Academic associates

Our academic associates are engaged in cutting-edge research and teaching.

Stephen Cummings

Steve Cummings

Stephen Cummings is Co-Director of The Atom/Te Kahu o Te Ao Innovation Space at Wellington School of Business and Government, as well as Professor of Strategy and Innovation. Stephen's doctorate is from the University of Warwick and his research examines alternative means of measuring the value of entrepreneurship, creating innovation, and developing and communicating strategies. He has authored many books and articles on innovation and management history including Creative Strategy (Wiley, 2010), Handbook of Management and Creativity (Edward Elgar, 2014), Strategy Builder (Wiley, 2015) and A New History of Management (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Jesse Pirini

A profile shot of Jesse Pirini, by a banner that reads, The Atom.

Jesse Pirini is a Lecturer in Management and is Co-Director of The Atom/Te Kahu o Te Ao Innovation Space. He gained his doctorate from the Auckland University of Technology. Jesse is interested in how entrepreneurs identify the needs of their target markets and communities and then develop their ideas to serve these needs. Jesse is a lead-researcher on a project analysing the role of accelerators in this process, exploring how and in what ways entrepreneurs develop while participating in accelerators.

Jean-Grégoire Bernard

A profile shot of JG Bernard.

Jean-Grégoire Bernard is Director of the Master of Professional Business Analysis at Wellington School of Business and Government. He holds a PhD in management from the Smith Business School of Queen's University (Canada). Jean-Grégoire's research and teaching relate to digital innovation, strategy, business models, and online communities. Jean-Grégoire is a collaborator on a project, funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and hosted at McGill University, concerning the acquisition and impact of digital competency by entrepreneurs and managers.

Sally Davenport

A profile shot of Sally Davenport by banner that reads, The Atom.

Sally Davenport is Professor of Management at Wellington School of Business and Government, Commissioner with the New Zealand Productivity Commission, and Director of the Science for Technological Innovatio” (SfTI) project within New Zealand’s National Science Challenge initiative. Sally is also an Emeritus Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, and a Principal Investigator with Te Punaha Matatini. With her extensive research and practical background in both science and management, Sally’s research focusses on research and technology policy and the effective commercialisation of science and technology.

Flavia Donadelli

A profile shot of Flavia Donadelli by a banner that reads, The Atom.

Flavia Donadelli is a lecturer in Public Policy and Public Management in the School of Government. Flavia gained her doctorate from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Flavia has a particular interest on the drivers of innovation in government and is currently studying administrative reforms in NZ and Latin America. Flavia has published in a range of academic journals and was recently awarded the Executive Politics and Governance Best Early Career Researcher Paper Prize by the UK Political Science Association.

Ruth Fischer-Smith

A profile shot of Ruth Fischer Smith standing by a banner that reads, The Atom.

Ruth Fischer-Smith received her PhD from the University of Canterbury. Her research, published in journals such as Small Enterprise Research and Journal of Public Administration and Development, focuses on how start-ups and small businesses interact with policy environments and innovate in adverse conditions. She is currently part of a cross-disciplinary research team examining how and in what ways New Zealand’s accelerator programmes create value. Ruth is also an experienced policy practitioner and currently a Policy Manager at the Department of Internal Affairs. Follow Ruth on Twitter.

Hongzhi Gao

A profile shot of Hongzhi Gao standing by a banner that reads, The Atom.

Hongzhi Gao is Associate Professor in International Business. He gained his doctorate from the University of Otago. He has a particular interest in SME internationalisation, food innovation, China market entry, social media branding, international crisis management and an understanding of the impact of macro-environmental changes on firm’s international investment and business strategy. Hongzhi has published in a range of leading academic journals including Journal of International Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of World Business, Long Range Planning, and Appetite.

