Competence Centers

Member highlights

This page is intended to get to know better the members of the Center for Innovation and Partnerships. Each member will share insights about their research and how it shapes practice. Enjoy the reading!


katherine taTARINOV

Postdoctoral Researcher 

Research Director at the Center for Innovation and Partnerships




         What is your research about?

My research looks at how we can use innovation and new technology to improve the way organizations work, particularly those organizations tasked with improving the world. I am driven by the emerging phenomenon of transformation happening within organizations such as the UN. I try to make sense of this phenomenon at the organizational and management level by looking at the impact of innovative initiatives, how ecosystems work when digital innovation scales globally, and how the internal structures and processes of these organizations create or hinder a greater impact on the world.


         What motivates you personally to do research in this area and how does it shape practice?

Personally, I work on research that can be translated and applied to the real world. I am motivated to help these large organizations because I believe they are still relevant today and they still wield a great deal of convening power, that if managed correctly can have magnificent results in solving global problems. At the same time, I see the need for working together, across organizational and sectoral boundaries to help these values-based organizations move towards stronger management practices and rapid technology adoption.

Our work over the last five years has shaped practice in 3 ways. First, it has given visibility to innovation champions working within these organizations and empirically defended their impact both on the lives of beneficiaries as well as on the processes and missions of their organizations. Second, our work has led to a greater understanding of the managerial gaps within these organizations and the opportunities to introduce new tools and skills for increasing efficiency, transparency, and stronger collaboration. Finally, I believe by studying these organizations at a time when all companies should be thinking about the world, has created space for even for-profit companies to learn about how to work with the UN, to learn from the UN about how to orchestrate ecosystems to scale new innovation and what roles different actors can play in these collaborations. Beyond practice, my work has shown that management scholars have the tools and frameworks to help international organizations and that we should no longer limit ourselves to specific contexts in our work.

Discover more about Katherine here




Full Professor in International Management 

Director at the Center for Innovation and Partnerships


         What is your research about?

My research interests center on the strategic management of globally dispersed and knowledge-intensive organizations. I am particularly interested in understanding the management of intangible and cognitive constructs, such as knowledge and managerial attention, and their impact on organizational performance. My research agenda comprises three major areas: First, the generation, transfer, and integration of knowledge, which examines the intra-organizational processes that contribute to value creation from globally distributed knowledge. Second, intrapreneurship, i.e. entrepreneurial processes in large organizations, and the question of how strategic and cognitive aspects of headquarters-subsidiary relationships influence power constellations and coordination efficiency. The third stream of research focuses on the dynamics of innovation and organizational evolution.

As an international management scholar, my research has primarily focused on multinational corporations, and occasionally on technology startups. During the last years, I have started extensive research as well as practice engagement with the United Nations Organizations and other International Non-Profit Organizations, applying and translating management theories into this context. This work has introduced the UN as a relevant context for management research and will hopefully lead to exciting insights of academic and practical relevance in the future.

         What motivates you personally to do research in this area and how does it shape practice?

My main motivation is to create and utilize expert knowledge to address the Grand Challenges of this world and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I strongly believe in a learning cycle between research and practice, which also builds the basis of the Center for Innovation and Partnerships. Particularly when working on topics related to the SDGs, we need more systematic research and reliable data as a basis for our decision-making. This requires academic rigor which usually includes high-level theorizing and complicated statistical models. But publication in top management journals will not make an impact to practice. Thus, we have to translate our insights into Thought Leadership, make them accessible for decision-makers, and provide learning resources, such as our White Papers,  Cases, and Webinars.

The biggest obstacle to advancing our knowledge in the field is that most organizations, like academia, work in their professional silos. The UN as well as many companies and NGOs are at the forefront of providing solutions to many important societal problems. Still, these problems are so complex that every sector faces limits. To address this, we must engage with the entire ecosystem including big and small companies, international organizations, local non-for-profit organizations, governments, academia, etc. Only true cross-sector learning and engagement will lead to effective solutions. 


Discover more about Tina here





Honorary Professor

Director at the Center for Innovation and Partnerships


         What is your research about?

Challenges facing our organizations and leaders such as poverty, hunger, human health, and environmental degradation are increasingly complex and interconnected, and they demand systems thinking and systems leadership. My research concentrates on tackling complexity and innovative approaches and tools to engage multiple stakeholders from public and private to collaborate efficiently.

         What motivates you personally to do research in this area and how does it shape practice?

As a professor and board member, I feel a need to contribute and help that leaders and decision-makers SEE differently, THINK differently and ACT differently. Systems thinking starts with understanding the context, correctly defining the problem as a whole, and understanding the boundaries of the problem. Systemic tools and approaches help make sense of the complexity, allow us to model a situation over time, and enable collaboration and problem-solving in qualitative and quantitative ways. 

Discover more about Gilbert here

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