Stephen Douglas




United States


Public Administration


Jan 2016 - Sep 2017

Twelve years’ professional experience, including: eight years leading multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural teams in conflict affected regions of Europe; four years as a diplomat in an international organisation; and six+ years in four political parties in three jurisdictions, spending one+ year as interim CEO of Northern Ireland’s then governing anti-sectarian party. A US citizen, born in Ireland, Stephen has degrees in history and political science from Trinity College Dublin, and in law from Cambridge University.

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Posted by: on September 15, 2017

The Oxford EMBA’s dead. Long live our Oxford EMBA

Last Friday we celebrated the approaching end of our Executive MBA in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre. On Sunday, I told the following story on LinkedIn (connect with me). Within hours it had accumulated over a thousand views: On Monday my Executive MBA Entrepreneurship Project partner (see my posts on Six secrets to success for a brilliant […]

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Posted by: on August 2, 2017

Palo Alto: Bringing Us Closer to Our Unknown Liquid Futures

We were in Palo Alto for the second last Entrepreneurship Finance module of our Oxford Saïd Executive MBA. The key questions we came to Palo Alto to answer were: Why do 50% of NASDAQ companies and 50% of the world’s US$100b+ companies come from this locality – Google Airbnb HP Lyft Uber Apple LinkedIn Adobe […]

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Posted by: on June 28, 2017

Marconi’s crystal and the cat’s whisker

I’m 10% happy that now, having completed the third last module of my Executive MBA at Oxford University, I only have four assignments to do. I’m 95% very sad, though, as the necessity of travelling to/from and being in Oxford for the past 16 months has become a habit it shall be hard to break. I […]

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Posted by: on May 23, 2017

Why you can never win in Oxford negotiations (Part I)

In our Oxford University Executive MBA elective “Negotiating Strategy and Practice”, we conducted eight different negotiations based on case studies with different sets of and coalitions of our classmates. The results were monitored using software. Each of us rated the others whom we had been negotiating with on several continuums (yielding; compromising; forcing; problem solving; […]

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Posted by: on April 20, 2017

FOMO or as a pre-emptive strike? Why foreign firms must be in China

Before the China Oxford University Executive MBA module, I wondered: Should I take extra time off work to sight-see? A wise old-hand advised: Sure, if you have any vacation-days from work remaining. After 14 EMBA months; 14 modules; 32 written assignments (averaging 3,000 words and 50 footnotes each); and having read about 2m words from […]

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Posted by: on February 28, 2017

Six Secrets to Success for a Brilliant Oxford Entrepreneurship Project Pitch (Pa...

1. ID brilliant, agreeable, like-minded team members This one is easy. I heard one classmate’s brief presentation of another classmate’s plans to use machine learning in her project about predicting global water scarcity. I wanted immediately to be part of their team. My role as Chief Business Officer is to develop a market for our […]

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Posted by: on February 27, 2017

Six Secrets to Success for a Brilliant Oxford Entrepreneurship Project Pitch (Part 1)

One evening while I was a post-graduate student at Georgetown in the late nineties, some humbled MBAs called to my door. They were selling Christmas cards for their MBA entrepreneurship project. Partly because of this experience, I’d dreaded the prospect of doing an MBA: would I have to sell Christmas cards door-to-door to prove to […]

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Posted by: on January 17, 2017

What’s the adjacent possible?

I didn’t get the feeling, as my Executive MBA at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School began exactly one year ago, that many of my classmates intended to use the EMBA course as a career transition mechanism. Yet, a transformation in many of us has taken place over the past twelve months. From business case studies in […]

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Posted by: on December 7, 2016

What’s Inevitable About Innovation? (Part II)

Reading the FT yesterday, I noticed the following paragraph in a story about a letter Apple wrote to regulators recently (attempting to sculpt laws governing nascent innovations and markets is just as important to innovators and inventors as the technology itself, so we have been learning – see “What’s Inevitable About Innovation? (Part I)”): “…Despite […]

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Posted by: on December 5, 2016

What’s Inevitable About Innovation? (Part I)

Now, during this ninth module, we started: “Strategy and Innovation” – the first elective course of my Executive MBA at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. Our “Strategy and Innovation” module follows a by-now familiar pattern of learning. First, we’re convinced that “Innovation” is a natural product of an equilibrium that mysteriously coalesces in the space […]

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