Faculty Profiles

Gina O'Connor

  • Professor
Academic Division: Entrepreneurship


Gina joined Babson in January 2019 as a Professor of Innovation Management. She conducts research and develops curricula that facilitates learning for graduate students and executives based on her findings on Breakthrough Innovation capabilities in large mature companies.

Before joining Babson Gina spent 29 years at the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she held the roles of Professor of Marketing and Innovation Management, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of the MBA program, Director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship and Director of the Radical Innovation Research Program. Prior to earning her PhD in Marketing and Corporate Strategy at NYU, she worked as a contract administrator for McDonnell Douglas Corporation and as a research analyst for Monsanto’s Department of Social Responsibility in St. Louis, Missouri.

Professor O’Connor has published papers in leading journals including the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Organization Science, Journal of Marketing and Journal of Business Venturing among others. Five of her papers have received best paper of the year awards in their respective journals. Gina has co-authored three books on breakthrough innovation. The second of those: Grabbing Lightning: Building a Capability for Breakthrough Innovation, was named one of the top three business books of the year by Strategy + Business Magazine. In 2018 she was named a Crawford Fellow by the Product Development and Management Association, one of only six recipients of that award.

Gina’s professional objective is to help large established companies learn how to renew themselves through organic growth via step-out, gamechanging, breakthrough, strategic innovation, which introduces high levels of uncertainty into the innovation process and is typically stamped out in organizations. She is a firm believer that, to be successful, companies must develop an innovation function, complete with its own people, processes, metrics and culture that operates within the company to translate emerging science, technology and business models into whole new platforms of growth that will fuel the company’s future health in spite of itself. She is an active speaker and consultant for a number of US and European companies, and is passionate about developing the next cadre of innovation leaders.

On the personal side, Gina’s permanent home is in Albany NY, where she lives with her husband. Their three children are spread across the country doing their best to make the world a better place. They are all members of the Board of Directors of a larger family owned operating foundation, Fostering Hope, which serves the needs of foster parents.

Gina can be reached at goconnor@babson.edu.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph D, New York University
  • MBA, Saint Louis University
  • BA, Saint Louis University

Academic Interests

Breakthrough Innovation, Corporate Entrepreneurship, Organizational Design for Innovation, New Market Creation.

Awards & Honors

  • 2019 — Visiting Chair, Lazaridus Institute, Wilfred Laurier University
  • 2019 — Best Book nomination, Academy of Management
  • 2019 — Best Books on Corporate Innovation, Innovation Leader
  • 2018 — Crawford Fellow, Product Development and Management Association
  • 2017 — Paper named one of the "Twelve Essential Insights of the Decade", MIT's Sloan Management Review
  • 2013 — Top 50 scholars in the field of Technology Management and Innovation , International Association of Management of Technology
  • 2009 — Outstanding Teaching Award, Lally School of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • 2008 — People's Choice Professor Award, Lally School of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • 2006 — All Campus Teaching Award, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association
  • 2005 — Outstanding Teaching Award, Lally School of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


  • Degree Courses 2019



Journal Articles

  • O'Connor, G. (in press). There’s much more to Innovation than R&D. Harvard Business Review. link
  • Shaikh, I., O'Connor, G. (in press). Motivating Radical Technological Innovation: An Agency theory Perspective. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management.
  • Perri, S.T., Farrington, T., Johnson, S., O'Connor, G.C. (2019). Today's Innovation Leaders. Research Technology Management. Page: 21-29.
  • Choi, B., Ravichandran, T.R., OConnor, G. (2018). Organizational Conservatism, Strategic Human Resource Management and Breakthrough Innovation. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. Vol: 99, Page: 1-28.
  • Markovitch, D.G., , .C., Harper, P.J. (2017). Beyond invention: the additive impact of incubation capabilities to firm value. R & D Management. Vol: 47, Issue: 3, Page: 352--367.
  • O'Connor, G.C., Euchner, J. (2017). The People Side of Breakthrough Innovation: an Interview with Gina O’Connor. Research Technology Management. Vol: 60, Issue: 4, Page: 12-18.
  • Markovitch, D.G., Harper, P., O'Connor, G.C. (2017). Beyond Invention: The Additive Impact of Incubation Capabilities to Firm Value. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. Vol: 47, Issue: 3, Page: 352-367.
  • Badir, Y., O'Connor, G.C. (2015). The Formation of Tie-strength in a Strategic Alliance’s First New Product Development Project: The Influence of Project and Partners’ Characteristics. Journal of Product Innovation Management. Vol: 32, Issue: 1, Page: 154-169.


