FRAMING INNOVATION IN TIMES OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION.
The IE Initiative on Research & Policy of the Digital Economy is proud to conduct it first online symposium: Framing Innovation in Times of Digital Transformation.
This symposium seeks to convene the top scholars in the area of Innovation in Europe and industry experts to provide insights and help direct the conversation. It is an honor to have Dr. Annamaria Conti (HEC Lausanne), Dr. Andrea Fosfuri (Bocconi), Dr. Ammon Salter (Bath), Gianluca Favalli (IEE), Dr. Luis Diestre (IE), Dr. Martina Pasquini (IE), Dr. Konstantina Valogianni (IE), Eliana Garcés (Facebook) and Mike Bailey (Facebook) as the keynote speakers and Dr. Marco S. Giarratana (IE) as the moderator.
The objective of the symposium is to contribute to the conversation regarding Innovation and Digital Transformation by bringing top scholars and industry experts together. This convention is going to produce a high level of discussion regarding the implications for the research area, as well as the implications on the management of changes initiated by the Innovation activities.
The symposium also provides the participants with an opportunity to network. The networking activities present a chance to exchange ideas with scholars, policymakers, and industry experts who are interested in topics related to innovation, the digital economy, the new digital environment, as well as others related to the area.
The IE University Research Initiative on Policy and Management in the Digital Economy is gratefully funded by a two year unrestricted gift from Facebook Inc.
Annamaria Conti is an Associate Professor at HEC Lausanne and co-editor of the Journal of Economics & Management Strategy. Previously, she was Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at the Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. Professor Conti conducts research in the fields of strategy and entrepreneurship. She examines the organization and performance determinants’ of technology startups as well as venture capitalists’ investment strategies. Professor Conti’s research has been published in journals like Management Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, and Research Policy. She won several research awards, including the 2018 Brady Family Award for Faculty Research Excellence and the DRUID Young Scholar Best Paper Award. Professor Conti’s work has been cited by the World Intellectual Property Right Organization and the European Commission, and featured by the «Working Knowledge. Business Research for Business Leaders» blog of the Harvard Business School. Professor Conti was recently ranked in the top 5% among management researchers at German/Swiss/Austrian universities by the BWL Ranking of the Forschungsmonitoring. Prior to her academic career, Professor Conti worked as an economist for Caterpillar S.a.r.l and various international organizations.
Andrea Fosfuri is a Full Professor of the Department of Management and Technology at Bocconi University. Since November 2019 is the Dean of the PhD School. Previously he was a faculty member (1998-2012) of the Department of Business Administration at University Carlos III (Madrid), which he chaired during the period 2009-2011. He also taught at Boston University and Carnegie Mellon University, and was research affiliate of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). He is an Associate Editor of Management Science and editorial board member of the Strategic Management Journal. His recently published studies examine the timing of startup sale, corporate social responsibility in multinational enterprises and digitization in the telecommunications industry. During his career, Andrea has published more than 50 articles in journals like Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Industrial Economics, Research Policy, among others. He holds a PhD in Economics from University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) and a Licentiate degree in Management from the University of Urbino. Since March 2021, Andrea is the Italian Delegate for the European Innovation Council and European Innovation Ecosystems within Horizon Europe.
Luis Diestre is a Full Professor at IE Business School. He received his PhD in Strategic Management from the University of Southern California in 2009. His research interests revolve around two distinct topics: non-market strategy and R&D activities in the Biopharmaceutical industry. Diestre’s work appears in publications such as the Academy of Management Journal, the Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Management Science, the Journal of Management Studies, and Research Policy. He was awarded in 2016 an ERC Starting Grant of about 1.4 million euros to develop a research project on the illegal trade of pharmaceutical drugs. In addition, Luis was included in Poets and Quants’ 2015 list of “The World’s Best 40 Under 40 Business School Professors”. He has been a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Academy of Management Journal (since 2010) and the Strategic Management Journal (since 2014). Currently he serves as an Associate Editor of the Academy of Management Journal.
Martina Pasquini is Assistant Professor of Strategy at IE University / IE Business School since September 2014. Previously she was appointed at Southampton Business School (UK). Her research interests are at the intersection of strategy, innovation management, and entrepreneurship with a particular attention on the role of demand, users, and communities of values. Recently, she has been granted research funds by the EU Horizon2020 measure through the Marie Curie Program and by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation for her research in strategies of shared value creation and social-oriented IRPs. She currently teaches Strategic Management and Research Methods at undergraduate level, and she has also taught Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Global Entrepreneurship, Techniques for Innovation Management at Master level in leading European Universities. Her works have been published in international journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Research Policy, and Journal of Business Venturing – among others.
Konstantina Valogianni is Assistant Professor of Information Systems at IE University/IE Business School, Madrid, Spain. She holds a PhD in Information Systems from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on utilizing machine learning and analytical modelling to explore innovation and enable sustainable societies. Her work has appeared in journals and conference proceedings, such as Production and Operations Management, Information & Management, Decision Support Systems, the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS).
