Beedie hosts fifth annual Innovation Conference

Jan 23, 2015
John Deighton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, presented research to Beedie School of Business faculty at the 2015 CMA Innovation Conference.

John Deighton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, presented research to Beedie School of Business faculty at the 2015 CMA Innovation Conference.

A firm’s technological capabilities can moderate the negative relationship between host country and foreign entry and expansion in the face of technological disasters – and by patenting their technology a firm can help further mitigate the effects of these disasters.

This was just one of the revelations pertaining to innovation discussed at the fifth annual Beedie Innovation Conference. The event, hosted by the Beedie CMA Innovation Centre and held on January 19 at the Segal Graduate School, allowed Beedie School of Business researchers to share, connect and learn from each other’s work and ideas in the field of innovation, and featured a series of research presentations from Beedie faculty and PhD students.

“The Innovation Conference very much revolves around the concept of open innovation,” said Blaize Horner Reich, Dean of the Beedie School of Business. “Many people are invited, there are many different topics, and there is open discussion – we take ideas not fully formed and we work on them with the presenter. A lot of great ideas come out of this conference.”

Beedie PhD student Simon Pek revealed fascinating insights into the relationship between technological disasters and technological capabilities in a presentation of his paper, “Innovation and technological disasters”. The research, conducted in partnership with Beedie Associate Professor Chang Hoon Oh, examines the impact of industrial disasters on foreign entry and expansion, and whether a firm’s technological capabilities help it overcome potential negative outcomes in the face of these disasters.

The event also welcomed two CMA Centre Visiting Scholars, Professor John Deighton, Harvard University, and Hope Jensen Schau, Associate Dean at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management.

Deighton’s presentation, “Does privacy regulation affect the path of data‐driven innovation?” reflects his research on user innovation in social media and marketing, particularly in the anonymity and identity in these processes.

His paper examined the personal data ecosystem, which has established a system of firms that collects and applies data about individuals on behalf of sellers to the tasks of finding and cultivating buyers.

Perhaps surprisingly, his research indicated that even in the face of the Internet and social media the US Post Office still plays an important role in this network – with the ability to detect consumer responses taking priority over speed. He did, however, provide a series of steps that the Post Office would have to take were it to become competitive with Google.

“Innovation lies in the hands of those with the best data, the best analytics, and the imagination to use the data to mutual consumer and marketer benefit,” Deighton summarized.

Schau, whose research focuses on how consumers use technology and how the technology shapes the users, particularly within communities, discussed her paper, “When We Make Magic: Collaborative Innovation and Value Creation”.

She explained that while theories of consumption overwhelmingly assume an individual actor, it is in reality often collective. Citing Netflix as a leader in collaborative consumption methods, she also discussed innovative uses of technology beyond the parameters in which it was originally intended. One example of this practice is the Braille Institute modifying Google Glass units to improve the vision of people afflicted by degenerative eye conditions.

Beedie Post Doctoral Fellow Jon Thomas presented his research examining the commercialization strategy of MIT’s star scientist, Robert Langer. Langer utilizes US patent law in an interesting manner, often filing a patent application without knowing if the science will be successful or not. Through strategic use of continuations to extend the patent application, he ensures that he does not lose the priority date of the patent.

Langer often utilizes unorthodox commercialization methods, and indeed has started over 30 firms throughout this career to commercialize his technology. His success, however is unparalleled: he has over 1000 patents granted around the world; his patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 250 companies; and he is the most cited engineer in history.

Associate Professors Elicia Maine and Stephanie Bertels also presented, with Maine discussing her paper, “Commercializing Science: Strategies, Business Models, and Organizational Innovation,” while Bertels examined context based strategy making, a study that is part of her overarching project on embedding sustainability into organizational culture.

Meanwhile, PhD student Brian Gallagher presented his interview study on connections between indigenous identities and entrepreneurial practices in Australia, while fellow PhD student Karen Robson discussed unsanctioned use of intellectual property and when it would be inappropriate for firms to take legal action.

For more information on the CMA Centre for Innovation, visit

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