  • O'Connor, G.C., Corbett, A.C., Peters, L.S. (2018). Beyond the Champion: Institutionalizing Innovation through People. Page: 344 pages. Stanford University Press.
  • Narayanan, V., O'Connor, G. (2014). Encyclopedia of Technology and Innovation Management. Issue: 2. Blackwell-Wiley.

Book Chapters

  • O'Connor, G. (2019). What’s essential to launching an innovation program – and what you can build as you go: Pointers: Getting an Innovation Program Started-Advice for the First Year. Innovation Leader. link
  • Peters, L.S., O'Connor, G.C., Shaikh, I.A. (2018). An Examination Of Organizational Systems Used to Sustain Breakthrough Innovation: Aspects of Entrepreneurship: Practice and Passion. Page: 89-129. Cambridge Scholars Publishing .
  • O'Connor, G.C. (2018). Institutionalizing an Innovation Function: Moving beyond the Champion: Handbook of New Product Development Research. Edward Elgar .
  • , .C. (2016). Institutionalizing corporate entrepreneurship as the firm’s innovation function: reflections from a longitudinal research program: Handbook of Research on Corporate Entrepreneurship . Page: 145-174. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • O'Connor, G.C., Narayanan, V. (2015). Knowledge Management as Intelligence Amplification for Breakthrough Innovations: Design Thinking: New Product Development Essentials from the PDMA . Page: 187-203. John Wiley and Sons.
  • Narayanan, V., , .C. (2015). What are Emerging Technologies?: Encyclopedia of Technology and Innovation Management. Page: 1--4. John Wiley \& Sons, Ltd Chichester, UK.

Conference Proceedings

  • O'Connor, G., Ravichandran, T., Choi, B., Ma, J. (2017). Organizing for breakthrough innovation: leadership, structures, and processes: Academy of Management Proceedings. Vol: 2014, Issue: 1, Page: 12870. link
  • Shaikh, I., Peters, L.S., O'Connor, G.C. (2017). The Governance of Radical Technological Innovation: Proceedings of the Strategic Management Society.
  • , .C., Shaikh, I.A. (2017). Motivating Radical Innovation: An Agency Theory Exploration: Academy of Management Proceedings. Vol: 1, Page: 1. Academy of Management. link
  • Ma, J., Choi, B., O'Connor, G. (2016). Marketing's role in capturing value from innovation: Knowledge resources, strategic emphasis, and firm value: Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), 2016 Portland International Conference on. Page: 1271--1277.

Book Reviews - practitioner journals

  • O'Connor, G. (in press). Tucker and Fixson's The Innovation Navigator: Transforming your Organization in the Era of Digital Design and Collaborative Culture : a Book Review: Research Technology Management.

Articles - Circular or newsletter (e.g., Babson Insight)

  • O'Connor, G.C. (2018). Beyond the Champion: Building Strategic Innovation Capability: Center for Innovation Management Studies Innovation Management Report. Page: 7-9. Center for Innovation Management Studies, North Carolina State University.
  • OConnor, G.C. (2015). It’s Time to Professionalize Innovation: Center for Innovation Management Studies Innovation Management Report. Page: 1-2. Center for Innovation Management Studies, North Carolina State University.


