Allan O'Connor

Dr Allan O'Connor

Senior Lecturer

Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation, and Innovation Centre

Faculty of the Professions

I commenced my professional career in 1979 in mechanical engineering as a trainee with John Lysaght (Australia) Ltd, in Port Kembla, NSW. To support my studies I purchased a business at age 18 years. After leaving John Lysaght, I spent two years working as a professional musician, teaching and performing to support myself through Jazz studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Upon returning to engineering, I worked primarily in the small and medium enterprise sector developing and introducing new products, entering new markets, and expanding sales and business opportunities in both established and new business environments, primarily in the mechanical services (ventilation equipment) industry. As an accomplished Regional Sales Manager, I also commenced my own product and consulting businesses. Coupling practical industry experience with academic credentials, I now lecture in strategic opportunities and managing strategy and growth. Between 2008 and 2016 I had oversight of the Master of Applied Innovation and Entrepreneurship degree program at the University of Adelaide. Apart from the school of hard knocks, my academic qualifications in entrepreneurship include a Master in Enterprise Innovation and a PhD in the field of entrepreneurship education and public policy for economic development. My research involves inquiry at the intersections between entrepreneurship, innovation and socioeconomic development.

My research seeks to leverage my experience with SME management, business start-up and consulting (including product, market, industry, and innovation development) to examine the intersections between entrepreneurship, innovation and socioeconomic development. My main teaching interests are in the assessment of business opportunities, entrepreneurial strategy and developing research skills. Since 2012 I have co-authored the leading Asia Pacific entrepreneurship text book, 'Entrepreneurship: Theory, Process and Practice', with Professors Howard Frederick and Donald Kuratko.

In 2014/15 I led the development of the Australian Cluster Observatory and embarked on pioneering research into the entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Australia. My growing portfolio of more than fifty research publications including internationally peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, and research reports, stand as testament to the significance of my research agenda and contribution to the entrepreneurship research field. Since joining the Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre in 2008, I have regularly raised grant and consulting income to ground various research projects that have led to research reports for government and other stakeholders. In application, my research is designed to inform policy-makers, regional development agencies and the practicing entrepreneur with respect to creating and managing the resources necessary to foster and develop innovation and entrepreneurship. My research experience includes working with public and private sector organisations and serving as project manager, researcher and co-author for the Westpac Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Australia project in 2004 and 2005.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2008 - 2016 Academic Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Post Graduate) The University of Adelaide
    2007 - 2008 Entrepreneurship Lecturer Swinburne University of Technology
    2000 - 1997 Sales Manager - Victoria Chemical Fume Handling Equipment
    2000 - 2008 Executive Consultant / Managing Director Systems, Marketing & Enterprise Innovations
    1996 - 1997 Sales Engineer / Sales Manager Directflo Air Distribution
    1994 - 1996 Managing Director Fans & Systems Components
    1987 - 1994 Sales Engineer / Victorian Sales Manager / Regional Sales Manager / Sales Manager Pitstock Pty Ltd / Howden Fan Company
    1980 - 1987 Musician (Teaching and Performance) Self-employed
    1978 - 1985 Inspector / Trainee Mechanical Engineer / Mechanical Draftsperson John Lysaght Australia
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Amount
    2015 Award Dean’s Commendation for Excellence in Research University of Adelaide
    2014 Award Dean’s Commendation for Excellence in Research University of Adelaide
    2009 Research Award Best Paper (Runner-up) using Qualitative Methods AGSE Regional Research Exchange
    2006 Research Award Best Paper in Entrepreneurial Education AGSE Regional Research Exchange
    1999 Recognition Most Outstanding Student in 'Innovation, Creativity & Leadership' Swinburne University of Technology
    1999 Recognition Best Student in 'Product Development & Life Cycles Swinburne University of Technology
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2003 - 2009 Swinburne University of Technology Australia PhD
    Swinburne University of Technology Australia Master of Enterprise Innovation
    Swinburne University of Technology Australia Graduate Diploma in Airconditioning
    Swinburne University of Technology Australia Graduate Diploma in Management
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    2013 Academic Leaders University of Adelaide Australia
    2010 Teaching @ University University of Adelaide Australia
    2010 Exploring Supervision University of Adelaide Australia

• O’Connor, A. & Reed, G. 2014/15 Study of the Adelaide Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for SA Department of State Development ($15,000 awarded).

