Bon Voyage from Slovenia

I am off to Frankfurt (in 1 hr and 34 minutes).

I am writing this entry from the Ljubljana airport.

I have had a great time in Slovenia. I would like to thank my host, Peter and Lidija, for all their hard work in arranging my itinerary and taking me to see the beautiful sites of this great country. In addition, thanks to the organizers of the Bled Strategic Forum, and especially Dr. Rupel for the invitiation. The organizers took care of every detail of my stay, from flights to hotels to visiting Bled and much more...Thank you...Special thanks goes to my foreign liaison officer, the entire security detail at the conference who kept us safe and secure, and even the great staff at Hotel Park in Bled...I enjoyed the discussions with all of the government officials, executives, students, policymakers, and researchers...I can go on thanking several 100 other people from the bartenders to the waitresses to the receptionist to the chef, but will summarize with the following -

Slovenia is a great country...it is a beautiful country...and the people of Slovenia are kind, fun, humble, welcoming...and most importantly, pleasant to interact with...

For those that have not been to Slovenia...it is a must see...

P.S. Yesterday, I went through the Alps and then spent the rest of the day in the Slovenian wine country...Life does not get much better than this...

Bled Strategic Forum Update – III

I am done with my talk at the Bled Strategic Forum, for those interested in watching it, please see- LINK for the video.

By all accounts, the discussion went very well. I am thankful to the organizers of the Bled Strategic Forum for putting together an exciting and challenging agenda. I was glad that my comments resonated with several members of panel, including: Marek Belka (Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), prof. Dr. Ali M. Abbasov (Minister of Communications and Information of the Republic of Azerbaijan), Dr Kuniko Inoguchi, (Member of the House of Representatives of Japan), Dr Robin Niblett, (Director of Chatham House, London), and Nalin Surie, (Secretary at the Headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs, India). I enjoyed the lively discussion.

After the talk, I received several favorable comments, and even request for collaboration on future issue, from a number of individuals. Here is a short list - H.E. Kingsley Chinkuli (Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia, Berlin), Chalve Lobe (First Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Zambia), Joachim Ritter (CEO, of BAWAG BANKA), Mitja U?akar (Head of IT Development and IT Department, BAWAG BANKA), and Mjusa Sever (Country Director of Uzbekistan, Institute for New Democracies), and Manja Vidic (Institute for Strategic Studies, Ljubjana), among others.

In addition, I had a chance to present H.E. Dr. Rupel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and Chairman of the Bled Strategic Forum, with small gifts and letters of invitation from my colleagues at the University of Washington and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

Overall, wonderful and great experience! I hope I did my part to contribute to this important forum on the critical issues facing the EU.

Time to go and grab a few pints…

Bled Strategic Forum – I

I am now at Bled. I got here yesterday at about 2 PM. The security around Bled is tight (very…very tight). Each of the speakers has their own security detail, and many of them have multiple units. The police are all over the City of Bled and everyone is on high alert. This is good as it makes one feel safe. To put things in perspective, there are two (or four, depending on the hour of the day) undercover police/security officers on my hotel floor alone…

Yesterday, I had a meeting with my foreign liaison officer who is handling my travel, speaking, and other arrangements while in Bled. Soon after this, I attended the keynote panel with presentations by Mr Janez Fajfar, Mayor of Bled; H.E. Dr Dimitrij Rupel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and Chairman of the Bled Strategic Forum; H.E. Mr Janez Janša, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia; H.E. Mr Mikheil Saakashvili, President of the Republic Georgia’ H.E. Dr Ivo Sanader, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia’ H.E. Mr Gediminas Kirkilas, Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania; H.E. Mr Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia; H.E. Mr Martti Ahtisaari, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Future Status Process for Kosovo. Each of these presentations was very insightful, blunt and frank, and thought-provoking. In addition, I had several conversations with other dignitaries such as members of the Egyptian and the Zambian diplomatic core.

