Young Professionals – Anastasia Yarygina

DR TATIANA POSPELOVA Young Professionals Editor


Hélice is pleased to introduce a new Section which will cover Young Professionals.
The aim of the Section is to illustrate, by example, Young Professionals aspirations, ambitions and achievements. Each issue will feature work carried out by members of the Triple Helix Association who are Young Professionals, that will show the way to future attainment, and act as a beacon that will shine on future developments and highlight the path for future success.
If you are a Young Professional and would like to contribute to this Section, please contact: Dr Tatiana Pospelova, THA Young Professionals Editor at *email address protected*



Hi Anastasia, thank you for setting aside some time to talk with me today. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I would like to introduce myself as an ambassador of innovation and as an internal corporate disruptor; this is my mission. Professionally, I am a business developer and pursue an open innovation approach. I currently manage the accelerator partnerships in European Smart Cities on behalf of the South Korean automotive manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group.
It took me several years to get to this point, and I am very excited to be able to say that I have accomplished my mission. For the last six years, I have been living in Seoul, South Korea. Originally, however, I am from Moscow, Russia. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, where my lifetime journey in innovation development began when I pursued the competitive master’s program of Innovation Development and Entrepreneurship.

My full-time career started at the MSU Science Park in 2010. It was a sleepless period of my life but definitely worth it; I gained both academic and business experience in innovation and venture
industries, which accelerated my career in my early twenties. The MSU Science Park opened the gates to the world where science meets business for me. I gained global experience via startup boot camp programs in Boston, and learned a lot about hi-tech and ventured business while working with the Russian startup ecosystem. I am really grateful for those three years that defined my future dreams.
In 2012, I received an invitation from Hyundai in South Korea to join a global scholarship program. This is how I left Moscow in 2012 and entered the Global MBA Program at KUBS, and then the corporate world in South Korea in 2013.

In your opinion, what are your main professional and personal achievements?
I think my main personal achievement is remaining open-minded and fearless. This has always been my everyday challenge, and it is what enabled me to go on this journey of becoming a global citizen. As for my professional achievements, I would highlight the presentation I recently gave at Paris City Hall. It was a huge honor for me, and a lifetime opportunity, to outline Hyundai’s interests at such a high level.

I am very interested in knowing more about how you came to South Korea and how you entered the scholarship program you mentioned.
The program is designed for young leaders interested in expanding their talents to global horizons, by diving deep into the Korean corporate culture and becoming something like a global business bridge between South Korea and the rest of the world.
When I saw the announcement, what caught my attention was Hyundai’s suggestion that the participants complete the Global MBA in Seoul before joining the company. They had two reasons for this: first, they wanted applicants to become familiar with the country and culture, and second, they believe that future global leaders should have the best degrees that are available. I not only completed the MBA at KUBS but also the Corporate Entrepreneurship course at UCLA, moreover connected to Korean culture, and felt, therefore, well prepared for this new chapter of my life.

Please tell us more about your career stages at the Hyundai Motor Group?
I started in the marketing division with the brand strategy team. First, I was in charge of global brand performance analyses and marketing context auditing. This experience gave me an excellent overview of how habits, cultures, and customer needs differ in different countries, and how these differences affect brands. Later, I became a global brand ambassador, focused on aligning the brand strategies within countries with the global direction.
In 2016, we initiated the innovative project that finally allowed me to get back to my passion for entrepreneurship and ventures: I launched the first open call to startups in Silicon Valley. In 2017, I then joined a newly organized division dedicated to innovation business development, received a promotion, and initiated the first
accelerator partnerships at Hyundai in Europe.

Could you tell us more about your current project with accelerators in Europe?
We partner with leaders in innovation development in a city or at the regional level, to seek solutions that transform the way people live and move. Each city has a unique vision on how to become “smart”, and it is, therefore, very interesting to have all these dialogues on what technologies and services are needed to make these visions come true. Right now, we run programs in the UK and in France, and there is more to come soon.

