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Lecture Olga Kokshagina on Innovation Management “It is important to create the right environment”

Olga Kokshagina
Lecturer, VC Research Fellow in Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Graduate School of Business and Law at RMIT University
Scientific Coordinator & Leader of Innovation Management Methods for Industry SIG at ISPIM
International ambassador at STIM
Fellow at Startup Leadership Program

You are helping companies in their innovation management structure, What are the basic three points to start as a newly established innovation team?
When you are dealing with innovation initiatives within the company, it is important to create the right environment. You need to be sure that your team is supported by the right stakeholders within the organisation. They are on board or aligned with your team’s purpose. Many innovations are challenging the status quo of the established products and can be perceived as a threat for more established and profitable business entities within the company. As a new time, you will need to find the right balance between protecting your innovative work and evangelizing it. Third, innovative projects take time and lots of effort. You need to be sure that the team has a dedicated time to work on the project and it is not just the N-thing on their list to tackle.

From your perspective, Why companies should innovate and better why companies should innovate in collaboration?
As Armand Hatchuel argues, we are now in the era of intensive innovation. This era is characterized by a high pace of knowledge renewal and broader access to knowledge. Things that could have been developed by R&D labs only now can be initiated in your garage. Innovations can come from anywhere and companies should constantly work on developing and renewing their capabilities, exploring new products and on building on great things. For theatre partnering and collaborations with people from outside of our organisation is crucial: they can bring totally new ideas, help you to reveal bottlenecks and design new futures for your industry. As Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler stated in Abundance, Evey time you open a new door, you will see more opportunities. Therefore, collaborating with people from outside of your organization is crucial: partners.

Now you are a lecturer and a VC research fellow at RMIT University in Melbourne, What is the focus for you now?
My work is related to several areas: strategic management of design, open innovation and entrepreneurship. In particular, I am interested in interdisciplinary organisations set to explore grand challenges in areas such as curing cancer, food scarcity, energy transition.

From your past research, What is the most powerful finding you had during your research time at ParisTech?
Mines ParisTech is a great school for industrial collaboration. It’s a close connection to the industry allows researchers to conduct cutting edge research with practical partners. In particular, a model of industrial chairs is advantageous for researchers. They allow building long-term research programs with industry. For instance, look at the chair of theory and methods in engineering design.

What is a day in your life look like?
I usually go jogging in the morning and then head to work. I prefer to spend some time on my emails and things that I can do quickly and then plan a big chunk of work in the morning. It is the time when I am the most productive. I prefer to leave time for meetings and discussions in the afternoon and in the evening.

How does your evenings look like?
It does happen to me to work in the evenings even if I try to avoid it. I usually read a book, meet friends or attend some events.

Books recommended by Olga Kokshagina:

If you want to know more about her Golden Rules for Living, you can read them here.