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Competing in turbulent environments - lessons from Formula 1

A panel of academics, journalists and senior industry representatives came together at Cass Business School in February to discuss what Formula 1 can teach other industries about competing, innovation and success.

Author(s): Dr Paolo Aversa - Cass Business School;

What can managers and business students learn from a hyper-competitive environment such as Formula One? This was the question posed to a panel of academics, journalists and members from the F1 industry at the event “Competing in turbulent environments: lessons from Formula One” on Thursday 4th February at Cass Business School.

Formula 1 represents the cutting edge of the automotive industry, and its fast and fierce competitive environment is the perfect setting to derive managerial policies for other hyper-competitive industries. Understanding how racing can provide timely lessons not only to people working in motorsport, but also to managers and business students engaged in other fields, can be instructive.

To a packed audience, the panel detailed many of the great attributes of the F1 business. It was agreed that there were many strengths to the business that other sectors could learn from or adopt. The great technological invention and innovation were cited, as was the speed with which F1 teams can learn new skills or adapt to new challenges. Such is the level of technical excellence within Formula 1 that it was posited that the industry could "save the world" if it publicised its developments. Even the teams that don't succeed demonstrate exceptional talent. Successful F1 managers, it was said, have nearly all failed in the past, but the mindset within the sport is to try again and again until success is achieved, and at the sharp end of the business it is the managers that make the difference. A video of the event is available to view below.

The Speakers at the event were:

  • Dr Paolo Aversa (Event Chair), Lecturer in Strategy, Cass Business School, City Univ. London
  • Kevin Eason, The Times F1 Correspondent
  • Prof. Mark Jenkins, Professor of Business Strategy, School Of Management, Cranfield Univ.
  • Piergiorgio Grossi, Former Head of IT, Ferrari F1; VP Innovation Iconsulting & Director at Better Decisions
  • Graeme Lowdon, Former Chief Executive Officer, Manor Marussia F1 / Virgin Racing
  • Joe Saward, F1 Journalist and Blogger
  • Otello Valenti, HR and Legal Director at Scuderia Toro Rosso F1

It was also announced at the event that Cass Business School and Scuderia Toro Rosso will be running a new Executive Education Open Programme, entitled "Leading in Fast and Turbulent Environments", that builds on all the research into Formula 1 that Dr. Aversa and CENTIVE have produced. Please email execed@city.ac.uk to learn more about this programme.

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