In your experience, how is it possible to combine scientific research and professional career development?
Well, the good news is that it is very possible, but it is also challenging both emotionally and physically.
The most obvious answer is that disruptive technology comes out of science; we can talk about the examples endlessly. In the startup world you can pursue both, either by developing technology yourself and then transferring it to business, or by becoming a business developer transferring the technology into a business while simultaneously conducting your own research.
If you ask about my personal approach, I have been trying to work on scientific research projects throughout my career, I still have not given up, and I have made some progress. First, however, I think it is important to be realistic, because when developing your career, you have official responsibilities, and can only dedicate your free time to your research. Second, I believe it is essential to set up your goals honestly: what do you want, how badly do you want it, WHY it is important to you, and, finally, is it going to bring value to this world? If your motivation and envisaged value to the world (that is, your mission) are defined, then the good news is yes, you can combine scientific and professional activities.
Third, it is all about finding the process you feel comfortable with. I think in most cases your career and research will be connected at some point. I can share my personal experience here (but if anyone who reads this interview knows a better approach, please contact me, that would be insightful): I always make sure to keep notes and write down all hypotheses and validations. I usually take notes on my phone, with no delay, and spend some time each weekend to organize my ideas. It is also essential to sketch the articles you would like to elaborate on further; I consider this an investment in my bank of future articles. To make progress in research, it is vital to forget about being a perfectionist, as your career gives you an enormous amount of ideas and inspiration, which you can however easily get lost in if you do not capture things immediately.
Last but not least, there are lots of opportunities to contribute to science via conferences, webinars, and co-authorships. These are small but significant steps. As for me, I try to support the Triple Helix Association and attend the THA conferences (2015 in China, 2017 in South Korea). Unfortunately, I sometimes miss the events: my proposal for the XVI THA Conference in Manchester in 2018 as accepted, but I had to skip the event due to a business trip. It was, however, still very helpful, because I received feedback on my proposal and am working on the article now. As another example, I could not attend the THA Conference in Dubai, but we nevertheless organized a webinar about smart cities.
So, yes, it is possible to do scientific research at the same time as you pursue your career. However, if you want to receive a scientific degree, then I believe you need to be ready to leave the business aside and dedicate yourself fully to the research. That is the moment when you can add value to the scientific process, with practical observations and validated hypotheses, and that is therefore the time for you to make a choice and focus on perfecting your research.

You know the Triple Helix concept very well. In your opinion, would it work in South Korea? Are there specific cultural and historical features that need to be considered in order to implement the THC in South Korea?
Well, this is a tricky question.
I think that the TH theory needs to be seen from many different cultural and historical aspects. South Korea is a miracle; it is an emerging, technology-emphasizing phenomenon. The mechanisms that are in play between government, academy, and industry (I am not saying “business” here, on purpose) have been working in a very successful way over the last six decades.
If we take the “classical” TH concept, we can find many separate successful examples in South Korea. However, if I may point out the “big picture”, I would emphasise the importance of collaborations between the public and private sector, as well as between SMEs and industrial players. From that perspective, South Korea has still a lot of potential for improving all aspects related to networking and collaboration.
Networking and collaboration represent the connection between “formal” and “informal”, and are essential factors linking the different elements of the TH framework together. The TH concept has been developed based on a “Western” point of view, and I think that some socio-cultural aspects have not been emphasized enough, as they simply seem “natural” to Western societies; thus, in my opinion, it is crucial for South Korea’s further progress to focus more on developing those connecting elements.

Last but not least, what are your professional plans and dreams?
I see myself as a bridge between science, technology, and business; moreover, I am working between the East and the West, introducing disruptive ideas to the corporate world, while defending corporate interests in front of startups. This is something I am excited about – multidisciplinary findings, multicultural environments, globalism, disruption, negotiations, and teamwork, to improve the way people live and move.
This is why my approach perfectly fits the definition of the open innovation business development, and I would like to continue this path and further broaden my
international experience. I believe that with the right attitude, an open-minded philosophy, and discipline, I can achieve everything I want.
I wish to see myself as a global expert in smart city development with a rich network, a successful woman, and a happy human being who does not forget that true values need to be based on a human-centered approach.


Published by the Triple Helix Association  –  ISSN 2281-4515


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