The SEV Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership

The SEV Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership (SEV CECL) was established in July 2018 at Alba Graduate Business School thanks to the founding donation of SEV (The Hellenic Federation of Enterprises).

Through its world-class research and stimulating dissemination, the SEV CECL aspires to be a force of excellence that will spread the values and practices of creative leadership in the Greek society and the rest of the world.

Its mission is to advance the generation and dissemination of cutting-edge knowledge about creative forms of leading in the third and fourth decades of the 21st century. 

The SEV Center of Excellence holds an annual series of stimulating discussions with distinguished researchers and scholars in order to disseminate to students, executives, and the larger society cutting-edge and management-relevant knowledge about creativity and leadership. 


Learn more about The Lead Creatively: Discussion Series


Establishing at Alba a Centre of Excellence about the interplay between creativity and leadership stemmed from three main factors:

The growth and prosperity of business organizations and the larger society in Greece in the next two decades require the masterful transformation of mindsets, practices, and structures towards more creative and flexible ways of thinking, learning, working, and collaborating. Creative forms of leadership can play an immensely positive role towards this direction.

The interactive effects of globalization, the network economy, and artificial intelligence will continue to make older, low-creativity forms of executive jobs obsolete. In the next two decades, the intersection of creativity and leadership is likely to define the core work and the core professional identity of our students and alumni.

Since 1992, when it was founded through the joint initiative of SEV and the Hellenic Management Association, Alba’s mission has been “to educate visionary leaders of tomorrow who will act as agents of change and help shape the future business world by pushing forward the frontiers of knowledge related to the management of business organizations, while making that knowledge relevant to practitioners. Generating and disseminating knowledge represent our twin objectives.”
A quarter-of-a-century later, we can best serve our ever-inspirational mission by focusing a substantial part of our research, teaching, and executive development on the interplay between creativity and leadership and its transformative impact on the work and the world of the future.



What is a Center of Excellence?


Why a Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership?


Since 2009 and during an extremely adverse decade for the education, the economy, and the society in Greece, Alba adapted boldly and proactively by creating springboards of research and teaching excellence in the areas of creativity and leadership.

This effort has resulted in a rich stream of research activities, academic courses, and executive development programs that today permeate the identity and operations of the School. Our work in this area has received international recognition of the highest caliber, including:

Research: our research in the areas of creativity and leadership has received two of the most prestigious honors in the international field of management research:

  • In 2016, the article “Creative Leadership: A Multi-Context Conceptualization” co-authored by Professor Charalampos Mainemelis was the finalist for the 2015 Best Article Award of The Academy of Management Annals, which is ranked as #1 journal in the world in the category “Management” by ISI/Thomson.
  • In 2011, the article “Stealing Fire: Creative Deviance in the Evolution of New Ideas” authored by Professor Charalampos Mainemelis was awarded the 2010 Best Article Award of The Academy of Management Review, which is ranked as #1 journal in the world in the category “Business” by ISI/Thomson.

Teaching: in 2015 Alba was awarded the MBA Innovation Award by the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the global accrediting body of MBA degrees. AMBA’s announcement stated that “The award was in recognition of the uniqueness and impact of the innovative approach of Creative Expression in Business in The Alba MBA.”

The award acknowledged two components of the MBA program: the core Creativity & Innovation course (taught by Professor Mainemelis) and the capstone course Management Acts: A Theatrical Integration (taught by Professor Epitropaki in collaboration with Professors Nikolopoulou and Sanchez-Coldberg from Deree’s Frances Rich School of Fine & Performing Arts).



Creative Leadership explained by Dr. Mainemelis, Director of SEV Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership 


The SEV Center of Excellence supports the efforts of resident Alba faculty and visiting fellows in performing world-class basic research in the areas of creativity and leadership. Our basic research output comprises books, journal articles, and conference presentations.


Journal Articles

Book Chapters:



The SEV Center of Excellence supports the efforts of resident Alba faculty and visiting fellows in conducting high-quality applied research about the manifestations of creative leadership in organizations operating in Greece.

