‘There Has Never Been a Better Time to Join HSE Moscow’
David Sarpong recently joined the HSE Research Laboratory for Science and Technology Studies as a senior research fellow. In this interview with the HSE News Service, he shares his first impressions of Moscow and HSE, as well as his expectations for the future.
Dr. David Sarpong is the Programme Lead for the MSc International Management at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). His main research interests lie in the broad fields of strategic management and technology management, focusing on the influence of strategic foresight on the fostering of innovation, Heideggerian-Wittengsteinian approach to practice, microstoria, and scenario thinking in high-velocity environments.
On July 15, 2015, David Sarpong carried out an introductory workshop at HSE on ‘Cultivating strategic foresight in practice: A relational perspective’, where he examined how normative organizing structures, rights and authority relationships can influence the cultivation of strategic foresight among organizational members positioned lower down in the organizational hierarchy.
— What was the main driving force behind your decision to join HSE Moscow?
— There has never been a better time to join HSE Moscow – a progressive, dynamic and vibrant institution with a global reputation for compelling and ambitious research agendas in Higher Education. It is therefore both a privilege and an exciting opportunity for me to join other scholars working at the cutting edge of innovation and foresight research aimed at developing systematic and integrated approaches to facilitating a more effective, long-term framing of corporate strategies, national and international policy development.
— How do you see your working life arranged now between Russia and the UK?
— I will be spending every summer in Moscow working with my colleagues on papers and participating in HSE seminars and workshops. I am currently working on some exciting ideas on corporate foresight and technological leapfrogging with my colleagues here at HSE so I will be working remotely from the UK in developing some academic papers and supporting my colleagues in the development of new research bids where appropriate.
It is both a privilege and an exciting opportunity for me to join other scholars working at the cutting edge of innovation and foresight research aimed at developing systematic and integrated approaches to facilitating a more effective, long-term framing of corporate strategies, national and international policy development
— You've been researching and teaching innovation management, different aspects of creativity and business. What are you going to focus on at the HSE?
— Focusing on the influence of strategic foresight on the fostering of innovation. I will be seeking to develop these research interests within the ambitions of the HSE. Ultimately, my target is to publish regularly with my HSE colleagues in leading journals and produce high impact research.
— How would you describe the link between foresight and business development? Why is foresight vital for successful business?
— In the context of rapid change, greater complexity, and genuine uncertainty, foresight has become the dominant logic for successful planning. So what do we mean by foresight? Foresight is ‘the ability to see through the apparent confusion, to spot developments before they become trends, to see patterns before they emerge, and to grasp the relevant features of social currents that are likely to shape the direction of future events’. In terms of business development, which typically involves the (re)configuration of business models and the creation and capture of sustainable value, foresight becomes an important competence in strengthening an organization’s potential to identify, interpret and (re)configure sources of potentialities into resources and productive outcomes. As an organizing capability, it enables organizations to handle the effect and response uncertainty of technology and social drivers of change to transgress established boundaries to sense, explore, and exploit opportunities otherwise overlooked by their competitors.
— Do you have any personal rules which you follow when working in a multicultural environment? If yes, could you please share them.
— None at all! I was born in Ghana, studied a bit in Frankfurt an der Oder in Germany, and now live and work in the UK, and now Russia. It’s an amazing experience which I continue to cherish. The environment and buzz at HSE is very similar to that which you find in other top-tier universities around the globe. Every single person I’ve met at HSE has had some international experience and it has been the starting point for most conversations I’ve had with the people I’ve met here.
— What are your expectations of working and living in Moscow? Have you been to Moscow before?
— This is my first time in Moscow. It’s been quite exciting and fascinating. The only problem I’m facing for now is related to the Russian alphabet. Most people that I've come into contact with can speak English so I’ve not had any problem communicating. I would definitely love to learn some Russian. For now, I’m simply behaving like the wise old owl: the less he spoke, the more he heard. The more he heard, the less he spoke. However, I probably do need to start with the Russian alphabet, the letters all look too similar to me! I’ve also had the chance to experience the night life in Moscow and it was amazing. I loved every minute of it.
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