четверг, 30 сентября 2010 г.

The Social Innovation Agenda in BRIC

The 19th of September was marked by Open Day at SKOLKOVO. As part of the event some master classes were conducted by professors and experts of the School. Today we will tell you about one of them, namely “Sustainable Growth in Emerging Markets. The Social Innovation Agenda” made by Meng Zhau, Assistant Professor in Strategy and Organization.

Social innovations are, by nature, implementation and promotion of social programmes. They can be seen everywhere: at schools, hospitals, government and even in business. In general, this is philanthropy.

Social innovations substantially belong to nonprofit institutions. But big profit companies also participate in social events. For instance, Ford takes an active part in fighting AIDS, Levi’s is fighting racism an so forth. Besides Meng Zhau mentioned that companies changed a philosophy of business conduct itself: from how to earn to how to impact. They move from stock activities to a possibility to impact shareholders’ decisions. Companies act as social change agents.

One of the most successful examples of social innovations is microfinance (granting of micro-loans to low-income clients). This approach is successfully developed in Asia. In India 40 million people who live rough are engaged in microfinance. For instance, according to one of the models people received amounts of about 10 dollars to purchase, e.g. poultry, cattle or seeds. For a year those people could improve their economy, rise to their feet, repay a loan and continue their business. In China as early as in 1998 100 million people in villages and provinces took microfinance opportunities for a total amount of about 89 million dollars!

It can be said that venture philanthropy is moving from Europe and the US to Asia. According to US National Intelligence Council, 1.5 billion people will have been able to get to the middle class by 2025.

вторник, 28 сентября 2010 г.

Mountaineering And Leadership

"Follow the hero. Be prepared to go to the limit. Be a why-not'er - yes-but'ers kill companies", that’s how Herbert Henzler summarized his speech about “Mountaineering And Leadership” on the Open Day of SKOLKOVO.

Do you want to know more about Professor Henzler’s lecture? It gives me pleasure to describe its key points below.

It is “Mountaineering And Leadership” that I chose to attend on the Open Day at
SKOLKOVO last Sunday.

Its name thrills, but one can draw rather slight analogies in those two areas. So it was very interesting to listen to what can be said on this topic for an hour and a half.

Generally, the workshop was based on analogies between principles Reinhold Messner (one of the most famous mountaineers) follows when preparing an expedition and principles of achieving goals in business. The analogies are very bright and demonstrate the necessity of a competent approach and a thorough assessment of one’s own resources.

These are some points that one should take into account as recommended by Professor Henzler:

1) Innovation approach.
What was Messner’s innovation and what does mountaineering have to do with it? In fact, Messner has greatly changed an approach to mountaineering as such. While 200 people used to form a group with lots of provisions and all that it implied to reach a peak of the Everest, Messner said that he would do the same with a minimum number of people, with minimum possible provisions in order to decrease weight and time required for the very expedition. The point is to plan a path without any unnecessary thing on the back (Messner even didn’t take oxygen cylinders). Yes, this path will be travelled at maximum efforts, but that’s the way the
result is achieved.

We should make a small reservation here. You should try to achieve your goal, but if at some stage you feel that you’ll fail (and it’s not late to return), you’d better stop.

2) Leader
A team must have only one leader. Yes, he can be wrong, yes, he can ignore advice. But if a person is not ready to follow him till the end without doubting his role, it‘s better not to start at all. Doubts result in conflicts that can lead to unfortunate results – both in the mountains and in business.

3) Team
It logically results from the previous item. Generally, an issue of forming a team will always be problematic. One can never 100% predict if a person will become a good or bad member. Anyway, members of your team should understand: since they joined you, there is no return. And at difficult moments they will have to extend themselves.

4) “Be a why-not'er”
One of the key principles is to ask “Why not?” It is the question that leads to the greatest progress. However, in reality most of us belong sooner to the second group - “yes-but'ers”. As a result, a majority of innovations decline in the state of ideas. We like stability and dislike taking risk – it’s our lot and we should struggle against it.

I hope that my summary of Herbert Henzler’s lecture will be of use and help you in building relations not only at work but also in other spheres of your life!

пятница, 24 сентября 2010 г.

SKOLKOVO’S Innovative Diplomas

On September 19, SKOLKOVO had its first official graduates! Students from the first Executive MBA class finished their studies in July 2010 and they became official graduates during the celebrations of the fourth anniversary of SKOLKOVO!

After solemn speeches and congratulations, Igor Shuvalov, the first deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation and a member of SKOLKOVO’s International Advisory Board, personally awarded diplomas to this group of 21 EMBA students.


There was a creative approach to the design and format of the school’s first diplomas, so that this event would be as memorable as possible for everyone involved.
Made in the traditional violet shades of the Executive MBA, it is no accident that the diplomas resemble a fairly hefty book. But on the inside, in addition to the usual educational information, there's a surprise for the graduates. Several seconds after opening the diplomas, a video begins playing on a monitor on the right side of the card. It shows a clip about the past 18 months of the program and how this group of strangers became a tight-knit team.