For 2018-2021 the Center will focus its applied research activities on the theme Blending Innovation and Tradition in Greece.

The purpose of this three-year program is to explore the dual role of creative leadership in the reverent rejuvenation of tradition and the ingenuous use of a tradition as a non-imitable source of innovation. 

Within the main theme the 2019-2018 cycle will focus on Creative Leadership and the Art of Curation.

Dr. Mainemelis on the applied research of the SEV Center of Excellence


Spreading novel trends, insights and practices

The purpose of the Center’s Annual Symposium is to spread novel, solid, and practice-relevant insights, trends, and practices about creative leadership.

The concept of the Annual Symposium combines three main elements: A fresh, cutting-edge idea on creative leadership, published in a premier international management research outlet no older than 5 years; Greek exemplars from carefully selected organizations who embody this idea; a stimulating dissemination of insights about the idea and its practical applications – and implications – around the globe and, most importantly, Greece.

The Symposium of the SEV Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership will take place on February 12, 2020, at the Lighthouse of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. The event coincides with the Center’s one-year anniversary and features distinguished speakers from Greece’s leading industries. 

This year’s theme: Building prosperous organizations through creative Leadership

This year’s Symposium is themed around how creative leadership can help build prosperous organizations.  

Participants and speakers at the Symposium will share practice-relevant insights about best practices related to creative leadership internationally and in Greece.  

But what exactly do creative leaders do? As recent research suggests, depending on the characteristics of the business and professional context in which companies operate, creative leadership can appear in one of the following shapes or forms:

As facilitating. This is the common form of creative leadership across most industry sectors, whereby leaders tend to facilitate the creativity of the individuals and teams they manage.

As directing. This type of creative leadership is common in sectors where the creative identity of the product/service is key and creative leaders generate themselves a creative vision and direct others towards its materialization.

As integrating. In this type, creative leaders synthesize heterogeneous creative inputs into a final creative product or service. This form of creative leadership is more common in sectors where work is highly complex and interdependent.

Moreover, to monitor how creative leadership in Greece is delivered and practiced, the Center carries out an applied research to identify companies in Greece which:

(a) provide a work environment that systematically inspires and promotes creative behavior among a large number of their employees;

(b) offer products or services that carry the unique creative identity of a top leader or founder; or/and

(c)  produce complex products or services that integrate the creative work of various professionals. 

During the Symposium, participants will be exposed to the multifarious aspects of creative leadership in a variety of industries, from manufacturing to technology, to digital entrepreneurship, to creative economy (design, advertising, film production, fashion, film direction, gastronomy, etc.) and others, and will come to realize that, when done right, creative leadership can guarantee the growth, prosperity and longevity of companies and organizations.  

Download the Symposium's agenda (in Greek) here  and the speakers Bios here


Register Online


The Lead Creatively: Discussion Series is designed to stimulate discussions with distinguished researchers and scholars in order to disseminate to students, executives, and the larger society cutting-edge and management-relevant knowledge about creativity and leadership.  

The Lead Creatively: Discussion Series is hosted by the Center’s Director, Professor Mainemelis.

Upcoming events

May 14 | WORKSHOP: Coaching Others for Creative Performance and Adaptability

May 14 | The future of leadership: A conversation with Richard Boyatzis

Register to an upcoming event

Past events

October 23 |  Leading the digital transformation” by Dr. Gianvito Lanzolla, Professor of Strategy, Cass Business School, City, University of London.

What does digital transformation mean for leading in the digital age? In this talk, building on his research with several born-digital companies which have successfully scaled up and with incumbents companies which have embraced the digital transformation, first, Professor Lanzolla highlighted the fundamental changes that the pervasive adoption of digital technologies trigger in a company’s skillset, culture, incentives and structures. Then, he discussed the implications and the new imperatives for leading people and organizations in the digital age.