  • Succeeding at Breakthrough Innovation O'Connor, G. IRI Spring Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pa (2019)
  • The Uncertainty-handling Function of Politics during Breakthrough Innovation: Nemawashi in Japanese Firms Miyao, M. O'Connor, G. Niwamoto, Y. Journal of Product Innovation Management Research Forum, Orlando Fl (2019)
  • Towards a Theory of Entrepreneurial Search: A Cognitive Approach to the Elaboration of New Opportunities Reynoso, J. O'Connor, G. Journal of Product Innovation Management Research Forum, Orlando Florida (2019)
  • Digital Transformation in the Making: Strategic Innovation as a Capability.” DeLuca, L. Covin, J. O'Connor, G. JPIM (Journal of Product Innovation Management) Research Forum, Orlando Fl (2019)
  • Time to Stretch our Thinking O'Connor, G. PDMA Doctoral Consortium, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2019)
  • “Corporate Entrepreneurship for Strategic Renewal Results from a Longitudinal Research Program Agenda for Continued Work & Beyond O'Connor, G. University of Massachusetts--Lowell Academic Speaker Series, U Mass-Lowell (2019)
  • Assessing Transition readiness for breakthrough Innovation: Negotiating responsibility for Scaling O'Connor, G. Innovation Roundtable , Newark Delaware (2019)
  • Building The Ambidextrous Organization: Do’s And Don’ts O'Connor, G. Innovation Roundtable, Newark, Delaware (2019)
  • Emerging Roles for Breakthrough Innovation: Skills & Leadership for Discovery, Incubation & Acceleration O'Connor, G. Innovation Roundtable, Newark, Delaware (2019)
  • Corporate Entrepreneurship for Strategic Renewal: Results from a Longitudinal Research Program Agenda for Continued Work & Beyond O'Connor, G. Lazaridus Marketing Symposium, Waterloo, Canada (2019)
  • Universities and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems O'Connor, G. Entrepreneurship in Engineering (guest lecture to students in a course), Denmark (via skype) (2019)
  • Beyond the Champion: Roles and Responsibilities for an Innovation Function O'Connor, G. European Innovation Forum, Rome, Italy (2019)
  • Beyond the Champion: Institutionalizing Innovation through People O'Connor, G. Berkeley Innovation Forum, University of California, Berkeley (2018)
  • Motivating Radical Innovation: An Agency Theory Exploration Shaikh, I. Peters, L. , . Academy of Management, Chicago (2018)
  • Establishing a Breakthrough Innovation Capability: the Case of SE Denmark Agopian, G. , . JPIM Annual Research Forum, Chicago (2017)
  • Opportunity REcognition in Emerging Industries: the Influence of Market and Technology Trajectories on Product Strategy Reynoso, J. Simons, K. OConnor, G. JPIM Annual Research Forum, Chicago (2017)
  • Motivating Radical Technological Innovation in the Large Firm Setting Shaikh, I. Peters, L. , . Administrative Association of Canada conference, Montreal (2017)
  • Organizational Learning in Differentiated Structures: The Characteristics of Radical Innovation Hubs Reynoso, J. Choi, B. Ma, J. , . Ravichandran, T. JPIM Annual Research Forum, Atlanta, Georgia (2016)
  • Marketing's Role in Capturing Value from Innovation: Knowledge Resources, Strategic Emphasis and Firm Value Ma, J. Choi, B. , . PICMET Annual Conference, Honolulu Hawaii (2016)
  • The Governance of the Discovery-Incubation-Acceleration Typology , . Shaikh, I. Peters, L. Academy of Management, Anaheim, California (2016)
  • The Art of Academic Publishing: Luck or Skill? , . International Society of Professional Innovation Managers, Doctoral Consortium, Boston, Ma (2016)
  • Agency and Strategic Choice Perspectives on the New Venture Board's Involvement in Breakthrough Innovation Strategy Shaikh, I. Peters, L. , . Babson Conference on Entrepreneurial Research, Wellseley, Ma (2014)
  • Entrepreneurial Regimes for Sustaining Breakthrough Innovation Shaikh, I. Peters, L. , . Eastern Academy of Management, Newport, Rhode Island (2014)

Professional Services

  • Editor, Associate Editor Journal of Product Innovation Management ()