суббота, 18 сентября 2010 г.

Innovation: Design or Technology?

We continue telling about our experts and lectures that you can attend on the Open Day this Sunday.

We have spoken with Dmitry Repin, SKOLKOVO Start-up Projects Director, about his lecture “Innovation: Design or Technology?”

- Please can you tell us what your speech on the Open Day will be about?
- The lecture deals with a process of generating innovations and new products and services which are focused on a customer, a so-called “human-centered design”. We’ll try to outline an approach to creation of innovations and give some practical tools that will be of use there.

- What kind of audience is the lecture meant for?
- We intended to make the lecture not specific, but accessible to anyone who knows little about economics and social processes.

- Who will be speaking together with you?
- We will conduct this master class with Alexei Nikolayev: he is a director of Intel academic programs in Russia and in charge of cooperation with institutions of higher education. He has a good understanding of Design Thinking, and we actively work with him on a joint project between SKOLKOVO and Intel - Innovation Design Lab. By the way, the methodology that we will describe at our master class is those key ideas which were established at Innovation Design Lab.

- Will the audience have an opportunity to speak to you after the lecture and ask questions?
- Yes, of course. I will be on the Campus all day long, so I will be pleased to talk to anyone who will visit the SKOLKOVO Open Day!

Emerging Market Odyssey

The education offered at SKOLKOVO business school is oriented to studying emerging markets which imply both high potential and great risks. 2008 saw a beginning of world recession that had reversed world economy. The chief arena was occupied by developing countries. It is then that BRIC countries became an even more attractive area to do business. What role do they play in world economy indeed? Why have they attracted more and more attention? If you are interested in those issues, we suggest you listening to such experts as William Wilson and Meng Zhao.


Meng Zhao - Assistant Professor in Strategy and Organization Skolkovo and Research Fellow, Skolkovo Institute of Emerging Market Studies. Research: Emergence and Evolution of Organizational Fields, Social Entrepreneurship & Corporate Social Responsibility in Emerging Markets and others
Meng Zhao also researches Diffusion theory. Diffusion theory's main focus is on the flow of information within a social system, such as via mass media and word-of-mouth communications

William Wilson - Dr. Wilson is a macro and financial economist. He has over a decade experience researching and forecasting the economies of the emerging markets. He produced branded research on India’s economy. For instance, "The India Century", where he sets forth a well-grounded theory that by 2030 India will have left behind China and ranked third in world economy.

One can read their books and articles, listen to their speeches on TV. However no one will argue that it’d better to talk to them face to face. All the more so, on the SKOLKOVO Open Day Meng Zhao will hold a master class on a topic “Sustainable Growth in Emerging Markets. The Social Innovation Agenda”, with William Wilson’s topic being “Emerging Market Odyssey: Where From Here?”

пятница, 17 сентября 2010 г.

New Trends in Leadership

SKOLKOVO School trains not just managers, but business leaders, so it is students’ leadership qualities that are particularly developed during the training. The best practice in this field is provided by SKOLKOVO Professor Pierre CASSE, an author of more than 10 books in the areas of multicultural management, leadership, intercultural negotiations, and philosophy and business

You have an opportunity to visit his lecture personally: for the Open Day Pierre CASSE has prepared a speech on “Leadership: Old Facts and New Trends”.

A short video presentation about Professor Casse:



We bet that the lecture on leadership would be the best visited on the SKOLKOVO Open Day! :)

понедельник, 13 сентября 2010 г.

SKOLKOVO School welcomed new students!

The School started a Full-TIme MBA programme for the second group of students late August. The second group includes 33 young and self-confident leaders, full of enthusiasm, who wish to study, learn new things and change the world around them! One third of them comes from all parts of the world - the USA, the UK, India, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Finland, Austria.

New students will live and study in a new hospitable building - SKOLKOVO Campus!

Here are slide-show and quotations of some students.




Christian Graggaber:
“After 6 years of work experience in both emerging and established countries Skolkovo gives me the possibility to get additional entrepreneurial and academic experience in emerging countries in an out of the box thinking environment. The diverse international mix of students from a variety of sectors gives me the opportunity to widen my knowledge pool by tapping into the diverse expertise of the other students”

пятница, 10 сентября 2010 г.

Corporate Giants and Economic Growth - is a new research of SKOLKOVO

Historically economic growth depends crucially on profit creation and the appreciation of asset prices. Although the vibrant sector of small businesses in many countries is the workhorse for generating jobs and emancipating the poor from poverty, profit creation and wealth accumulation however, more or less take place mostly at large scale enterprises.

In a new policy paper, the SKOLKOVO Institute for Emerging Market Studies (SIEMS) studies the largest 400 companies in China and Russia


The research separately reviews a contribution of private companies, i.e. such companies where
the majority equity share of the company is owned by individuals and parties other than the state, and corporate decision making is not controlled by the state.