• O’Connor, A. & Corral de Zubielqui, G. 2014/15 Development of the Australian Cluster Observatory for SA Department of State Development, ($150,000 awarded).

• O’Connor A., Omarova, A. & Elsey, B. 2014 Evaluation of the South Australian Servitisation Program for SA Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy ($10,000).

• O’Connor, A., Corral de Zubielqui, G. Li, H. & Dissanayake, M. 2012/13 Report preparation and delivery for Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy, on ‘Entrepreneurial Characteristics Filters and Determinants’ ($23,000).

• O’Connor, A. 2009/10 Department of Trade and Economic Development, ‘Creative Industries Course Development’ ($30,000)

• O’Connor, A. 2009 Onkaparinga Council, The Status of Social Enterprise ($3,000 awarded)

• P. Seet, A. O’Connor & V. Kangaslahti 2009 Business School Ngee-Ann Adelaide Education Centre Research Grant. The Impact of Business Incubation on Entrepreneurial Competencies – A Comparative Study ($10,000)

• O’Connor, A. & Buckley P. 2007/8 ‘Teaching entrepreneurship across disciplines’ funding from the Learning and Teaching Performance Fund.

• Langworthy, A., Cunningham, E. & O’Connor, A. 2006, ‘Enterprise and student aspirations in the outer east’, Swinburne Strategic Initiative Grant. Research conducted in conjunction with the Centre for Regional Development as an Associate Investigator.

• Contributed to the high growth business policy study commissioned by the GEM Global Executive team conducting the Australian qualitative data collection and reporting in 2005.

• Hindle K. & O’Connor, A. 2004 and 2005, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Australia. Managed and conducted the Australian quantitative and qualitative research and co-authored the Australian GEM reports. Reports available at:

• O’Connor, A. 2004 ‘Recognising our Potential’ program stage and development evaluation and profile paper. Project with the Victorian government Department of Treasury and Finance.

• O’Connor, A. & Yamin, S. 2004, Swinburne Synergy Grant, 2004. Industry sponsored quantitative research on organisational innovation. • O’Connor, A. & Ramos, J. 2003 Developed and delivered an innovative one week youth program on entrepreneurship, innovation, and commercialisation for Questacon, the National Centre for Science and Technology, Canberra.

Program Management Experience

  • Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UOA)
  • Graduate Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation (UOA)
  • Graduate Diploma in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UOA)
  • Master of Applied Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UOA)
  • Master of Applied Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Advanced) (UOA)

Course Teaching/Convener Experience (Courses are Postgraduate studies unless otherwise indicated):

  • ‘Project in Entrepreneurship’
  • ‘Managing Strategy & Growth’
  • ‘Entrepreneurial Strategy and Resourcing’ (Undergraduate)
  • ‘Opportunity Assessment’ (Both Postgraduate and Undergraduate)
  • ‘Opportunity Evaluation’(Both Postgraduate and Undergraduate)
  • ‘The Business Plan and Business Unit Strategy’
  • ‘Management and Innovation’
  • ‘Managing the Growing Business’
  • Qualitative research techniques within a project course
  • ‘New Venture Development and Management’ (Undergraduate)

Teaching Publication (Major text book)

  • Frederick, Howard H., O’Connor, Allan J. & Kuratko, Donald F. (2016), Entrepreneurship Theory, Process, Practice, 4th Asia-Pacific Edition., Cengage Learning , South Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
  • Frederick, Howard H., O’Connor, Allan J. & Kuratko, Donald F. (2013), Entrepreneurship Theory, Process, Practice, 3rd Asia-Pacific Edition., Cengage Learning , South Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2014 - ongoing Member TCI Oceania TCI (The Competitiveness Institute): The global practitioners network for competitiveness, clusters and innovation Australia
    2009 - ongoing Member Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange (ACERE) Queensland University of Technology Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Country
    2015 - ongoing Editor Small Business Economics: Special Issue on Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, Australia
    2011 - 2015 Editor Integrating Innovation: South Australian Entrepreneurship Systems and Strategies Australia
    2006 - 2007 Editor Special Issue Journal of Futures Studies, on Foresight, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Australia
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83130188
  • Email:
  • Fax: 8313 7512
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Nexus 10 Tower
  • Room: 5 33
  • Org Unit: Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre

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