Our aim in the following BSIS Impact Series is to showcase the distinctiveness and diversity of business schools who went through the BSIS process, and who will share with you the initiatives they developed, each linked to one of the BSIS impact dimensions.
The strategic plan of HEC Liège outlines two transversal objectives to the three traditional missions (Education – Research – Citizenship/Service): internationalisation and societal transformation.
Societal transformation is understood as having three axes: digital, entrepreneurial and responsible, ethical and sustainable transformation. Each of these three aspects are represented by three specific platforms in charge of the development and the promotion of these axes: the Digital Lab, the VentureLab and the brand new “S-Lab” (our Lab for sustainable transition). They transversally gather academic, researchers and any staff interested in the thematic.
The execution of our strategic plan regarding this particular axe has guided our recruitment policy in recent years. These have led to an evolution of our intellectual production.
These three axes have also been more thoroughly promoted and implemented within our teaching and research activities. The Annual Research Report contains a special section highlighting them. KPIs have been defined.
The Research Board (PRISME) has reviewed the denominations of the research fields to integrate these strong strategic orientations. They should enable clear external communication to the outside world, with a view to seeking partnerships and attracting candidates for future recruitments whose areas of expertise are more in line with our strategy and our objective to increase collaborations between our fields.
Actions undertaken in the field of societal transformation allow us to improve both our impact and its measurement (through specific KPI’s) for the ‘Societal Impact’ dimension. As our three missions are concerned, these actions also reinforce the dimensions ‘Intellectual Impact‘ and ‘Impact within the Regional Ecosystem‘ by training students capable of responding to the challenges of the transition towards a more sustainable society but also by supporting the development of companies and organizations with concrete tools and intellectual productions.
Smart City Institute Projects
The Smart City Institute is an academic institute dedicated to the theme ‘Smart Cities’ based on an original partnership between our University (ULiège) and its Management School (HEC Liège), private companies and the Walloon Region and Digital Wallonia. Its mission is to participate in the development of sustainable and smart cities by training the managers of tomorrow, by developing research, entrepreneurship and innovation, but also by enabling the creation of sustainable value between the different actors of smart ecosystems via their networking. In concrete terms, its actions plan consists on publishing research reports or practical tools and organizing conferences, seminars and training.
Some outstanding achievements may be highlighted in terms of impact on our regional ecosystem.
Firstly, since 2017, the Smart City Institute has been drawing up an annual Barometer on smart cities, based on a large quantitative survey of Belgian municipalities. It provides cities with a reliable quantitative inventory of the Smart Cities’ dynamic and with relevant information to define their strategies.
Recently, the results of these studies have also been refined in order to develop a Walloon version of the report to better take into account the local specificities of cities.
The first two editions addressed global aspects and highlighted the way in which the Belgian/Walloon municipalities perceive the Smart City concept. Since 2019, barometers focus additionally in greater depth on a specific theme. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the focus was mainly on the digital aspects.
The first Belgian Smart Cities Barometer in 2017 measured, for the first time, the trend in Belgium. The findings of the Barometer have highlighted a definite need for guidance within our municipalities. This is what prompted the Smart City Institute, with the support and expertise of its partners, to write an annual Practical Guide for Belgian cities and municipalities. The theme of the 2020 volume is ‘Tomorrow’s mobility, the challenges for our regions.’
Furthermore, in line with its Practical Guides, a new contribution has been added to its ‘Smart City’ toolkit for local players: The Smart Project Management Model (SPMM). This publication aims to provide a monitoring methodology and thereby, to help stakeholders manage their projects in a more sustainable and inclusive way while having a global vision of their progress and the key steps to be taken.
Finally, to end well 2020, the SCI organizes the Smart Inspiration Days. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the 3rd Edition has been organized with a brand-new format: a series of conferences, workshops and round tables 100% online from November 17 to December 10, 2020, and closer to the realities of our territories.
The benefits of BSIS
Part of its strategy, the school has worked towards reinforcing its engagement with the corporate world and the public institutions and in particular with the economic development poles of its region.
Examining its impact on its environment and analyzing its different actions through a multidimensional prism within the framework of the BSIS process has a threefold concrete interest.
First of all, this enables us to strengthen our links with our local and regional partners by showing concrete results and benefits of the actions undertaken, but also to be able to provide strong arguments in the search for and realisation of new partnerships within our ecosystem with both the private and public sectors.
Secondly, thanks to the report produced at the end of the BSIS process, we can better promote our image and actions within our institution, the University of Liège, but also within our local and regional ecosystem. As a concert example, the School is now represented in the Group of Economic Redeployment of Liège (GRE-Liège) as an actor of economic development.
Lastly, the BSIS international network membership, the analysis of the actions undertaken and their concrete impact on our environment carried out as part of the BSIS process benefit from broad visibility. It has even provided us with the opportunity to organise an international BSIS symposium last year, putting Liège, its University and, of course, its Management School on the map.