The Lead Creatively: Discussion Series is designed to stimulate discussions with distinguished researchers and scholars in order to disseminate to students, executives, and the larger society cutting-edge and management-relevant knowledge about creativity and leadership.
Below you may explore all past events , organized by theme.
March 2, 2022 | Do transformations really fail? by Andreas Athanassopoulos, Deputy CEO Eurobank S.A. | Group Chief Transformation Officer, Digital & Retail
Business transformation may be necessary when competition and technology undergo drastic changes, however the statistics are relentless: transformations, in their majority, do not live up to the initial expectations. Business transformation is a long-term effort to realign the strategy and operating model with the new conditions in the external environment. It affects the capital structure, organizational structure, business processes, human resources, information systems, and the culture itself.
For over 15 years, the banking industry, retail banking in particular, has been in the frontline of great disruptions: the banking crisis, consecutive regulatory interventions (capital adequacy, KYC, PSD-2), competition from fintechs and neobanks. As a result, incumbent banks are in a continuous and expensive race of transformation which accumulates operational complexity (this is especially true of systemic banks).
The obstacles and success factors of business transformation have been documented in the relevant literature for quite some time, nevertheless, given the gap between theory and practice, the challenge for creative leadership is to sustain the pace of change while securing both short-term performance and longer-term competitiveness.
March 31, 2022 | Seeding and scaling a culture of innovation by Dr Chrysanthos Dellarocas, Associate Provost for Digital Learning & Innovation at Boston University and Shipley Professor of Management at the Questrom School of Business
Chris Dellarocas is an accomplished academic with a distinguished record of published research in information systems and management. However, over the past 8 years he had been leading the innovation and digital learning efforts at Boston University, a 183-years-old organization, with more than 4,000 academics, 10,000 administrative staff, and 35,000 students. By any measure, transforming such an organization to a digital innovator is a mean feat. Dr Chrysanthos Dellarocas spoke both as a reflective leader and as an academic.
Everybody hails innovation and change as vital, yet most people would rather avoid the risks and stay in their comfort zone until others prove the feasibility and viability of a new idea in practice. This stereotype also conceals the notion of innovation as an object: a product, a process, a patent. However, in contrast to sporadic initiatives, organizations that are successful at producing innovations in a broader sense tend to embrace innovation as a mindset, an element of their culture, ingrained in their organization and way of working,
Furthermore, the phases of seeding and scaling innovation, each poses distinct challenges for leadership, depending on the broader organizational context and shared history. For example, innovation leaders tend to have limited formal authority in large conservative organizations and may find it difficult to roll out innovations at scale.
How do leaders confront the challenges of sustaining the capacity of their organizations to continuously pursue innovations in today’s volatile environment?
May 19, 2022 | "Agile Transformation: End-to-End Work Redesign for Agility | The Case of Interamerican” by Drossia Kardasi, Head of Human Resources, Interamerican, and Professor Evangelia Demerouti, Eindhoven University of Technology.
Interamerican recently implemented agile ways of working in Greece, end-to-end across the organization. Drossia Kardasi, Head of HR, presented their case study and Professor Evangelia Demerouti discussed the foundations of redesigning work for agility and the implications for leaders and employees.
In the digital economy, the limited resource is the capacity of the organization to engage with the constant stream of evolving technologies and creatively re-imagine its future. This is the essence of agility: more than sensing and reacting to changes in the environment, agility involves the capacity to sustain the creative vitality of the organization for continuous innovation that keeps the company abreast of changes in the environment.
But therein lies a paradox. On the one hand, the purpose of organizing is to bring some stability, consistency and predictability by means of discipline and routine around certain competencies that produce competitive differentiation. On the other hand, the competencies that brought success in the past may become a trap preventing the organization from evolving and adapting in a changing environment.
The agile way of organizing work seeks to resolve this paradox by bringing focus and direction to experimentation, discovery, and the constant improvement of methods and practices. However, whereas many companies adopt agile ways of working in selected, often isolated parts of the business, such as new product development, progressing to end-to-end agile is a tremendous challenge attempted by very few companies.
Based on both academic research and the first-hand experience of Interamerican, our speakers discussed values, behaviors, leadership, structure, performance management, the experience of change for individuals and the organization, the conditions for sustaining agility over time, as well as how to address the consequences of such changes on occupational health and well-being.
April 12, 2019 | Outreach and Creativity: Libraries, Archives, and Museums by Dr Maria Georgopoulou, Director of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens
Historically libraries have been repositories of knowledge, secure places for the preservation of books, manuscripts and more. How do libraries adapt to the newly available flood of information via the internet in order to remain relevant? The role of the curator is crucial in figuring out ways to showcase the material through old and new technologies. Through digitization, exhibitions, and public programs the curator can give new life to a traditional institution and provide the public with a variety of inspirational events that instill new life to the institution.
