Weekly Reads – Sept 21

Delivering a difference – In Science careers, the author talks about how he transitioned from being a virologist to a mailman. This article really hit me hard as it forced me to reflect on the value I provide to society. Last week, I was arguing with some academic about some ultimately pointless thing. These lines really struck me:

“It’s ironic that although I’m trained as a virologist—surely an essential skill these days—it is in my new role that I am considered an “essential worker.” I certainly hope I’m helping in the fight against COVID-19 by delivering election ballots, medicines, and checks (among the bills, too, of course). Truth be told, I believe I am making a more direct and positive impact on people’s lives now than when I was in science.”

Dennis Macejak

Ig Nobel Prize 2020 – I especially liked the Management prize. It was given to 5 Chinese hitmen who subcontracted the job to each other, with each one taking their cut.

Scientists use big data to sway elections and predict riots — welcome to the 1960s – just when we thought that we are in unprecedented times, historians come to spoil the fun. This article talks about Simulmatics Coporation which was doing what the Russian hackers were supposed to be doing with Facebook as early as the 60s.

What Are the Odds of Finding a COVID-19 Drug from a Lab Repurposing Screen? – drug repurposing has received a lot of hype, especially to quickly find a drug to address COVID 19. Unfortunately, the odds may be stacked against us as commented too by Derek Lowe. This Nature Biotech article also comments on the need for a rigorous process to ensure that we don’t make any mistakes that can destroy the trust in science.

Information Frictions and Entrepreneurship – Something that has been regurgitated in many self-help books is that A-students typically end up working for C-students. There seems to be some truth to it in this article where they show that entrepreneurs are typically smarter than employees but employees are better educated.

A Text-Based Analysis of Corporate Innovation – they used Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) to analyze a large corpus of analyst reports. I toyed with this method too during my PhD to map the pharmaceutical industry. NLP is something that I am not surprised to see being used more in the management sciences.

The strategic use of artificial intelligence in the digital era: Systematic literature review and future research directions – A great review on the role of AI in businesses. They talk about how AI can support four areas: decision making, customer and employee engagement, automation and new product development.

EU 2020 Strategic Foresight Report – a report containing colorful figures about how the EU can secure various materials that are important for its supply chain

Weekly Reads – Sept 14

I normally post on my blog every Friday but the last Friday was a holiday here in Catalonia so I decided to take a break. It was also my birthday week so I wanted to take the time to reflect too on my life and the things I want to achieve moving forward. Anyhow, this are my top reads of the last week:

A hypothesis is a liability – compares day science (where ideas are tested) with night science (where ideas are generated). When we focus on testing a hypothesis, we may be blinded from exploring other important facets of the data. I especially liked the experiment where they asked students to analyze a certain dataset. If you simply plot the dataset, you will see a gorilla. However, most students miss this as they are too focused on running the regressions, without adequately conducting data exploration.

Learning from nature – Biomimicry innovation to support infrastructure sustainability and resilience – fascinating paper on how innovations in the natural world can be applied in developing infrastructures. The tables showing examples of biomimicry in different engineering products, processes and systems are really interesting.

What’s Wrong with Social Science and How to Fix It: Reflections After Reading 2578 Papers – a blog post by someone who skimmed tons of social science papers to participate in a replication market. A replication market is a market where one can predict whether a paper will replicate or not. Among the different fields, economics had the highest expectations of replication. Management and marketing ranked the lowest (honestly, unsurprisingly).

Illuminating the dark spaces of healthcare with ambient intelligence – a review in Nature on how sensors and artificial intelligence can improve the health of individuals in both hospitals (ICUs, operating rooms and even lobbies) and daily living settings (elderly homes, chronic disease management and mental health monitoring).

From Necessity to Opportunity: Scaling Bricolage across Resource-Constrained Environments – bricolage refers to working with what is available. Normally, this concept is applied to startups which may not have access to many resources. In this work, the researchers explore how a social enterprise was able to scale to different countries with bricolage.

