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Thinkers50 in 50 Seconds: Mark Greeven

All 50 Second Q&As

A Dutch academic based in Hangzhou, China with a ringside seat on fast evolving developments in Chinese management and leadership, Mark Greeven is an associate professor at Zhejiang University’s School of Management. In addition, he is a research fellow at China’s National Institute for Innovation Management and the International Institute for Asia Studies.  He is co-founder of the ERIM China Business Research Centre.  Says Greeven: “Innovation does not come from guidelines or subsidies; it comes from creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and experimentation with allowance of mistakes and failures.”

What book are you currently reading? 

“Antifragile” by Nassim Taleb, an unconventional and true independent thinker.

How do you describe what you do?

I help people to change perspectives, embrace uncertainty and become innovators.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Inspiration often comes from conflict of ideas and discussion with others and myself.

What does success look like?

Achieving your own goals, even if those goals are defying mainstream measures of success.

What is your competitive advantage?

As a Dutch academic immersed in China’s entrepreneurship ecosystem for over a decade, I am well positioned to explore Chinese ways of innovation from both a local and global perspective.

How do you keep your thinking fresh?

I regularly have walks, always live nearby a river, often initiate a chat with my wife and let my mind run off freely and sometimes neurotically pursuing a train of thought.

How much time do you spend travelling?

I suppose I am a Flying Dutchman, enjoying time at home, on the way and in discovering new places. Probably on the road for one third of the time.

What is the secret of a great presentation?

Presentation is a performance. Every time.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”– Oscar Wilde

It would not hurt to learn to speak Chinese fluently, at least it has brought me a whole new perspective on the world.

What is your next goal?

After finishing my 2017 forthcoming Routledge book “Business ecosystems in China: Alibaba and competing Baidu, Tencent, Xiaomi and LeEco”, my goal is to finish up writing my next book “China’s hidden innovation champions”, a summary of a decade of insights on innovation and entrepreneurship in China.

Describe yourself in three words.

Independent, contradictory, passionate

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