Dr Georgopoulou’s talk offered a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities involved in rejuvenating traditional organizational structures through a combination of digital technology, managerial extroversion, and curational creativity
March 22, 2019 | | "Creativity and Aesthetics: The Case of Michelin-starred Chefs” by Dr Marc Stierand, Associate Professor of Service Management & Director of the Institute of Business Creativity at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, HESSO/University ofAssociate Profe Applied Sciences Western Switzerland.
Aesthetics play a critical role in the development of new products, services, and customer or user experiences. Creative leaders rely on their aesthetic sensibility to integrate multiple and often competing imperatives into novel and compelling solutions. Drawing on his extensive research in the world of international haute cuisine, Dr. Marc Stierand shared his reflections on how Michelin-starred chefs engage in intricate forms of aesthetic composing that express their unique creative identity.
14 May, 2020 (Online ) | HR and Coaching WORKSHOP: Coaching Others for Creative Performance and Adaptability by Richard E. Boyatzis, H.R. Horvitz Professor of Family Business; Professor, Organizational Behavior Distinguished University Professor, Case Western Reserve University
Adaptability is at the heart of desired change. Without a willingness and desire to adapt, a person, management team and entire organization enters a defensive posture and rejects new ideas. In the process, they become closed to scanning the environment and staying in touch with what their customers and competitors want, need and are doing. In strategic terms, it is called “competition neglect.” Without steady innovation and adaptation to new conditions and opportunities, performance withers.
Adaptability, or flexibility, and even disruptive innovation seem antithetical to organizational functioning, which often depends on stability, consistency and reliability – doing on the whole the same thing, but slightly better. With our focus on financial metrics and specific goals, leaders and executives engage neural networks and hormonal systems that defeat this desire. They close a person and groups down from openness to new ideas and change.
The greatest challenge for a top executive is not to be adaptive themselves, but how to create an atmosphere in which others can be adaptive. Based on 30 years of published longitudinal, behavioral studies, fMRI studies and hormonal studies, Professor Boyatzis will lead the participants through the dynamics of helping people become open to learning and change. He will lead the audience through examples of what effective helping and coaching to stimulate adaptability and openness feels like, as well as understanding the neural processes that foster or inhibit it. He will share key stories and discoveries in his new book, Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth, co-authored with Professors Melvin Smith and Ellen Van Oosten.
This session addressed the following:
May 23, 2019 | Prudence and Creativity: An Odd Pair? by Dr Haridimos Tsoukas, The Columbia Ship Management Professor of Strategic Management, Department of Business and Public Administration, University of Cyprus & Distinguished Research Environment Professor of Organization Behavior, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK
In his speech Dr. Haridimos Tsoukas presented examples from the business community and talked about how a prudent leader can be or should be a creative leader.
April 7, 2021 (Online) | Next Generation Broadband Wireless Networks: Challenges & Opportunities by Constantinos B. Papadias, Executive Director of the Research, Technology and Innovation Network (RTIN) , Professor of Information Technology The American College of Greece.
In this talk Dr. Papadias provided an overview of some key technology & policy trends in the evolution of mobile broadband networks. 5th generation (5G) wireless networks, whose deployment is ongoing, are expected to benefit from a number of technological advances that have been developing for several years, such as cell densification, multiple antennas, cloud radio access, mmWave transmission and use of unlicensed frequency bands, among others. These are in order to achieve the aggressive performance requirements of 5G networks & applications, including higher capacity, lower latencies and better user experience.
Still, a number of technological hurdles will have to be overcome in order to consolidate the establishment of 5G networks and allow their further evolution. We will focus on a number of promising technologies that hold such potential. These are: spectrum sharing for better use of the available electromagnetic spectrum; hybrid antenna systems for more efficient multi-antenna communication; and portable / energy autonomous access points for better service and energy efficiency.
In order to showcase the potential of these technologies, he presented a number of indicative recent findings, which were obtained in the context of collaborative research projects.
The talk concluded with a listing of other potential technology enablers that could further help wireless networks evolve beyond 5G and beyond today’s service paradigm, as well as some policy & regulation considerations and challenges.
The subsequent panel discussion panel discussion among Ioannis Konstantinidis, OTE Group - Chief Strategy, Transformation and Wholesale Officer Member of the Committee of Digital Economy, SEV and the Center’s Director, Professor Charalampos Mainemelis , examined the organizational challenges and business opportunities that 5G networks pose to executive leaders.
