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At annual event, Stevens focuses on need to ‘out-innovate the rest of the world'

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Stevens Institute of Technology held its fourth annual Research and Entrepreneurship Day in Hoboken on Friday with a focus on innovating business models.

Stevens’ incoming president, Nariman Farvardin, opened the day with his views on the importance of the school’s efforts to support and enhance research — especially since science and technology represent only 4 percent of the work force, but the industry accounts for more than half of the country’s gross domestic product growth.

The first keynote speaker of the day, Vijay Govindarajan, discussed business model innovation and how companies can address constant change in the markets around them. According to the Dartmouth College professor of international business, part of the way a company can move forward is by selectively forgetting the past when it’s no longer valid or efficient because of competition.

“The future is now,” he said. “The future is not what you do in the future.”

Mark Johnson, chairman of Watertown, Mass.-based Innosight, said in the second keynote speech that companies need to start with customers and help serve their unmet needs. In order to achieve transformation growth, businesses have to also serve new customers and create new markets

According to Farvardin, good business innovations are necessary to ensure that future generations in the United States enjoy the same standards of life that their parents did.

“In order for our country to continue to prosper, I think we have no choice but to continue to outcompete the rest of the world,” Farvardin said. “To outcompete the rest of the world, we have no choice but to out-innovate the rest of the world.”

E-mail Laura Joszt at ljoszt@njbiz.com

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