Wednesday, October 1, 2008

IJTE publication available now and organizations that support innovation in BC

This is just s short announcement that the IJTE article I co-authored with Elicia Maine is now available via Inderscience:

  • Bliemel, M.J., Maine, E.M.A. (2008) Network embeddedness as a predictor of performance for New Technology-Based Firms, International Journal of Technoentrepreneurship, 1(3), pp. 313 - 341

Also, here's a fun course projected I worked on with Ben, Josh and co during their MBA at SFU. It's a reapplication of Puttick's Complexity Grid to organizations in Vancouver and BC that promote innovation (link):

Puttick Grid

Here's another interesting article that's applied it to Clusters:

  • Carrie, A. (1999) Integrated clusters – the future basis of competition, International Journal of Agile Management Systems, 1(1), pp. 45-50(6)

PS: Congrats to Ben & Josh at Saltworks for scooping 1st place and the sustainability prize at New Ventures BC!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Publication announcement: Network Embeddedness as a Predictor of Performance for New Technology-Based Firms

Another publication I am a co-author of just got accepted for publication at the International Journal of Technoentrepreneurship:

Network Embeddedness as a Predictor of Performance for New Technology-Based Firms
by Martin J. Bliemel, Elicia M.A. Maine
Abstract: The logic of network embeddedness has been widely used in the technology entrepreneurship literature in recent years, yet its operationalization and use are neither well understood nor agreed upon. This paper provides a literature review of the logic of network embeddedness as it has been invoked and operationalized to predict the performance of New Technology-Based Firms (NTBFs). We find that: 1) existing studies, both inside and outside of the technology entrepreneurship literature, employ the logic of embeddedness and operationalize network embeddedness in vastly different ways; 2) empirical NTBF studies frequently use linear and unidimensional measures when invoking embeddedness to explain NTBF performance; and 3) surprisingly few studies rationalize NTBF performance using curvi-linear methods, interaction effects or contingency factors that account for firm contexts and firm constraints. All other operationalizations are subject to unbounded conclusions, thus overlooking the costs of maintaining network relationships. The studies that consider such constraints support the logic of network embeddedness, in that there is a growth-stage appropriate portfolio size and composition that leads to superior performance. Network embeddedness appears to be a useful predictor for NTBF performance when operationalized at both the dyad and network levels and accounting for firm characteristics and environmental conditions. Without accounting for such firm and environment specific variations, the predictive value of network embeddedness is far lower. An appropriate operationalization of embeddedness for predicting the performance of NTBFs should take both the relative benefits and the relative drawbacks of strong and weak ties into account. We propose that it should also account for the limited capacity of the firm to engage in external exchanges of either strength. With such contingencies, network embeddedness can guide executive’s decisions in managerial resource allocation, and policymakers in industry networking activities to stimulate regional firm growth.
Keywords: Network Embeddedness, Growth, Technology Entrepreneurship, New Technology-Based Firm, Networks, Performance

To learn more about my research, you'll have to either read my papers, or just meet me in person. My upcoming presentation at AOM is a good start.
For more info about Elicia's research, you can also check out her new Advanced Materials Commercialization site with Jim Utterback and Elizabeth Garnsey.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Publication announcement: A comparison of R&D indicators for the Vancouver biotechnology cluster

The Journal of Commercial Biotechnology (like a Harvard Business Review for biotechnology companies) just released another article I am a co-author of:

"A comparison of R&D indicators for the Vancouver biotechnology cluster"
Journal of Commercial Biotechnology advance online publication, June 3, 2008.

This article was co-authored with Monica Salazar, who is the Executive Director for the Columbian Observatory of Science and Technology, and Adam Holbrook, who is the associate director of the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology (CPROST) and also a member if the Innovation Systems Research Network (ISRN).

This article uses data from StatCan, ISRN, and BC Biotech/LifeSciences BC to take a look at whether there actually is a biotechnology cluster in Vancouver, and compares several of the indicators to other regions in Canada.

This article also has a brilliant metaphor for Vancouver's biotechnology sector portrayed as a garden.

