To provide students with an easily accessible online version of their courses, universities are better placed in a network society in this new digital age. If for nothing, this pandemic has taught us to be localized, less wasteful, more attuned to ecological footprint, comradeship, and the importance of micro scale.

Also, the new ideas for cities of the future in terms of density and spread of people and infrastructure, new office environments, and new public places are going to be omnipresent in any future planning and development processes. New theories, new data, new approaches – all of that is necessary in order to produce new resilient and just technological environments.

Universities and college campuses such as KTH – Royal Institute of Technology and MIT are places where students study, socialise and live in close proximity to each other. These campuses are also the nexus for social and cultural hubs where students are brought together from all corners of the world where social and human capital is produced.

Due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus and the unprecedented impact it has had on our society, they had to adapt to teaching, research and networking online and most importantly, to do everything they can to protect the lives of their students and faculty.

Maximising online learning and teaching, developing robust but flexible systems, gathering information, and applying the best practices have been some of the hallmarks of this difficult period, as well as great collegial and comradeship throughout the days. “The higher education sector has withstood pandemics and turbulent economic times in the past and it will withstand them again, preparing to be adaptable, resilient and sustainable in the long run,” says Dr Tigran Haas, Director of the Centre for the Future of Places (CFP) at KTH.

Impacting Dynamically

Dr Tigran had studied Architecture and Urbanism in the USA, Former Yugoslavia, and Croatia, as well as in Sweden. He had also completed postdoctoral fellowships in Urbanism, Sustainable Planning, Information Technology and Urban Form at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Media Lab, UC Berkeley at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He was a guest professor at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM) as well.

Dr Tigran has written over 100 scholarly articles, 55 conference papers, 10 books, four research anthologies, and have been involved in teaching in international educational programs such as Real Estate Management, Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure, Spatial Planning, Strategic Management, Urban Planning and Design along with Sustainable Urban Planning and Design (SUPD). He has also helped in setting up an MBA program in Croatian, Zagreb and founding and running the One-year Advanced Master’s Program in Urbanism Studies (MUSE).

To be an impactful leader, Dr Tigran believes that the ability to learn from the past and from mistakes, strong communication skills and building sustainable relationships at all levels is important. He stresses on listening, understanding, and doing what is necessary along with maintaining optimistic approach towards risk taking to a specific degree. “We need to read people and adapt to their behaviour,” shares Dr Tigran. It is one of the necessary tasks in the organization that helps in anticipating problems. Thinking outside of the box, eliminating threats, and assessing psychopathic personalities is crucial to critical decision making.

One of the biggest hurdles is the environment at the micro, meso and the macro scales. It is noted that macro brings the immediate one with all the challenges of competence, tasks, staff, rapid decisions, administration, and leadership. “Optimism and assessment of the risk factors should be the ultimate factor of a research-oriented company’s chairperson,” thinks Dr Haas.

Mastering and anticipating the problems as they arise, and solving them immediately, often doing it outside the box, using intuition, fast decision making, improvisation and decisive time measures, are some of the key elements of a good leader.

Finally, eliminating the psychopathic personalities that might become hurdles for the working environment and business operations by disabling their destructive and negative operations is a must. This is one of the key hurdles for the whole research team and the business world, which is often wrongly side-tracked, forgotten and underestimated.

A Guiding Light

Roadblocks will be many from personal choices, communication, decisions and projects along with program work that can bring many known as well as unknown factors. The key thing is a tight organization with good leadership and delegation of responsibilities where the chemistry functions and all are onboard towards a common goal and where mutual benefit must prevail, availing individual gain and vanity.

Too many leaders see those they lead just as screws in a machine that needs some oil at times or little bytes in a software system and rarely take the time to learn about them. “Continuous learning and never losing your enthusiasm are the key to being successful,” informs Dr Tigran.

A fresh and enthusiastic approach is necessary all the way as leading others is both a science and an art, as KTH’s logo and motto depicts about Science and Art. “A science, in that good leadership requires some knowledge of human nature; an art because there will always be the need for creativity”, as somebody once said.

After the five-year sequel of the Centre, Dr Tigran is interested in seeing what the future has in store for him and the institute. “We will see what the future has installed for us, that is where the next focus will lie in the coming five years, either continuing in the path we have set or turning the ship into another, slightly less (un)charted destination,” he describes.

The main issue that needs to be addressed now is that the cities are getting more complex and the challenges are rising on a daily basis with multiple converging crises. This situation demands answers for new theories, tools, and approaches. “The Centre will try to answer these calls as it goes into the next period,” concludes Dr Tigran.

Dr Tigran’s Awards and Recognitions:

CEO Today Europe Awards 2020
ACQ5 Global Awards 2018-2019
CV Magazine Excellence Award 2017
Finance Monthly CEO Awards 2019
CIO Views Monthly Awards 2019
CEO Views 2020 Awards
Silicon Review 2018 Awards

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