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Department of Management

Dr Bill Russell

Dr Bill Russell

Senior Lecturer


 +44 (0) 1392 726464

 Streatham Court 0.54


Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK


Bill leads the Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Digital Era modules on the Exeter Executive MBA and MBA modules, as well as a range of innovation centred Masters modules working with organizations such as VISA, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and the Bank of England. He is a keen advocate of the “Flipped Classroom” teaching method, and focuses on experiential learning. He has recently published Vigilant Innovation (2020) and Lean CX: How to differentiate at low cost and least risk (April 2021 - with co-authors).

Bill worked in globally focused marketing, commercial and Board positions for 27 years. He joined the Centre for Innovation and Service Research (ISR) at the University of Exeter Business School  in 2012 from Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, where he had been a Board director for 12 years, responsible for sales and marketing activities. During his time at Emerald revenue, profits and staffing levels more than doubled. In addition to a complete overhaul and repositioning of the brand, he established and managed a global network of offices which drove significant growth, particularly in Asian markets.

He secured a strong grounding in B2B marketing and branding working with Castrol oil. Highlights included managing Castrol’s international motorsport programme with Mercedes, Jaguar, Toyota and Honda, and operating as Sales and Marketing Director for Castrol Spain in Madrid. He has also been a Sales Director for the US based Hallmark group, responsible for customers such as Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons and Boots. He has worked commercially in over 50 countries.

In the Academic sphere he has been a Visiting Professor at University College London, and has served on AACSB’s strategic Committee for Issues in Management Education (CIME). Recent projects have included establishing the University of Exeter’s business focused Degree Apprenticeship programmes working as Director of Executive Education. He engages in knowledge transfer projects including KTPs, and the Future Focus project.


  • BA (History), University of Nottingham
  • PhD (Innovation Management), University of Exeter - No corrections

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Research interests

Bill’s research has focused on how the Higher Education publishing sector has already transformed itself from a paper based world, to the flexible provision of digital journals, books and analytic services. To compete and win in the expanding  -  and fragmenting  -  global HE environment, publishers need to innovate and respond to changing stakeholder needs.

Through over 60 confidential face to face interviews with CEOs, Directors and Managers at Elsevier, Wiley, Macmillan, T&F, Sage, Emerald, Cambridge University Press, Harvard Business School Publishing, Institute of Physics Publishing, and The Royal Society, Bill has explored how they sense and respond to innovation signals in their core markets, and identify opportunities beyond their core environments – the environments where disruptive challenges emerge and new opportunities develop.

Key findings include:

  • The importance of managing a portfolio of innovation and new product development opportunities across core, adjacent and transformative/peripheral environments
  • The high impact of the “Rapid Change Core” on activities “Beyond the Core”
  • Organisations with a workflow/service focus, rather than a product focus, explore opportunities more broadly, and using analytics to inform decisions more effectively, than more narrowly focused firms
  • Poor alignment of technology strategy, innovation/product development strategy and project management effectiveness is limiting the success of innovation initiatives
  • Organizational ambidexterity is a challenge for publishers

Please contact Bill to learn more

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Journal articles

R. Jamali H, Russell B, Nicholas D, Watkinson A (2014). Do online communities support research collaboration?. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 66(6), 603-622. Abstract.
Russell WE (2013). Have digital repositories come of age? the views of library directors. Webology, 10(2).
Rowlands I, Nicholas D, Russell B, Canty N, Watkinson A (2011). Social media use in the research workflow. Learned Publishing, 24(3), 183-195.
Nicholas D, Huntington P, Russell B, Watkinson A, Jamali HR, Tenopir C (2005). The Big Deal — ten years on. Learned Publishing, 18(4), 251-257. Abstract.

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External Engagement and Impact

External positions

  • HEA Fellow
  • FME Senior Fellow

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He teaches Innovation to Masters and MBA students, and Business to Business (B2B) Marketing on the Exeter MBA, as well as delivering Executive Education focussed on both Innovation and B2B Marketing and Commercial Strategy.



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