Coevolution of cyberinfrastructure development and scientific progress – explored how developing cyberinfrastructure can impact progress in research, specifically in the field of biodiversity and ecology. The researchers show that the coevolution between this data infrastructure and the field itself led to evolutionary progress in terms of increasing both collaborations and democratization in this research community. Moreover, it also led to revolutionary progress in terms of connecting this field with other scientific disciplines.

Weekly Reads – Sept 4

On democracy – The current issue of Science has a special section dedicated to democracy Articles cover a wide range of topics including immigration, inequality and activism. Just last week, Economist also had a plot showing the increasing support towards autocrats by people in weaker democracies. In the plot, my country the Philippines has increased support for “Having the army rule is good.” Scary times ahead. It’s difficult to not feel powerless in this situation. Yet, I’m hopeful that the brilliant social scientists working on this topic could come up with ways to better support democracy.

Is disruptive innovation in emerging economies different? Evidence from China – When we think of disruptive innovation, it is natural to think of the Ubers and the Netflixes of the world. However, disruptive innovation can manifest differently in emerging economies. The authors argue that, in China, disruptive innovations emerge by improving value propositions through cost innovation, quickly iterating to improve the quality of their offerings, launching directly to mass-market and placing efficient production processes.

Conceptualising technology, its development and future: The six genres of technology – Creates a typology of technology based on various combinations of relationships between humans and artefacts. It’s interesting how they weave the coming AI apocalypse throughout the article.

The impact of technology transfer and knowledge spillover from Big Science: a literature review – Big science refers to this phenomenon where scientific experiments require larger and larger groups of scientists, needing funding from groups of governments. The term is associated with organizations/projects like CERN, NASA and the Human Genome Project. The outcomes of these experiments impact society in real, tangible ways as documented by this review.

Does the merger of universities promote their scientific research performance? Evidence from China – universities around the world have become so conscious of their ranking. France for instance has been featured in the Economist recently for their Paris Saclay initiative which combines many of their research organizations in Paris to improve their rankings. In China, however, these mergers have not proved to be too successful due to difficulties in cultural integration and reaching economies of scale.

Confidential Gossip and Organization Studies – It still fascinates me how researchers can study phenomena of all kinds. This one is interesting considering how prevalent gossip can be yet how understudied they are in general.

Weekly Reads – Aug 31

Being Extraordinary: How CEOs’ Uncommon Names Explain Strategic Distinctiveness – Reminds me of this episode on Freakonomics exploring how names can influence the career paths that people take (like people named Dennis become dentists). In a similar vein, CEOs with uncommon names pursue uncommon strategies.

A history of insatiable intellectuals – A review of the book The Polymath by Peter Burke. I listened to the podcast episode where the author gives a lecture about the book. It was really fascinating to see how polymaths and the tension between specialization and being a generalist have evolved over time.

The Strategic Allocation of Inventors to R&D Collaborations – they find that companies send their inventors with strong IP protection to collaborations. These inventors serve to balance value creation with value protection.

Mapping technological trajectories and exploring knowledge sources: A case study of 3D printing technologies – Maps 3D printing technologies using patents. I like their path analysis showing the contributions of the different countries in the development of this technology. I explored this technique in a previous post.

Optimal distinctiveness in platform markets: Leveraging complementors as legitimacy buffers – This studied optimal distinctiveness by comparing MOOC platforms. They found that “a standard deviation increase in distinctiveness (from low to moderate) increases the expected number of platform users by 1.7 million (+55.1%) for platforms with an above-average share of high-status complementors, but decreases the number of users by 2.9 million (-53.5%) for platforms without high-status complementors in their ecosystem.”

Weekly Reads – Aug 21

Government royalties on sales of biomedical products developed with substantial public funding – The pharma industry has faced a lot of criticisms due to the increasing drug prices and privatization of research funded by taxpayer money. This paper proposes how royalties can be a better alternative compared to price controls by not decreasing investment in R&D.

