Gina O'Connor

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Gina O'Connor
Gina O'Connor.jpg
Known for Research on the Commercialization of Breakthrough Innovations
Scientific career
Fields innovation management

Dr. Gina Colarelli O'Connor is associate professor in the Lally School of Management & Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she has taught and conducted research for more than 15 years. She has served as the Director of the Lally School’s MBA/MS programs, Associate Director of the Severino Center for Technology Entrepreneurship, and is currently the Academic Director of the Executive MBA program. Doctor O’Connor is also the Director of the Radical Innovation Research Program, ongoing at the Lally School since 1995. In that role, she recently led a team of ten researchers across three universities in the program’s second phase, a longitudinal research study designed to understand and improve large, established companies' implementation of radical innovation capabilities. She is responsible for recruiting twenty one Fortune 1000 companies to participate in this three-year effort, which is now complete and has culminated in the publication of a book, titled Grabbing Lightning: Building a Capability for Breakthrough Innovation (Jossey-Bass, 2008)[1]. The book was highlighted by Strategy + Business Magazine as the most influential book in Innovation in 2008.[1] She has been recognized as one of the top 20 scholars in innovation management according to studies from 2007 and 2012.[2][3] In 2014 she was recognized by the International Association for the Management of Technology (IAMOT) as one of the top scholars in Technology & Innovation Management and has been a speaker in the 2015 Innovation Roundtable [4]

Before joining RPI in 1988, Dr. O'Connor earned her Ph.D. in Marketing and Corporate Strategy at New York University. Prior to that time, she spent several years with McDonnell Douglas Corporation in Contract Administration on the AV-8B Harrier program, and at Monsanto Chemical Corporation's Department of Social Responsibility.

Professor O'Connor's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of corporate entrepreneurship and Radical Innovation, Marketing, and Commercialization of Advanced Technology. The majority of her research efforts focus on how firms link advanced technology development to market opportunities. She has published more than 30 articles in refereed journals including The Journal of Product Innovation Management, Organization Science, MIT’s Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, Academy of Management Executive, The Journal of Strategic Marketing, The European Journal of Marketing, Psychology and Marketing, Business Horizons, The Journal of Advertising Research and The Journal of Advertising, and is co-author of the book Radical Innovation, How Mature Firms Can Outsmart Upstarts, published by Harvard Business Press in December, 2000[5] and the book Grabbing Lightning: Building a Capability for Breakthrough Innovation published by Jossey Bass in 2008.

Professor O'Connor's teaching experience includes the executive MBA program at RPI and custom in house programs at a number of well known US based companies such as Air Products, Albany International, General Motors and IBM. In the full-time MBA program, she has participated in and led the flagship team taught courses in new product development, organizational growth, and business implications of emerging technologies. She has also developed courses such as Commercializing Advanced Technologies and Corporate Entrepreneurship that build on her work in Radical Innovation, and has developed and offered Doctoral Seminars in New Product Development. She won the RPI Alumni Teaching Award in 2006, and four of her published papers have won best paper of the year award in various scholarly journals. Dr. O’Connor has consulted with many companies to help them develop capabilities for commercializing technology based on breakthrough innovations. She and her colleagues have recently completed their third study on Breakthrough Innovation and are working on their next book. She is active in consulting with companies to improve their innovation management systems.


  • O'Connor, Gina; Leifer, Richard; Paulson, Albert; Peters, Lois (2008). Grabbing Lightning: Building a Capability for Breakthrough Innovation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0-787-99664-5. 
  • Leifer, Richard; McDermott, Christopher; O'Connor, Gina; Rice, Mark; Veryzer, Robert (2000). Radical Innovation, How Mature Firms Can Outsmart Upstarts. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 0-875-84903-2. 


  1. ^ "Best Business Books 2008: Innovation". strategy+business. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  2. ^ Thieme, Jeff. "PERSPECTIVE: The World's Top Innovation Management Scholars and Their Social Capital*." Journal of Product Innovation Management 24.3 (2007): 214-229.
  3. ^ Yang, Pianpian, and Lei Tao. "Perspective: Ranking of the World's Top Innovation Management Scholars and Universities." Journal of Product Innovation Management 29.2 (2012): 319-331.
  4. ^ "Speakers – Innovation Roundtable® Summit 2015Innovation Roundtable® Summit 2015". Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  5. ^

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