Global Entrepreneurship Week: Nov 17-23, 2008

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, one of the world's largest sponsors of entrepreneurship research, has just sent out an email announcing that 56 nations have joined in celebrating the firt ever Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov 17-23, 2008:

Several nations, cities or universities have already celebrated Entrepreneur(ship) Week on a regionally more limited scale, so it'll be interesting to see how this will all be coordinated on a global stage. For more info on local events, just google Entrepreneurship Week and your City. In Many cases, entrepreneurship is synonymous with small business, so feel free to substitute one for the other.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

3 posts in 1: ASAC, my first official publication, and EBC

I've been suffering a little blog-stipation recently and have some more reviews, news, and ideas to release. First the reviews.

Reviews: ASAC 2008

I just for back from ASAC 2008 in Halifax, where I presented a paper I am working on with my supervisor that is suggesting a new method for network analysis that accepts the fact that any one person can be involved in multiple activities, AND any one activity can involve multiple people. Sounds revolutionary, I know, but the fact of the matter is that most social network analysis tends to typecast people into single roles and single purpose relationships. More on that piece once it's released.

At ASAC, I saw Joe Bower's presentation on CEO succession. In a way it reminded me of a theory I had during my MBA about what a CKO (chief knowledge officer) should do. In my mind, a CKO's role is to find information asymmetries and facilitate the exchange of knowledge until they are no longer needed. In other words, they work to make themselves obsolete. Well, in Joe Bower's research, he suggests that CEO succession should be planned approximately 4-5 years in advance of it being forced (retirement, disaster-contingency planning, whatever). BUT, if the average CEO is only in office for ~5 years, then they need to think about who is going to replace them the day they start. Imagine the extra mental load: "Congratulations on becoming CEO. Now start planning your replacement."

News: Published Papers on Innovation

A paper I co-authored with my supervisor has just been made available online by the publisher:
Bliemel, M. J., & McCarthy, I. P. (2008). Networks of dedicated
biotechnology and service firms in Vancouver. Journal of Commercial
The Journal of Commercial Biotechnology is like a Harvard Business Review for biotechnology firms. The research is written in a way that is meant to make a balanced impact on industry as well as academia. This piece is related to my PhD research, and draws on data from the ISRN.

Ideas: How to leverage your start-up investment by 43%

The other month I met with someone from the BC Ministry of Economic Development, who gave me a brochure that explains the Eligible Business Corporation (EBC) tax credit system better than their online version. In a nutshell, if an investor invests cash into a start-up that is certified as an EBC, they can get 30% of their investment back. However, doesn't that defeat the purpose of fostering innovation? What if the cash credited back to the invested were reinvested into the start-up? Well, then the start-up would get 30% more cash, and the investor would get more equity plus another 9% (30% of 30%) cash back. Reiterate the process to a total of 10 times, and the numbers converge on 43% of the investor's cash being matched by the government, with the extra equity going to the investor. After all, should the investors be in it to capitalize in the longer term on the management and innovation, rather than short-term tax credit kick backs?

Monday, March 31, 2008

NYT on Edison, Invention versus Innovation

Thanks to Andy Hargadon's blog, I found this article on Edison in the NYT that came out today. As Andy pointed out, one of the most insightful comments made in the article is this passage:

Whom we credit with an invention often has less to do with who came up with an idea, and more to do with who translated it into something usable, accessible, commercial. Garages and laboratories, workbenches and scribbled napkins are filled with brilliant ideas unmatched with determination, resources and market sensibilities, said Jack Russo, a Silicon Valley intellectual-property lawyer.

I can't agree more. In the Management of Innovation course I took with Dr. Elicia Maine and later TA'd/co-taught with Dr. Richard Smith, one of the first things we foster a debate on is "what is innovation?" In a nutshell, it is a process by which inventions make it to market. Invention alone is a respectable task, but unless the inventor or their champion can bring it to market, society remains deprived of the great idea.

For my PhD research, I am interviewing founders of high-tech start-ups (not necessarily the inventors!) about how (in their own words) they "make shi* happen." While entrepreneurship in general can be said to be about seeking independence and not "working for the man," it if often forgotten that no one is truly independent. So-called independent businesses are dependent on the support of related services firms (IT, legal, accounting, media, and various consulting firms), as well as suppliers and customers. Once I find out more about the "matching process," as it is described in the passage above, I will post something here. Until then, here is one of my conference papers from last year on the topic, which I presented at ISRN.