The authenticity premium: Balancing conformity and innovation in high technology industries – A study on authenticity, putting their own spin to the idea of optimal distinctiveness. They looked at the balance between differentiation and conformity in three signals given by firms – network, governance and narrative.

Post-Failure Success: Sensemaking in Problem Representation Reformulation – failures normally spring from a faulty representation of the problem. A reformulation of these wrong assumptions is the key then to steer one’s trajectory, ultimately turning the initial failure into a success.

Organizational Resilience: A Valuable Construct for Management Research? – Resilience has become a buzzword during the pandemic. The paper clarifies a lot of things about what it really is about and how to measure it. They identify behavior, resources and capabilities as relevant components which aid to have a resilient response which then leads to organizational growth.

Managing intrapreneurial capabilities: An overview – an introduction to a special issue on intrapreneurship and dynamic capabilities. They identify different research streams in the intersection of these two topics.

Technology Management Literature (2019-)

I wanted to get updated with the latest trends in the technology management literature. To do this, I conducted a bibliometric review of the publications in the top innovation and general management journals.

Journals Analyzed

I searched the Web of Science for articles published from 2019 in the top technology journals (Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Technovation, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, R & D Management, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, Journal of Engineering And Technology Management, Industry and Innovation, Research-Technology Management, Scientometrics and Journal of Technology Transfer). I then added articles in the top general management journals as long as they contain the terms science, technology or innovation. These journals include Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Annals, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Perspectives,  Journal of Business Research, British Journal of Management, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Management Studies, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal,  Journal of Management and Organization Science.

Using these data collection steps, I had 2,561 articles. I used python to analyze the articles in bulk. Visualizations were carried out using VosViewer.

Top Cited Works

TitleFirst AuthorJournalYearInternal Citations
Self-citations as strategic response to the use of metrics for career decisionsSeeber, MRes Pol20199
Can big data and predictive analytics improve social and environmental sustainability?Dubey, RTFSC20198
Social media and innovation: A systematic literature review and future research directionsBhimani, HTFSC20197
How crowdfunding platforms change the nature of user innovation – from problem solving to entrepreneurshipBrem, ATFSC20197
Green innovation and organizational performance: The influence of big data and the moderating role of management commitment and HR practicesEl-Kassar, ANTFSC20197
Understanding Smart Cities: Innovation ecosystems, technological advancements, and societal challengesAppio, FPTFSC20196
Servitization and Industry 4.0 convergence in the digital transformation of product firms: A business model innovation perspectiveFrank, AGTFSC20196
Technology Reemergence: Creating New Value for Old Technologies in Swiss Mechanical Watchmaking, 1970-2008Raffaelli, RASQ20196
Innovation policy for system-wide transformation: The case of strategic innovation programmes (sips) in SwedenGrillitsch, MRes Pol20196
Collaborative modes with Cultural and Creative Industries and innovation performance: The moderating role of heterogeneous sources of knowledge and absorptive capacitySantoro, GTechnovation20206
Implementing citizen centric technology in developing smart cities: A model for predicting the acceptance of urban technologiesSepasgozar, SMETFSC20196

There are two few works not in the chosen journals but are still highly cited. The first one is Large teams develop and small teams disrupt science and technology by Wu et al in Nature, which received 9 internal citations. The only other one in the top 10 was An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions by Kohler et al.