Septembe26 | Strategy in times of digital change: simple rules and impromptu action by Dr. Kyriakos Kyriakopoulos, Professor of Strategy and Marketing, Alba Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece

Facing increasing complexity, managers need to simplify decision making: simple rules, few clear guidelines (e.g., setting priorities, seizing opportunities, exit decisions) foster swift and concerted action. Rather than predicting it, companies need to discover the future as they improvise small, unplanned steps to market surprises. While in the past, firms have been addicted to routine behavior, complicated decision tools, and elaborate plans, they begin to discover what has been always the norm in jazz bands: educated spontaneity, active listening, common aims, ‘yes-and’  coordination, and rotational leadership.

May 23 | Prudence and Creativity: An Odd Pair? by Dr Haridimos Tsoukas, The Columbia Ship Management Professor of Strategic Management, Department of Business and Public Administration, University of Cyprus & Distinguished Research Environment Professor of Organization Behavior, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK

In his speech Dr. Haridimos Tsoukas  presented examples from the business community and talked about how a prudent leader can be or should be a creative leader.


April 12 | Outreach and Creativity: Libraries, Archives, and Museums by Dr Maria Georgopoulou, Director of the Gennadius Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

Historically libraries have been repositories of knowledge, secure places for the preservation of books, manuscripts and more. How do libraries adapt to the newly available flood of information via the internet in order to remain relevant? The role of the curator is crucial in figuring out ways to showcase the material through old and new technologies. Through digitization, exhibitions, and public programs the curator can give new life to a traditional institution and provide the public with a variety of inspirational events that instill new life to the institution.

Dr Georgopoulou’s talk  offered a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities involved in rejuvenating traditional organizational structures through a combination of digital technology, managerial extroversion, and curational creativity


March 22 | | "Creativity and Aesthetics: The Case of Michelin-starred Chefs”  by Dr Marc Stierand, Associate Professor of Service Management & Director of the Institute of Business Creativity at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, HESSO/University ofAssociate Profe Applied Sciences Western Switzerland.

Aesthetics play a critical role in the development of new products, services, and customer  or user experiences. Creative leaders rely on their aesthetic sensibility to integrate multiple and often competing imperatives into novel and compelling solutions.  Drawing on his extensive research in the world of international haute cuisine, Dr. Marc Stierand shared his reflections on how Michelin-starred chefs engage in intricate forms of aesthetic composing that express their unique creative identity.


February 19 | Press Conferece 


The governance of the SEV Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership consists of a tripartite steering committee comprised by a representative member of SEV, the Dean of Alba Graduate Business School, and the Director of the Center.

The members of the steering committee are:


Charalampos Mainemelis Director of the SEV Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership
Professor of Organizational Behavior

Dr. Charalampos (Babis) Mainemelis is Professor of Organizational Behavior at Alba Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece, and Director of The SEV Centre of Excellence in Creative Leadership. Since 2004 he has been Visiting Professor at Porto Business School. From 2001 to 2009 he was Assistant Professor at London Business School, where he still teaches occasionally. His research focuses on creativity and its relations with leadership, learning, play, time, and deviance. His work has been published in leading academic journals such as the Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Annals, Research in Organizational Behavior, Leadership Quarterly, Human Relations, Journal of Management Inquiry, Creativity Research Journal, and the Journal of Organizational Change Management. His research has been widely profiled in the popular press, including the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Forbes, and Kathimerini. He is the recipient of Academy of Management Review's Best Article Award (2010) and Outstanding Reviewer Award (2009 and 2014), and finalist of Academy of Management Annals's Best Article Award (2015). Professor Mainemelis has delivered graduate courses, executive education seminars, and public speeches in the USA, UK, South Africa, South Korea, Dubai, Kuwait, Oman, Greece, Portugal, France, Serbia, Netherlands, and Denmark. At ALBA, his “Creativity & Innovation” course was co-awarded the 2015 MBA Innovation Award by the Association of MBAs. He is a member of the Academy of Management, the American Psychological Association, the Creative Education Foundation and the European Group for Organizational Studies.

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Nicky Theodorou
Curator, SEV Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership
Angeliki Karavasili
Research Fellow, SEV Center of Excellence in Creative Leadership

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