Wednesday, December 2 at 16:00 (online) | “‘Distant but close’: Proximal leadership in a physically distant world” by Dr. Olga Epitropaki, Professor of Management, Director of Research (Management & Marketing), Durham University Business School.
The recent pandemic has posed a series of challenges for organisational leaders and the sudden shift to remote working has been an important one. As the ‘work-from-home’ trend is likely to continue post COVID-19, managers and employees need to be able to navigate the intricacies of a digital workplace, establish new work routines and sustain high levels of performance.
How can leaders remain close to their teams when they can only rely on online channels? How can they inspire and motivate their people from afar, help them manage stress and remain focused to their tasks?
These were some of the issues Professor Olga Epitropaki discussed in her talk. She specifically focused on the concept of leader distance (physical and psychological), presented relevant research and discussed possible ways for leaders to retain proximity in physically distant conditions.
October 8, 2020 at 18:00 (online) | Corporate Social Responsibility and Humble Leadership by Dr. Pavlos Vlachos , Associate Professor of Marketing at Alba Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece
Achieving corporate social responsibility and sustainable development goals, especially in the post-Covid era, requires responsible leadership. Responsible leadership also requires companies to "move" from the doctrine of shareholder capitalism - which has been officially embraced since 1997 - to the model of stakeholder capitalism (see Business Roundtable). But what exactly is responsible leadership? Responsible leadership is, as we will show, humble leadership. Humility is the virtue of temperance and moderation, which allows: a) to put limits on innate human egoism and, b) cooperation - to trust each other more.
To sum up: leaders must balance the multiple conflicting interests that characterize stakeholder capitalism. The exercise is difficult, because it has as a starting point the lack of trust that characterizes the modern business. It should also be implemented in a recessionary environment (post-Covid19), with technology now allowing the measurement of the (socio-environmental) performance of businesses in real-time, through artificial intelligence (AI-generated ESG data - see Fintech platform TruValue Labs, where the speaker serves as a member of its academic network and was demonstrated in the workshop).
How can a leader manage such an endeavor in such a hostile environment? Is humble leadership the solution?
16 June 2020 (Online) | Leading in a post pandemic world by Richard E. Boyatzis , H.R. Horvitz Professor of Family Business; Professor, Organizational Behavior Distinguished University Professor, Case Western Reserve University
An interactive panel discussion designed exclusively for senior leaders members of SEV and Alba. Professor Richard Boyatzis, one of the most influential leadership thinkers in the world, answered the questions of senior business leaders in Greece about the new challenges and opportunities confronting leaders today and in the next decade.
October 23, 2019 | Leading the digital transformation” by Dr. Gianvito Lanzolla, Professor of Strategy, Cass Business School, City, University of London.
What does digital transformation mean for leading in the digital age? In this talk, building on his research with several born-digital companies which have successfully scaled up and with incumbents companies which have embraced the digital transformation, first, Professor Lanzolla highlighted the fundamental changes that the pervasive adoption of digital technologies trigger in a company’s skillset, culture, incentives and structures. Then, he discussed the implications and the new imperatives for leading people and organizations in the digital age.
September 26, 2019 | Strategy in times of digital change: simple rules and impromptu action by Dr. Kyriakos Kyriakopoulos, Professor of Strategy and Marketing, Alba Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece
Facing increasing complexity, managers need to simplify decision making: simple rules, few clear guidelines (e.g., setting priorities, seizing opportunities, exit decisions) foster swift and concerted action. Rather than predicting it, companies need to discover the future as they improvise small, unplanned steps to market surprises. While in the past, firms have been addicted to routine behavior, complicated decision tools, and elaborate plans, they begin to discover what has been always the norm in jazz bands: educated spontaneity, active listening, common aims, ‘yes-and’ coordination, and rotational leadership.
January 26 , 2021 (Online) | “‘Best Practices of Creative Leadership in Greek Organizations” presentation of the Center’s 2019-2020 applied research by Charalampos Mainemelis, Director of the SEV Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership, Professor of Organizational Behavior, Alba Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece.
Creative leadership plays a pivotal role in the creation and evolution of adaptive organizations. The purpose of the Center’s 2019-2020 applied research cycle was to identify the best practices of creative leadership in Greek organizations. The qualitative research was conducted between November 2019 and April 2020 in a sample of 20 companies. Drawing on the research findings, the presentation focused on the conditions that foster the emergence of creative leadership in Greek companies, and on the specific skills, competencies, and processes related to three distinct manifestations of creative leadership: Facilitative, Directive, and Integrative.
The research report can be accessed here .
The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with Professor Kostas Axarloglou, Dean, Alba Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece, Mr. Alexandros Chatzopoulos, Director General, SEV - Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, and the Center’s Director, Professor Charalampos Mainemelis.