Today, I have a full day of meetings, and then will be presenting my thoughts on the EU Integration Challenges at the Global Preponderance Panel (see LINK)

More later…

My escort is knocking at my door…time to head for breakfast…

Blogging from Slovenia…

The past 72 hrs have been nothing short of fun and exciting….Slovenia is a beautiful country…Here is a brief recap of my days in Slovenia…

I arrived in Slovenia at 11 AM on Aug 23, 2007 via Munich. Met Peter at the airport and then headed to Hotel Emonec (http://www.hotel-emonec.com/). After dropping off my bags, we headed out in the city. After roaming through the Ljubljana city center (http://www.ljubljana.si/), we grabbed a pint and some food at a local pub. Then, we took a stroll through the main entertainment part of the city (obviously, stopping at a few pubs and engaging in a few scholarly discussions!) Then, we met up with Miha Škerlavaj (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics, Department of Management and Organization) and continued our discussions on scholarly activities, research strategies, and publishing nightmares. This was followed by dinner at Pete and Lidija's. The dinner was excellent and so was the conversation (and wine!)…The final event of the night was more evening discussions on scholarly activities with Robert Kaše, a PhD student at the University of Ljubljana.

Aug 24, 2007 – Had an early morning breakfast at the hotel, went for a run through the town, and then got ready for my day of meetings. At 9 AM, drove with Pete to meet with executives from TRIMO (http://www.trimo.si/client/index.php). We had an excellent meeting at TRIMO (originally, the meeting was scheduled for only 1hr and 15 minutes…the meeting ran over by about an hour). I had a chance to hear about the innovation challenges at TRIMO, share some of my thoughts on these challenges, and work to build a collaborative partnership. I want to thank all members of TRIMO who attended the meeting (I counted over 15 senior executives in the room!)…I was honored to receive a gift, and a hand-written thank you note, from the CEO and Director of TRIMO, Tatjana Fink. We then, headed back to Ljubljana and grabbed a quick snack and pint. Next, we met up with Bojana Humara of Manager Magazine (http://www.manager-on.net/). During the interview, we discussed my views on entrepreneurship, national security, business innovation…and even my choice of scotches! We then had another quick break, before meeting Prof. Dr. Talib Damij (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics). We discussed life in Ljubljana, the transformations in academia, especially at the University of Ljubljana and the IS field, and even about language issues in the Middle East. After having a dinner with Pete, I then headed back to the hotel to get some rest. I then met up with Pete about 10 PM, and enjoyed the nightlife of Ljubljana…

August 25, 2007 – Headed to the Slovenian coast at about 2 PM...cruised in Pete’s BMW Z on the way to the coast…Spent most of the day in Piran and Portoroz and loved it…Was able to pass through Trieste (Italy) and see it from Piran and was able to also see Croatia…During the evening, we discussed research progress that Pete is making on his dissertation and collaboration on future research…Headed back to the hotel after a busy work day…

Today, August 26th, I will be heading to Bled in a few hrs for the Bled Strategic Forum (see http://www.bledstrategicforum.org/index.php?id=4&lang=en).

Elitist communities… or not… ?

Peter Baloh (http://www.baloh.net) my PhD student at the Faculty of Economics at Ljubljana University, Slovenia, posted the following comments at - http://www.baloh.net/?p=194

The AOM and the AMCIS conferences and my travel there got me thinking… I consider myself lucky to be living in a quite advanced economy, and even by sharing my room with other doctoral students (thanx Israr, Olivier, Yukika), getting funded by I3M and OCIS AOM division, nevertheless this was a costly affair

Why organizers of such big gatherings don’t try to get better deals for flight tickets or accommodation? Why are the registration fees so high? Not many scholars can afford going to these conferences — ECIS, AMCIS, ICIS, AOM, at the end of the day are “a must” if you want to stay connected “in” the community, especially with todays’ pressures to publish, limited tenure positions, etc. Are associations such as AOM and AIS deliberately creating elitist communities?
Of course, the costs for running a conference, are high. However, when I think of the 600-pages-printed programme that each of the 9,000+ registered AOM participants received, and which has no value whatsoever after the meeting, i can see some ten or twenty dollars per participant (=100 or even 200,000$ in aggregate) spared. Not to mention the trees. True, the registration fee was only 60 something $. But the hotel room was 200$ a night. I bet AOM could get much better deals for us. Who of the organizers agreed to ridiculous prices of accomodation?


Also, with 1,7mio$ net profit for this year, why does AOM not fly over and sponsor promising research from developing countries, in example? Well, I am not the only one who thinks something is wrong with this “model” of operations.
Or when I think of the fireworks at the social event at AMCIS, which was held over the Keystone’ Lake on Saturday evening, I can again see some 10 or 20,000$ wasted… Literally blown up :( … If I compare that to my travel budget, maybe 10 people could be flown there for free… or, registration fees could be lowered by 20 or 30$ for each participant, if there was no such show-off…

As researchers and knowledge creators in this world, we should know better… Maybe it would be nice if communities such as AOM or AIS started using their buyer-power to manipulate the places where the conferences are going to be held… And review the location-proposals not only to the spectacularity of the setting and the length of the fireworks, but primarily according to the cost per participant… Moreover, why include profits in those yearly reports at AOM or AMCIS? Are these profit organizations? To me, it would make more sense to aim for increased number of journal papers published, or for decreased costs of travel. Honorable mention obviously goes to Prof Katherine Stewart, who got all the OCIS Doctoral Consortium participants a 500$ travel reimbursement. But not from AOM. She invested her own time to deal with burearocracy of US NSF - National Science Foundation. Job well done! Such things push towards increased knowledge creation, not the fireworks!

