The 20th international Baltic Management Development Association’s (BMDA) Conference, uniting the world’s leaders of business, academia, and politics, has taken place in Kaunas. Organized by the Kaunas University of Technology School of Economics and Business in collaboration with the Industry 4.0 Impact on Management and Economics (IN4ACT) project, Conference addressed key emerging challenges in three distinct domains: business, policymaking, and education.
On the 6-7 of October 90 business, academic and political leaders from the United States of America, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, France, United Kingdom, Finland, and the Netherlands has gathered in Kaunas, at the premises of Santaka Valley. Here the international BMDA Conference, organized for the 20th time and this year titled “From Digitalization to Value Creation: Implications for Business and Education”, took place.
“For twenty years in a row, the BMDA has been organizing annual conferences, during which members of the association, as well as scientists and researchers in the field of management, leaders of business organizations, rectors, deans, heads of study programs of business schools and universities and world-renowned management experts, gather to share their insights and learn from each other. We are glad that the anniversary conference attracted the attention of so many prominent leaders who were keen to share their insights on the topics that are relevant to each of us today”, says Dr. Virginijus Kundrotas, the Honorary President of BMDA.
A lot of attention during the event was dedicated to the importance of communication between business, political, and academic leaders. Edita Gimžauskienė, the President of BMDA and the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management at KTU noted that the challenges which need to address today are complex in nature, requiring interdisciplinary knowledge and soft skills. The most important thing to solve them is to find confidence and the ability to talk to different stakeholders, representing different professions, having different educations, representing different disciplines.
“Interdisciplinarity also requires a different approach to how we construct organizational structures that enable or limit the ability to effectively address emerging challenges. Many business organizations have function-based structures, and governments are organized this way. And all of them implement their own policies, which do not necessarily lead to a systemic solution to the problem”, says Edita Gimžauskienė.
The first day of the conference focused on critical issues related to business and policymaking challenges for digitalization and value creation. Distinguished international and Lithuanian keynote speakers and panelists presented and discussed critical issues affecting business performance and the role of policy.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to the analysis of the main implications of the key issues outlined above for education, specifically curriculum and educational program design for the development of skills appropriate for, and commensurate with, the emerging challenges for business organizations, policymaking institutions, and sustainable economic and social development. Distinguished international and Lithuanian keynote speakers, scholars and accreditation specialists presented and discussed key challenges related to digitalization and value creation faced by educational institutions. According to E. Gimžauskienė, questions emerging in this field will probably start to be resolved when academics start creating study programs based on competencies, not on disciplines.
A lot of relevant topics were discussed during this intense weekend, however, there is one core message that captures and distills the different thematic streams of the conference. Prof. dr. Panagiotis Damaskopoulos, the chairman of the BMDA and the chairholder of the “In4Act” project, underlined, that value creation in its broad sense and sustainability is not only about technology, but about people’s capabilities, skills, and social qualities as they are about management talent that is sensitive to the leading challenges of our time.
As in previous years, the topics of the BMDA Conference were discussed from two different perspectives. First, the business perspective was brought out, allowing to look at digitization from three different levels: through the prism of analyzing geo-economic and geo-political changes and their implications for management and sustainable economic development, as well as through the responses of the financial sector and relevant government policy-making bodies to the post-pandemic period and the aforementioned geo-economic and the context of geopolitical transformations. Finally, the real examples of companies were analyzed. Among them were such well-known organizations as “Littelfuse”, “Peikko Lietuva”, “Hitachi Vantara”, “Havi”, “Hella Lithuania”.
From the perspective of educational institutions, the topics of the conference were analyzed through sustainability strategies and the development of the necessary skills. Also, emerging challenges in creating learning plans through programs, so that students acquire the necessary competencies and abilities in the market, were discussed.
The heads of higher education institutions were also invited to participate in a strategic session, where together with the heads of the leading international associations that grant accreditation (EFMD, AACSB, The Association of MBAs, and the deputy director of the study quality assessment center Aurelija Valeikiene), discussed the possibilities of improving the quality of higher education.
Held annually since 2002, the yearly conference is the largest annual event at the BMDA, bringing together hundreds of deans, rectors, university program managers, business leaders, public figures, and other professionals from around the world. As usual, the upcoming conference is planned to take place next year.