Black Swan Start-ups and Place Surplus

Sami Mahroum
INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative
Monday, 29 January 2018 - 12:00

Does your location matter for your business? What aspects of location matter the most for businesses? How are locations assessed by monitoring and policy agencies? In this seminar, Dr. Mahroum runs a collective discussion of what make a place good for business and innovation and move on to introduce the 15 key attributes that make a place conducive for innovation and growth according to established scholarly work. The he introduces the participants to different examples of high growth businesses that pursued strategies that allowed them to leverage their location advantage while mitigating their location disadvantage.

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Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 4ª (Sala Descubre. Cubo Rojo)
Universitat Politècnica de València | Camino de Vera s/n

Short CV: 

Dr Sami Mahroum is the Founding Director of the INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative (IIPI). He provides executive and academic leadership for the programme and its associated members. In his role, he works closely with various stakeholders in the local community to identify and develop opportunities for applied research and engagement activities around entrepreneurship, innovation and public management. The engagement takes the form of specialised seminars, roundtables, talks and participatory workshops. His research makes use of various experiential and qualitative research tools, including drawing, story-telling, and design thinking, to generate and capture deep insights that would inform the development of analytic frameworks, problem-solving tools, and metrics design for policy and public management. Prior to INSEAD, Sami was a Senior Policy Analyst at the OECD in Paris and the Research Director for Regional and International Innovation at Nesta. At both organisations, Sami was fortunate to work on high profile projects including: the UK Innovation White Paper (2008), and the OECD Innovation Strategy (2010). Much earlier, as a Research Fellow at the (EU) Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Sami contributed directly to the flagship EU project Futures Europe 2010. Sami has a long-standing interest in studying the relationship between agency and place and the social systems that emerge from that relationship. How do places shape people and organisations and how do people and organisations shape places? In that pursuit, he led several research projects on place making, the international mobility of highly skilled people between different places, technology entrepreneurship in unlikely places, and most recently innovators in government. Common to all is a focus on the agency (individuals and groups) perspective on the systems in place. Most recently, Sami published a scholarly book on the dynamic relationship between technology entrepreneurs and place entitled “Black Swan Start-Ups: Understanding the Rise of Successful Technology Business in Unlikely Places” (Palgrave MacMillian, Summer 2016). The book has since been downloaded over 6700 times. Sami delivers high profile executive education programmes and seminars at INSEAD and occasionally elsewhere, including Aalto University Executive Education (Helsinki), IMD (Lausanne), EPFL (Lausanne). He is a Non-Resident Senior Policy Fellow at the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy at the American University of Beirut and a Visiting Fellow at the School of Management, Birkbeck College, and University of London. Sami is a also member of the World Economic Forum Regional Strategy Group for the MENA region. He was as a former member on the inaugural Advisory Board for the Mohammad Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation and was a member of the World Economic Forum Education & Skills Council. In 2000, Sami completed a PhD in Business and Social Studies from the German Armed Forces University in Hamburg, on a project that began at the Department of Geography at University College London. Before that, he completed an MSc in Science & Technology Dynamics from the University of Amsterdam, and a BA in Political Science & Economic Development from the University of Oslo, Norway. Sami is also an alum of the d-School: Institute of Design at Stanford. Sami's writings appeared in peer-reviewed journals as well as in broadsheets like the Financial Times and BusinessWeek, as well as Harvard Business Review, and more frequently on Project Syndicate. He sits on the Editorial Board of the journal Science & Public Policy and serves as a reviewer for most journals dedicated to innovation policy research. Sami is a Lebanese-Norwegian, married with two daughters, 5 and 10.