… Or am i too naive and it is really “elite only club”?

Here is my response...

Pete –Thanks for these excellent comments. You know my stance on the issues (see http://kevindesouza.blogspot.com/2007/08/academy-of-management-report.html). I hope we do not become an Elitist community, but all signs indicate that we are…We have done small (really small) things to provide services to the underserved communities, but these are token efforts at best.I hope that some of the young blood in the community, which includes PhD students, will start a revolution to change some of the practices in these associations.As always, let me know if I can help…

Cheers,
Dr. Kevin C. Desouza

My Slovenia Itinerary…

Here is my schedule for my visit to Slovenia. Thanks to Peter Baloh for arranging most of my itinerary during my visit. If you would like to meet with me during my visit, please send me an email. There might be a few more open slots…

  • Aug 22 – Leave Seattle, and head to Munich…
  • Aug 23 – Leave Munich, and arrive in Slovenia…
    · Check-in at Hotel Emonec and see Ljubljana (the Castle, University, and the University Library, among other sites)
    · Dinner at Pete’s and Lidija's (see http://www.baloh.net/)
  • Aug 24 – Drive out of Ljubljana @ 09:00AM at latest with Pete…
    · Meeting with the Executive Board of Trimo (see http://www.trimo.si/client/index_en.php) @ 10:00 AM. Attendees at the meeting will include the CEO, R&D Director, among other senior executives. I will give a presentation on my recent research on Organizational Innovation Programs. The specific goals will be to share details on how to develop global innovation processes, measure the performance of the innovation process, and also tie innovation activities to business value outcomes.
    · At 12.30: Coffee/snack en-route back to Ljubljana
    · Meeting the press. I will be interviewed by Mrs Bojana Humar, deputy editor-in-chief of the Manager (see http://www.manager-on.net/) @ 1:30pm. This interview will be for a feature article in the ‘Young and Fast’ section of Manager. This section introduces people who, at young age, have achieved much more than their same-age counterparts in the same fields.
    · Coffee/snack, meeting with Professor Dr. Talib Damij of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (www.ef.uni-lj.si ) and Professor Dr Cene Bavec of the Faculty of Management, University of Primorska (http://www.fm-kp.si/).
    · At 4.30 PM lunch reflecting the day (along with a glass or two or three of wine)
    · At 5.30 PM back to Hotel Emonec to take a afternoon nap and freshen up
    · At 8 PM: Pete will pick me up in the evening for an exploratory study of Ljubljana nightlife (Part I) – not mere ethnography but rather participative observation
  • Aug 25 – Visit the Slovenian Coast
  • Aug 26 – Lunch in Bled with Pete (we should be discussing his dissertation progress and research projects at this time)…Then, check-in to Hotel Park and get ready for Bled Strategic Forum (http://www.bledstrategicforum.org/)
  • Aug 27 – Bled Strategic Forum
  • Aug 28 – Visit the Goriska Brda (wine growing region) and then drive to Ljubljana…Evening, exploratory study of Ljubljana nightlife (Part II) – not mere ethnography but rather participative observation
  • Aug 29 - Fly back to Seattle, via Munich

I am looking forward to this exciting visit…Cheers…After Slovenia, I then head to the UK for two weeks…the UK initenary is still being finalized, but so far I have events scheduled in York, Wigan, Flitwick, Cambridge, and of course, London…

Strategic Outsourcing, an International Journal

I have just accepted an invitation to join the Editorial Board of Strategic Outsourcing, an International Journal (see http://www.emeraldinsight.com/info/journals/so/so.jsp). Dr. Marco Busi (University of Strathclyde) is the Editor of the journal. It is an honor to be asked to join the Editorial Board. The Editorial Board has several notable researchers such as Professor Bjorn Andersen, Professor Leslie Willcocks, Dr Erran Carmel, Dr Jeanne Ross, and Dr Mary C. Lacity, among others…