Mary Ellen Gordon

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Mary Ellen Gordon is a Senior Lecturer in Information Management. Her research focusses on how organisations use data to build, grow and scale entrepreneurial ventures. Mary Ellen previously ran her own startup focussed on analytics, lead research at a fast-growing Silicon Valley app analytics company (Flurry), and founded the market research analytics team at Apple. Mary Ellen has a PhD from the University of Massachusetts, and bachelors and masters degrees from Babson College; consistently ranked as the best tertiary institution in the United States for entrepreneurship.

Eldrede Kahiya

A profile shot of Eldrede Kahiya by a banner that reads, The Atom.

Eldrede Kahiya’s research mixes International Business and International Entrepreneurship with a particular interest in business-level export development activities and national-level export promotion programmes. The specific constructs Eldrede studies encompass stage models of internationalization, international new ventures, export barriers, and export performance. He has published in International Business Review (IBR), Journal of International Entrepreneurship (JIE), and Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics (APJML) among others. His current projects focus on the entrepreneurial internationalization of firms from small open economies (SMOPECs) and informal cross border trade (ICBT). Eldrede is a member of the International Entrepreneurs’ (IE) research network, and serves as the IE Ambassador for the Australia-New Zealand region.

Mohammad Saud Khan

A profile shot of Saud Khan.

Mohammad Saud Khan is a Senior Lecturer in the area of Strategic Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He gained his doctorate from University of Klagenfurt in Austria. He has a particular interest in Team Entrepreneurship, management of high-tech innovations (e.g big data, artificial intelligence) and investigating entrepreneurship within varied contexts. Saud has published in a range of leading journals including Management Decision, Creativity and Innovation Management, Journal of Global Information Management, British Food Journal and Journal of Business Venturing Insights.

Mary Tate

Mary Tate is an Associate Professor in Information Systems. She did her PhD at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University after a varied career in the IT industry in Wellington. Mary is interested in digital service innovation, development, management, measurement, and delivery. She is also interested in channel management and omni-channel strategies. She has over 100 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals and conferences. In the innovation space, she is particularly interested in innovation methods and practices. She has published high-profile papers on the practice of innovation, and taught innovation methods to groups of students and professionals in New Zealand and overseas, as well as participating in innovation sprints as a subject matter expert.

Michael Keefe

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Michael Keefe is Senior Lecturer in Corporate Finance. He gained his doctorate from the University of Texas at Dallas. Michael has a particular interest in early stage financing for entrepreneurs, and how start-ups and SME’s can ‘stay-up’ through effective financial and capital management and an understanding of information asymmetries. He has published in a range of leading academic journals including Journal of Corporate Finance, Accounting & Finance, Emerging Markets Review and the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics.

Jessica C Lai

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Jessica C Lai is Senior Lecturer of Commercial Law. She completed her PhD at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland. Jessica's research focus is on intellectual property, especially patent law. She has published numerous articles, chapters and books on these topics and is the co-author of Patent Law and Policy (with Susy Frankel, LexisNexis 2016). She teaches intellectual property, focusing on commercialisation and marketing. In 2019, Jessica and Susy Frankel were awarded a Marsden Fund research grant to develop their research on innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.

Julia Talbot-Jones

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Julia Talbot-Jones has an interest in how social arrangements or structures, what economists call institutions, solve environmental and natural resource problems. Her PhD research examined an innovative institutional arrangement in New Zealand that was (then) proposing to grant the Whanganui River legal rights to understand how the new property rights arrangement might affect socio-economic and environmental outcomes. Julia's current research focuses on understanding how we can better design and analyse institutions to the benefit of our economy and environment, and the effect of institutions on behaviour.

Ben Walker

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Ben Walker is a Lecturer in the School of Management. He completed his PhD at The University of New South Wales as an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholar. Ben's research focuses on the psychological side of work and organisations. He is particularly interested in how entrepreneurs and their ventures evolve as a result of participating in entrepreneurial development programmes. Ben is currently completing longitudinal research on this topic with various Wellington-based accelerator programmes.