- IMD Business School
Alumni Stories · Disruption - Digital

Redesigning what it means to be innovative

November 2018

Yelena Tagiyeva attended the Disruptive Innovation program to help her make the right decisions when setting up her yoga and mindfulness training website and teaching programs. It helped her better understand how best to incorporate innovation into the business.  

Yelena Tagiyeva is passionate about mindfulness and yoga, which she has practiced for 15 years, and has a love of teaching. It was while working as a senior manager in the strategic planning department of a large energy company that she decided she wanted to develop her own mindfulness & yoga teaching project. Having already completed an MBA, joining IMD’s Disruptive Innovation program seemed like the next logical step.

“My teaching project idea was to represent mindfulness and yoga in the most modern form and make it available for all and curious people who need support in their stressful daily lives,” says Yelena. “I was able to use this program as a means of very effectively re-designing my own vision of being innovative while doing what I love.”

The online IMD program helps prepare participants to live and lead in a world characterized by innovation. It sets out and helps to address the challenge of being prepared as a leader when considering the big changes, we are likely to see in the future, and how to channel innovation into the business and its culture.

The course lasts five weeks, is comprised of four to six hours per week, and includes consultation with a one-to-one coach. The course aims to bring together the best of both worlds to online programs: the classroom feeling of real interaction, combined with the flexibility of online learning

This combination worked well for Yelena: “The program is very flexible, with a platform that’s easy to navigate and which, along with the discussion room, you can log into and out of anytime, add comments or read something, as well as watch videos.”

The entrepreneur explains that the online interaction with a group of fellow participants to implement weekly tasks also gave her a feeling of working in a team. “The program enables you to develop the skill of intercultural distance communication, while the personal coach provides you with great advice and food for thought, which I found always constructive and exceptionally useful,” says Yelena.

Yelena says some of the program’s tasks such as the S-curve approach, business model canvas and other individual tasks such as putting in place an implementation plan and testing and developing her idea, has given her the right tools to set up her business.

Yelena runs teacher trainings and has recently launched four weekly classes for students in Vienna and nearby Moedling. The short courses are designed to be concise and easily accessible, inspired by modern teaching programs from branches not necessarily connected with yoga or meditation.

One of the learnings gained from the program at IMD that Yelena implemented into her business was to launch an Instagram campaign  comprised of cartoon strips containing photos of her, which represented the modern approach to organizing a teaching career.

“I just started to post this playful and funny comic story about a teacher who wishes to fulfil her dreams. On the deeper level this story is all about flexibility, adaptation, attention to customers’ problems and the idea that an innovative approach can be applied in every industry and every activity.”

Overall, says Yelena, the Disruptive Innovation program can help change how we approach our work, the handling of ideas, searching for inspiration in other industries, and understanding that invention and innovation are different concepts.

“I would definitely recommend the program, while advising that to gain such a shift in thinking I would recommend participants invest time in the tasks and approach it with some clear ideas in mind,” says Yelena , “for as Rita Gunther McGrath said: ‘Effective innovation begins with a clear definition of where it should be focused’.”

Find out more about Disruptive Innovation.