April 15th, 2019
Shared interview: Margarita Heredia, Business Liaison Manager at IESDE School of Management, and Eduardo Nava, Information Technology Manager at Volskwagen Mexico
After last year’s success, the LEAD program coordinators at IESDE School of Management in Puebla, Mexico, decided to organise a new visit to the Basque Country with this year’s participants. A number of managers, owners and partners of companies in the Puebla region had the opportunity to learn about the so-called Basque Case in their practice, thanks to this study trip organised jointly by Orkestra and E-nnovating LAB (Think Tank platform of ideas, strategy, competitiveness and regional development led by Jon Azua). We talked with Margarita Heredia , Business Liaison Manager at IESDE School of Management, and Eduardo Nava, Information Technology Manager at Volskwagen Mexico
Why did you decide to repeat the visit to the Basque Country?
Margarita: for two reasons. The first because you are an example of what you are doing in the area innovation and for the effort they have made. Precisely what we wanted in this trip was to focus on innovation and strategy issues. And the second reason is that it really shows aspects we hardly see in Mexico. We believe it is a good combination to know what we can find beyond our borders.
Had you studied the case of the Basque Country before coming here? If so, what expectations did you have?
Eduardo: yes. I studied it. They sent us the case from IESDE. And we also went to a previous session before coming here where we could somehow reflect on what the strengths of the Basque Country were; how they have developed in recent decades as well as their background. My expectations were placed on being able to see if what was written in the document is really what is experienced here. And, as a matter of fact, my expectations were fulfilled; that is, there is nothing in that case that can not be observed in reality. From my own perspective, in my environment, it is very difficult to imagine how, in practice, organisations, the cluster, cooperatives ... can operate as successfully as described in the case. I think we have all been with our eyes wide open, our ears also wide open, listening to the words of people who work and collaborate in these cooperatives. And somehow they all transmit that sense of belonging, of internal collaboration and cooperation with other companies. It is not just a paper, it is a reality that is experienced here
What have you done during these four days?
Margarita: The programme has been intense. There have been sessions here in Orkestra, or visits to companies to know precisely what is being done in the Basque Country. And we have also had opportunity to get to know the culture, the most representative places ... But, of course, the aim has been, as Eduardo says, to know first-hand what is happening here in the Basque Country, in companies, and virtually in cooperatives and communities.
Have there been any visits that have particularly caught your attention?
Margarita: I liked IDEKO, because of the way they approach innovation and how they bring it to market. Why did I like it? Because I believe that it is a subject we all should have in mind: how seriously they are taking this innovation process; the opportunity to see what is happening outside, in other countries, and see what is happening inside; and apply it to the companies with which they have a relationship and discard those that cannot make it a reality and bring it to the market. That was what I liked the most.
Eduardo: I find it difficult to say what I liked best. But from a cultural point of view, it was a privilege to have the opportunity to talk with Ignacio Bidarte, who shared with us the process they had before the opening of the museum and its great success, which has been the history of the museum. I also liked the part related to IDEKO innovation. And then I liked the visit to a factory, because there I could also see beyond a clinical environment like, for example, a space for innovation; see a productive area in real life, an assembly line, workers, something that is not different from other industrialised countries. The truth is that, in this regard, I was positively impressed by the Basque Country.
What do you take from the course? What would be the main learning?
Margarita: In my case, the application of clusters; see another business model, cooperatives, but seen from the point of view of the Basque Country. In Mexico we have cooperatives, but they are totally different. In this sense, knowing what has led them to success, as Eduardo said, says a lot about collaboration, values, shared value and, above all, this willingness to be better every day.
Eduardo: What I am taking is a challenge, specifically, trying to implement some of the practices I have seen here in my company. I have the privilege of working in a leading company in Puebla and I believe that my challenge is to see beyond our walls; how we can take everything we develop to society and to the rest companies. And, why not, even collaborate more with competitors, which we hardly do today.