About 80% of the companies making into the top list are private companies in Russia, while only 18% are private companies in China. The above comparison confirms a current opinion that the private sector in Russia plays a more prominent role than in China.



вторник, 7 сентября 2010 г.

International humanitarian leader visits SKOLKOVO!

Today our Campus was visited by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, an international humanitarian guru. A special lecture given to SKOLKOVO students was the first one during his visit to Russia.

The speech was officially devoted to business ethics, but participants had a lot of questions to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, so finally he touched upon a great number of truly important aspects of human life. He spoke about calmness and happiness, about stress and strength of mind, about leadership and enthusiasm.

Today we offer a short video from the morning lecture, a piece of oriental wisdom. A full report will appear soon.



According to Forbes, Sri Sri is one of the most influential people of India. He is justly considered a world spiritual leader – he is welcomed everywhere with love and respect. “I feel at home wherever I am”, Sri Sri says.

Sri Sri visits over 40 countries every year. He plans to make a long tour through Russia associated with a world week of yoga: Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Irkutsk…
We are very happy that Sri Sri found time to personally impart his valuable knowledge to SKOLKOVO students!

четверг, 2 сентября 2010 г.

Recent news form “Kruzenshtern”

Hello again! We have just received a new report from Dmitry Repin - our “press-attache” aboard the “Kruzenstern” barque! =)

Here it is:

“Yesterday evening both SKOLKOVO rowing teams received prizes from Kruzenshtern officers, the boys team was especially recognized for not giving up and making the finish, being real men. This morning we are preparing to more mast climbing and will have a session with captain after lunch”.


“All morning we climbed masts. People talked about overcoming their fears and some climbed very high – 40 meters and more. Two people from the third intake EMBA climbed to very top of the tallest mast, 1st Grot – Respect!”

среда, 1 сентября 2010 г.

Kruzenshtern's update

Dmitry Repin continues sms transmission from aboard the "Kruzenshtern" barque! We're pleased to keep you updated!

"Today SKOLKVO team climbed masts. 1st and 2nd grot masts. Most people got to 2nd mast – about 30 meters above the deck. Also got to walk on the sailyard. Super exciting! It’s sunny and calm seas".



"Kruzenshtern is lying adrift near Skagen, northern tip of Denmark. We all just got to go on lifeboats around the ship. Now two SKOLKOVO teams are preparing to the race in lifeboats around the ship, A boys team and a girls team will race against Kruzenshtern cadets".


"Our boys team failed the first time, but then got some snacks and with renewed powers manager to row against wind and current and finished in 12 min 38 second the race around the 114.5 meter ship. The unlimate teamwork".

Advice on business literature from Helen Edwards

The First of September is the Day of Knowledge!
We sincerely congratulate everyone who follows a difficult path of knowledge, who learns something new and gets an invaluable life experience.

Today we're presenting a new selection of books from Helen Edwards, a SKOLKOVO Library project manager. You can read her previous advice on business literature here.
Hopefully, there'll be only helpful and interesting books in your sack and you'll use them in practice!

1. Market Rebels: how activists make or break radical innovations
Hayagreeva Rao
Princeton University Press 2009
222 pages
ISBN 978-0691134567

This book identifies the key role of activists in promoting or impeding the adoption of radical business innovations. Technology may be ready but social and cultural factors determine whether a product takes off or flounders. Getting people angry or excited "hot causes" or kicking off a trend with which people identify "cool mobilization" can invoke collective action to create or constrain markets. The challenge for the manager is to "think like an insurgent" to make effective use of these powerful social forces.


2. Made in China: secrets of China's dynamic entrepreneurs
Winter Nie, Katherine Xin and Lily Zhang
Singapore: Wiley (Asia), 2009
224 pages
ISBN 978-0-470-82436-8

It seems that everyone wants to do business in China. However it is often China's own entrepreneurs rather than other multinationals which are the real competition. These private companies, now supplanting state owned enterprises and being set up by Chinese business people from all kinds of backgrounds and often with little initial capital, are succeeding by knowing their own markets and culture, readiness to adapt and resourcefulness.

News from a waste of waters of the North Sea

We are here again to share some news with you coming from the Kruzenshtern barque, which is making a historical voyage with our students aboard – from Bremerhaven (Germany) to Klaipeda (Lithuania).

Dmitry Repin contacted us somewhere from a waste of waters of the North Sea to give details about their living aboard.

On Monday evening after dinner SKOLKOVO group met with Kruzenshtern Captain Mikhail Novikov and had a very long discussion about people, countries and everything else, the discussion lasted well into the night. Yesterday in the morning SKOLKOVO students participated in the helping in putting up the sails, pulling lines, working on winches, basically doing everything along with the crew and cadets to put the sails up.
Now sailing under sails at about 9-10 knots, the sea is still dark and rough. In the Tuesday afternoon they discussed survival at sea, working on Alain Bombard case, and later in the afternoon senior botsman showed us how the ship’s crew can fight for ship’s survival. Some of skolkovites trid out the professional survival suit.

Have you already felt the sense of salt sea? Watch the news!