Articles in technology management published from 2019. Visualization from VosViewer
ClusterTop KeywordsTop Cited Works in ClusterCount
Red (1)innovation, technology, market, product, user, platform, venture, ecosystem, social, digitalfornell c (1981), eisenhardt km (1989), podsakoff pm (2003), davis fd (1989), eisenhardt km (2007)596
Green (2)firm, innovation, knowledge, performance, effect, innovation performance, capability, network, industry, collaborationcohen wm (1990), laursen k (2006), march jg (1991), kogut b (1992), zahra sa (2002)578
Dark Blue (3)research, journal, citation, publication, article, science, scientific, field, paper, researcherhirsch je (2005), van eck nj (2010), merton rk (1968), egghe l (2006), hicks d (2015)457
Yellow (4)innovation, policy, system, smart city, technology, transition, scenario, development, foresight, processgeels fw (2002), geels fw (2007), markard j (2012), geels fw (2004), bergek a (2008)289
Violet (5)patent, technology, trademark, technological, innovation, analysis, invention, firm, market, methodtrajtenberg m (1990), lerner j (1994), mendonca s (2004), daim tu (2006), flikkema m (2014)133
Light Blue (6)university, technology transfer, research, academic entrepreneurship, innovation, knowledge transfer, entrepreneurial university, knowledge, collaboration, commercializationperkmann m (2013), siegel ds (2003), d’este p (2011), grimaldi r (2011), d’este p (2007)113

Weekly Reads – Aug 14

Reviewing the field of external knowledge search for innovation: theoretical underpinnings and future (re-)search directions – a review of how firms search for innovation outside. They introduce the term decoupled search which happens when the search process involves an assistant.

Charting a Path between Firm‐Specific Incentives and Human Capital‐Based Competitive Advantage – firms can offer unique incentives to their employees (e.g. Disney parks’ discount to employees, Google enabling employees access to interesting data, having a culture of fun at Zappos ). The paper provides a typology of these different incentives that can be unique to certain firms.

Scale quickly or fail fast: An inductive study of acceleration – accelerators have three main characteristics: investment on ventures that already reached product-market fit, focus on growth (through revenue, number of customers and even team maturity) in a short amount of time and an emphasis on aggressively testing whether the venture can succeed or fail.

Detecting academic fraud using Benford law: The case of Professor James Hunton – Benford’s law states that the first digit of datasets collected would likely to be small. For instance, the number 1 appears 30% of the time if a dataset if collected truthfully. The researchers used this idea to see whether they can detect the fraud from retracted papers.

A Quantum Approach to Paradox Entails Neither Preexisting Tensions Nor Asymmetry: Response to Li – So, this was a letter in response to a comment by Li on the original article by Hahn and Knight using concepts from quantum physics to resolve the paradoxes in management research. I wouldn’t claim that I understand anything but it’s really fascinating the extent that researchers are adapting theories from other fields.

The Role of Research in Business Schools and the Synergy Between its Four Subdomains – applies Pasteur’s quadrants to create a typology of business research. I liked the part described how famous names in management fit into the different quadrants.

Crossing the valley of death: Five underlying innovation processes – They describe five processes to cross the so-called valley of death, hindering early-stage ventures from succeeding. These include: refining the narrative for the technology concept, evaluating the technical aspects of the lab-scale models, refining how the technology will be used, assessing the comparative value and integrating the inputs of innovator actors.

ON THE THEORY OF ORGANIZATIONAL PATH DEPENDENCE: CLARIFICATIONS, REPLIES TO OBJECTIONS, AND EXTENSIONS – a follow up to the highly cited article in 2009 on organizational path dependence

Weekly Reads – August 4

The Transformation of the Innovation Process: How Digital Tools are Changing Work, Collaboration, and Organizations in New Product Development – digital tools “not only do they affect output and process efficiency, but they also increase depth and breadth of the work of individual innovators, they lead to rearrangement of the entire innovation processes, enable new configurations of people, teams, and firms”

Why ‘Doing Well By Doing Good’ Goes Wrong: A Critical Review of ‘Good Ethics Pays’ Claims in Managerial Thinking – it has been quite an accepted idea these days that companies should do good as its good for their bottom line. I remember listening to a podcast episode from Econtalk a few weeks ago that touches this (which I highly recommend). Nonetheless, this AOM review is fascinating as it forces us to revisit our assumptions.

The creative cliff illusion – people assume that their creativity will drop over time. This study however demonstrates that this is not the case and that having such negative assumptions can be detrimental to performance.