Eliana Garcés is a Director in the Economic Policy group at Facebook. She has a long experience in antitrust and regulatory issues in both the public and private sectors. She started her public career as a member of the Competition Chief Economist Team at the European Commission and later served in the Cabinet of European Commission Vice President for Competition Joaquin Almunia. Dr. Garcés also served as Deputy Chief Economist in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market and Industry where she worked on European industrial competitiveness. From 2016 to 2017, she was a Visiting Senior Fellow at George Mason University, where she taught and researched regulatory aspects of digital innovation both in the United States and Europe. She was a Principal at The Brattle Group until she joined Facebook in 2019. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from University of California, Los Angeles, a Master’s degree in European Economic Integration from the College of Europe (Bruges), and a Licenciatura in Economics from Universidad Autónoma (Madrid).
Mike Bailey is an economic geographer at Facebook on the Core Data Science team. His research focus is the role of networks in economics, looking at the intersection of social networks and urbanization and the role social networks play in urbanization, cities, education, transportation, housing, and jobs. His work has been covered in the Economist, New York Times, and economics journals. He is a co-creator of the Social Connectedness Index which is now publicly available through the Humanitarian Data Exchange.
Marco S. Giarratana is Professor of Strategy at the IE Business School/IE University. He received his PhD from Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in 2003. He was associate professor at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and full professor at the Bocconi University in Milan. He is the current Vice-Rector of Research at IE University in Madrid, Spain, where it also held the Chair of Strategy Department. His main research interests focus on the role of diversification, product strategies, patents and trademarks, and CSR on firm performance. He has published in journals like Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Academy of Management Journal, and Research Policy.
Trends and Issues in Innovation and Digital Transformation
The IE Initiative on Research & Policy of the Digital Economy recently held an online workshop that brought together industry experts and scholars from 40 different public and private universities, all spanning nearly 20 different countries, to discuss innovation in the new digital environment. The following is a review of the points discussed.
Innovation is a complex system, characterized first and foremost by the interplay of various constituents, such as companies and their customers, public agencies and governments, and academic institutions. Most of the time, the different interests and objectives of these various players come together and interact without the presence of an orchestrator. This works well for the most part but it is not without its drawbacks, because it means that there is the possibility that potential synergies and ideas remain unexplored. In this context, digitization could help find a common platform at national and broader regional level that helps coordinate efforts.
Second, innovative trajectories are often fragmented because propriety rights are owned by different constituents. Navigating this fragmentation is difficult because it not only challenges the inventor’s ability to build off of what has already been created and established by peers but it increases the probability of litigation (and not only that, but litigation under the legislation of different countries.) Digitization and machine learning techniques could provide a great advance in this respect, by increasing the ability to better map prior creations and to better position a particular innovation’s claim to novelty. It is still important to be aware and vigilant of those algorithms and procedures that are created by patent trolls just to “play with the system” and take advantage of the digitized process by obtaining patents for the sole purpose of creating artificial barriers to entry for their competitors.
Third, the interplay between collaboration and competition is a common thread between all innovative processes. Companies must balance their R&D between the need to absorb innovative knowledge from outside sources without exposing themselves to potential imitation leaks. Digitization has dramatically increased this tension because, while open innovation approaches are more and more needed to reach innovation targets, it has also increased the company investments in all kinds of firewall procedures to protect sensitive projects. This in turn challenges how well policy makers can interpret what knowledge can circulate freely within the system and what is better left concealed.
Fourth, the R&D issue is particularly relevant in regards to the role that small and entrepreneurial companies play in bringing new ideas to the market, but which suffer from structural problem of lack of co-specialized assets. One of the most important issues in this case is how innovative companies can showcase their potential in order to obtain the funding necessary to survive in the first years, and to prepare for growth. The intangible capital of these companies, especially in the form of patents and trademarks, is thus key in creating credible collateral as a base for financing from venture capitalists and governments alike. Digitization and big data could help by providing a clearer vision of what a new company might bring to the market. Yet, on the other hand, it could also increase the pressure of competition on these young companies and kill good ideas still in their initial stage. Again, a more conscious and active role of the government and the orchestrator platforms would help solve some of this deadlocks.
Lastly, digitization has revolutionized the position of customers and user-driven innovation. On one hand, companies have the possibility of more data from users and customers, with more precision and frequency, thereby increasing the chances of spotting more new investment opportunities. However, users and customers are becoming more passive in their role as innovation sources and take part in the innovative system without any self-awareness. This is an issue because the active role of users has proven key in sparking and promoting successful innovations. Under digitization, crowdsource platforms, for example, could bring users together for more active participation, reliant of course on the implementation of regulations, which are still mostly missing from this scenario. Currently, the role of governments and public policy is primarily focused on the protection of private data. Time will tell, of course, whether the effects of this role will result in a more overarching approach that aims to incentivize and regulate innovation co-creation between customers, university, and companies in those sectors particularly critical for citizen welfare.