Nino Lortkipanidze, Chief Innovation Officer, THE Crossroads

After graduation from the Caucasus School of Business with a BBA in Corporate Finance, Nino has accumulated up to 12 years of work experience in financial & strategic management across different industries and sectors and over 8 years of Experience in holding Top Management Positions. She has been shaped as an experienced Business Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in Strategic, Operational, Project, and Financial Management. 

Having emigrated to the Tech Industry, Nino has brought her knowledge and experience to support the development of the Georgian Startup Ecosystem. She holds an in-depth knowledge of Lean management, which is crucial for the successful management of both, companies and projects. Simultaneously having an extensive experience in Corporate Finance, Taxation, and Operational Management, she is skilled in effective utilization of resources and process optimization. 

Being a tireless advocate of Women’s rights, equality, and empowerment, Nino has intended to contribute to the creation of new opportunities, especially for female entrepreneurs and startup founders, she is an active mentor to women around the world and a go-to expert in the field of women empowerment in Tech world. 

In a recent chat with the team of Digital First Magazine, Nino Lortkipanidze reveals the three dominating influences in management consultancy and talks about her role as a CIO at THE Crossroad. She also shares her thoughts on the importance of women’s inclusion in the tech industry, personal mantra for success, and a lot more. Following are the excerpts from the interview.

According to you, what are the three dominating influences in management consultancy today?

We can keep listing the influences in management consultancy eternally, but the 3 main aspects remain unchanged. to ensure the consultancy is effective and efficient we need COMMON WILL, EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION, and SPECIFIC DELIVERABLES. No change can be implemented without a high level of dedication and common will. Once the will is there and the change is planned, no significant change can be adopted without open communication cross-company. And last but not least, once the strategy and plan are there, and it is communicated, unless there is a specific person or a team responsible for owning the task, it is never implemented with a necessary level of commitment. 

Nino, you are the Women-In-Tech Ambassador for Georgia for almost a year now. Please tell us about your work and take on why women’s inclusion is important in technology.

At Women-In-Tech we believe that education is the fundament of everything and inclusion of women in education programs is essential for building a sustainable and inclusive future. This is why, our chapter has primarily concentrated on developing an education program. I big step ahead, is our collaboration with GIZ and Caucasus University on developing an Entry Level Penetration Testing course that will be accredited by the Ministry of Education in Georgia and will be available free of charge to women, who are motivated to move to the Tech Industry. On top of that, we have significantly raised awareness of women’s inclusion topics in the Tech industry. Today, I personally sit on most of the gender equality boards in Georgia and serve as a go-to person for women’s inclusion topics in the Tech industry. 

Apart from that, you are also the Chief Innovation Officer at THE Crossroads, a Global Startups Platform. Could you elaborate a bit more on your role? And what inspires you about this role?

The whole beauty of THE Crossroads is that it serves as a mediator between all the stakeholders of the startup ecosystem. Therefore, being a Chief Innovation Officer of THE Crossroads, means that you need to understand and speak the language of each and every stakeholder, including startups, investors, policy-makers etc. 

While this position is very demanding from the point of multi-tasking and multi-dimensional approach, it is also outstanding rewarding from the perspective of global network of superior professionals, who modify the industries and change the mindsets on daily basis. 

While working on the side with champions and opinion leaders and absolutely amazing people who breathe innovation, it is very inspiring to create more and build the future we all want to live in. 

What has been your biggest learning as an innovation leader over the last 12 months?

Innovation is everywhere, we just need to learn how to see it. 

What are your thoughts on the new working standards that the tech industry is imposing right now on professionals?

They are amazing! Yes, the conservative world has challenges in adapting to the new normal, but if you look at it from the perspective of an individual professional, it is an absolutely brilliant concept of flexible work schedule and freedom of choice of work-place. 

We need to understand, Tech industry is an industry that doesn’t have borders. We do not fall into any of the boxes and it is nothing short of cruelty to expect us to sit in 4 walls from 9 to 5. Our daily job is to create, improve and innovate – that can’t be done in gray walls.  

What is the biggest barrier to corporate innovation you’ve encountered and how did or are you overcoming it?

Mindset is usually the biggest barrier to innovation everywhere. In the Corporate world, I would say it’s corporate culture – i.e. mindset but on a corporate level. And the only bullet-prove way to overcome it, is to communicate openly and engage each and every member of the team – is it difficult? Yes, very. – Is it worth it? – Absolutely. 

In your opinion, what will be the key trends in innovation to watch out for in 2023?

I think the innovation is narrowing down. We no longer see complex solutions and holistic approaches, but rather one specific task being modified and innovative ways of implementing this specific task. I would love to see more holistic approaches, synergy effects, and cross-industry solutions. I also see a significant rise in market-places and in crypto-exchanges – these are the 2 hot topics as I have noticed.  

As an advocate of sustainability, what role will collaboration play to achieve the sustainable development goals?

KEY – unless we learn how to collaborate and optimize out spendings of resources, there is no change to build a truly sustainable future. We need circular economies, synergy effects, cross-industrial cooperation, etc. that’s exactly why I see as one of the solutions the holistic approaches and cross-industry solutions. 

Throughout your career, you have and continue to wear numerous hats and excel in all the roles. What is your secret mantra for being successful?

Hunger for development and uncontrollable curiosity is what brought me here today. And I still don’t consider myself to be successful yet – not according to my standards. There’s still so much that has to be done and achieved, I’m just starting. 

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring female professionals?

With a little bit of faith in yourself and a lot of dedication and hard work, you can get literally anywhere. The world is an amazing place to be and to create, just don’t give up and keep doing – everything else will sort itself out. 

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