5 September 2011
Entrepreneurship and Innovation Researchers Convene at the Darden School
On May 5 and 6, 2011, nearly 70 researchers from around the world gathered for the second annual Darden Entrepreneurship and Innovation Conference. Hosted by the Batten Institute, the conference brought together the two strands of scholarship for a lively mix of paper presentations and discussions.
The conference committee (Mike Lenox, S. Venkataraman, Saras Sarasvathy, Greg Fairchild, Andrea Larson, and Raul Chao) selected the presenters from more than 70 submissions, an increase from last year. “We’re delighted that this conference attracts such an engaged group of scholars,” said Batten Institute executive director and conference chair Mike Lenox. “Interactions between entrepreneurship and innovation scholars continue to be very rich. We all benefit from the exposure to different perspectives.”
The presenters and discussants, a mix of seasoned scholars and doctoral students, covered a wide range of topics of critical interest to researchers and business practitioners:
- The network position and characteristics of inventors in a scientific community most likely to discover a breakthrough
- The costs and tradeoffs of collaboration; the relationship between collaboration and creativity
- The obstacles to new-idea adoption and diffusion in large organizations
- Small-business loan guarantees and the issue of zero-subsidy programs
- Exit returns to venture capital and the rise of M&A
- Labor market responses to patent enforcement, spinoffs, and noncompete agreements
- Licensing, the role of universities, and contracts
- Regional identities
- The effect of social mechanisms on economic behavior
The two-day event included a demonstration led by Saras Sarasvathy of the differences between risk, uncertainty, and Knightian uncertainty, and a brainstorming activity in which participants used random objects to come up with ideas for a special issue of an academic journal.
The conference concluded with a panel discussion of the challenges of measuring innovativeness. Issues raised were the varying definitions of “innovativeness” as an output or an input, the limitations of patent and citation data, the difference between process and product innovation, heterogeneity across firms, and the importance of industry context.
Following the conference, around 30 entrepreneurship scholars convened for the Carey-Darden retreat, an event held in partnership with the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins. During the retreat, participants discussed the state of entrepreneurship research and attended rich multidisciplinary sessions devoted to the financing of human capital, the creation of resources for entrepreneurs of the future, the role of entrepreneurs in light of changing ideas about capitalism, entrepreneurship in different institutional contexts, and neurochemical bases for entrepreneurial behavior.