 startups become a scale-up valued over $10 million within 5 years. THNK and Deloitte conducted quantitative research to analyze the dynamics and characteristics of 400.000 startups.

  • being influenced and leveraging influence

    Being Influenced and Leveraging Influence

    Sep 09, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership

    The myth of the lonesome creative genius has long been debunked. More and more, it is becoming clear that creativity and innovation are the products of social interaction in many ways. People are inherently social beings: we learn by observing and taking in things that we see, hear, read and feel around us. Upon closer inspection, even groundbreaking innovations and outbursts of creativity publicly attributed to a single individual turn out to be the product of a long journey of contemplation, experience and above all, knowledge amassed as a result of interaction with the world.

  • expertise-and-divergence-culinary-innovation

    Deep Expertise and Divergence: Key Lessons from Culinary Innovation

    Sep 02, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership, Organization & Culture

    Chefs who work in haute cuisine, Michelin-starred restaurants boast outstanding talent and craftsmanship. Is there a link between these restaurants and budding culinary innovation? There appears to be a link as all the chefs listed in the “Most Prominent Innovators” are in the kitchen of a starred restaurant. We extract some key lessons, stretching far beyond the kitchen, and investigate the role of any social environment on nurturing creativity and innovation.

  • intuition-deliberation-for-better-decision-Making

    Intuition and Deliberation for Better Decision-Making

    Jul 30, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership, Enabling Factors

    We live in an age of change and uncertainty. For businesses, this means that only the most versatile survive —innovate or die. Simply adapting to the digital age is not enough: company survival requires explorative business strategies, to find new opportunities to improve and renew products and services. To attain explorative success you need a combination of both deliberate thinking and intuitive thinking. This article explores how you can balance the two.

  • sensing-exploring-uncharted-territory

    Sensing is Exploring Uncharted Territory

    Jul 28, 2015 | In: Creative Leadership

    Where do you start when you want something new? Whether the aim is just an improvement, a small incremental change or something more unique, disruptive and breakthrough, the start will probably determine where you end up. Do you start jotting down ideas? Do you grab a whiteboard and Post-Its, get a few people in the room, and start brainstorming?

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