On Moving

The role of immigration in innovation has gotten a lot of attention this week (ex. from In the Pipeline, Brookings). The piece that resonated a lot to me is this editorial introducing the special issue of Research Policy on immigration.

The authors introduced their article with 4 quotes, which then anchored the different perspectives to explore immigration.

Self-selection among immigrants and role in the diffusion of innovation

“Migration has one characteristic that should make it very effective as a diffusion method. The hardships occasioned with [it] will usually discourage all but the most resourceful, energetic, and courageous. Those who have the hardihood to venture in this way hence are likely to have exactly those human qualities which are most essential to innovating and diffusing”

-Warren C. Scoville (“Spread of Techniques: Minority Migrations and the Diffusion of Technology”, Journal of Economic History 1951: 11/4, p.349)

Arguments against brain-drain and for the value of choice

“… even were it possible to force the professionals to stay at home, it would be a foolish policy. Lack of congenial working conditions, absence of peer professionals to interact with, and resentment at being deprived of the chance to emigrate can lead to a wholly unproductive situation in which one has the body but not the brain. The brain is not a static thing: it can drain away faster sitting in the wrong place than when travelling to Cambridge or Paris!”

Jagdish Bhagwati (In Defense of Globalisation, Oxford University Press: 2007; p.214)

Struggles in assimilating and in being away

“Le véritable lieu de naissance est celui où l’on a porté pour la première fois un coup d’oeil intelligent sur soi-même: mes premières patries ont été des livres, à un moindre degré, des écoles.”
(The real birthplace is where you first took an intelligent look at yourself: my first countries were books, to a lesser extent, schools.)

Marguerite Yourcenar (Mémoires d’Hadrien, Plon: 1951)

Job market

“We hire from the best schools. All the people who go to those schools […] we offer jobs to American, non-American, that’s who we build these product teams around. And so, because we’re in a very competitive business, we don’t compromise on that. Wherever we can get those people, that’s where we create the jobs.”

Bill Gates (National Public Radio interview, March 12, 2008; https://www.npr.org/transcripts/88154016– last visit May 2020)

Weekly Reads – Jun 17

It has been quite a while since I’ve updated my blog. I was busy with finishing my PhD and securing my postdoc position. I’m still pursuing academia for now and thus, would still have to continue reading the literature for the latest advances in the management sciences. These are my interesting reads of the week.

Disruption Versus Discontinuity: Definition and Research Perspective From Behavioral Economics – I have to admit that I use the terms disruption and discontinuity interchangeably. This articles explains the difference between the two. Discontinuity refers to when a new technology competes directly with an established one based on having better performance on some technological dimension (typically 10x better). On the other hand, disruptions attach dominant technologies by satisfying customer needs even though they may not be performing as well on this primary dimension.

Technological impact of biomedical research: The role of basicness and novelty – another study looking at patents and publications to assess the impact of research.

The European research landscape under the Horizon 2020 Lenses: the interaction between science centers, public institutions, and industry – contains nice network visualizations of interacting partners at various levels (country, affiliations and organizations)

Anchor entrepreneurship and industry catalysis: The rise of the Italian Biomedical Valley – fascinating account on the role of entrepreneurship in transforming a depressed rural area into an internationally known medical-device cluster. I especially like how much they take into account the role of luck in the story of this entrepreneur Mario Veronesi: “many of Veronesi’s successes came accidentally, a result of serendipity, being present at the dawn of an emerging medical field that married knowledge about renal and cardiac treatment to improved plastics.”

From creative destruction to creative appropriation: A comprehensive framework – study exploring Didi, usually called China’s Uber. I appreciated the typology in the paper talking about the other forms of creative destruction. Destruction is when a firm outright does not cooperate with the incumbents. Creative cooperation is when incumbents work together with the disruptors. In the middle of these two is creative appropriation, where a firm disrupts a market by leveraging the complementary resources of an incumbent without directly cooperating with them.