Dr. Shawn Cunningham is a process consultant working in the field of innovation and competitiveness improvement of the private sector. He supports a range of institutions, leaders and advisors around on topics such as making decisions under conditions of uncertainty or complexity, strengthening organisations or conducting learning processes through ongoing search, discovery and adjustment. He has conducted diagnoses and supported improvement processes in various industries and locations around the world.

He is a faculty member of the University of Stellenbosch Business Schools Executive Education unit. He serves as an advisor to several think tanks, universities, development organisations and government departments both locally and abroad.

Main fields of expertise

  • Advisory support to leaders in government, business and academia to make decisions despite complexity and uncertainty
  • Meso resilience and how societies form and adapt meso organisations
  • Industry modernisation, technological capability development, knowledge intensification
  • Science, technology and innovation systems promotion
  • Process consulting, discovery and process facilitation

In the past, he worked on the following topics

  • Local and regional economic development
  • Knowledge intensive business services
  • Private sector promotion
  • Value chain, cluster and industry promotion

Working experience

2008: Partner in Mesopartner
2015-current: Part time Faculty Member (Innovation, Strategy & Technology Management), Stellenbosch Business School, Executive Education
2017-2019: Member of the external faculty (Innovation and technological change), Monash University South Africa
2010-2017: Research Associate (Innovation Systems & Policy) at the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
2003-2007: Senior expert in the GTZ South Africa Local Economic Development and Business Development Services Programme
2001-2002: Worked in South African development agency NAMAC (National Manufacturing Advisory Centre Programme)
1996-2001: Own business in the IT sector. Involved in trade promotion, business chamber management and entrepreneurship promotion.

Main areas of research, practice and advisory service     

Improving innovative, leadership and change capabilities in organisations
Assisting leadership teams and organisations to make sense of their environment and own behaviour, formulate strategies to become learning organisations that harness their tacit and explicit knowledge to become more innovative. Build technological and strategic management capability of public, private and academic organisations. Read more on the Meso Resilience theme.

Building search, discovery and exploration capability in teams
Assisting teams from a range of economic and technological development organisations to conduct search and exploration activities to better understand opportunities for change, adaptation, innovation. Build the capacity of teams to engage with a range of internal and external stakeholders to build technological and organisational capability. Design, support and build capacity for process consulting and change within and between organisations. Read more on the Meso Resilience theme or the Systemic Insight blogsite.

Strengthen decision making for strategy, policy and development practice
Coaching of leaders to improve the learning capability of their organisations, assist leadership to develop better options despite complexity to enable decision making, policy formation, organic change and healthy organisations. This might involve social research methods such as Sensemaker, Social Network Analysis or process consulting. Read more on the innovation coach blogsite.

Close the gap between industry and the academia
This involves identifying unique problems in industry that can be addressed by universities, researchers and industry working together. This kind of diagnosis can originate from a university or from industry. Read more on the Meso Resilience theme.

Personal background

PhD. (Business Administration), 2009, Potchefstroom Business School, North West University, South Africa.
Master in Business Administration (MBA), 2001, North West University, South Africa
Certificate in Strategic Leadership, Change Management and Project Management, 1998, Graduate Institute of Management Technology (GIMT), South Africa

Born in 1973. Shawn lives in Pretoria, South Africa.

 

E-Mail  Skype  LinkedIn

Follow me on Youtube

Visit my personal blog page where I think out loud about development

Visit the innovation coach site where I provide support individuals and leadership teams

Visit the Systemic Insight site where we provide support to teams and organisations to make decisions despite uncertainty and complexity

View a list of publications or follow me on ResearchGate

65 results:
From promoting innovation systems to instigating innovation  
We have been working on the promotion of innovation systems since the early days of Mesopartner.  
Why ‘Market Systems Development’ is not the same as ‘Making Markets Work for the Poor’  
Over the last few years, the term ‘Market Systems Development’ has gained quite some importance in the language of some international donors.  
Resilience in economies  
What do we mean by resilience? Folke defines resilience as follows (Folke, 2016): Resilience is having the capacity to persist in the face of change, to continue to develop with ever-changing environments.  
Typology of Regions and meso organisations  
The concept of the Typology of Regions was originally introduced in the Mesopartner Working Paper 10 which focuses on options and choices for designing a Regional Development Agency (RDA).  
Developing a locational policy that fits the context  
The idea of developing the economy of a sub-national region is not new. For many, the development of the local economy is seen as an antidote to globalisation.  
Search results 31 until 35 of 65