DRUID Summer Conference 2010

Date: 16-18 June 2010

Venue: Imperial College London

Sponsors: UK Innovation Research Centre (UK~IRC),  European Science Foundation, Eco-Cit Project.

About the Conference

The DRUID Summer Conference brought together a global community of researchers on innovation and industrial dynamics. Researchers from over 30 countries presented their latest findings on innovation management and strategy, entrepreneurship and the economics of innovation. The conference took place outside its usual home, Copenhagen, for the first time.

Day One

In his opening remarks, the DRUID Director, Peter Maskell, emphasised the high calibre of accepted papers and the opportunity for long-standing members and new researchers to share ideas and approaches to our greater global challenges.

In his welcome to the DRUID delegates, Sir Keith O’Nions, Rector of Imperial College London, explained that the outputs and impact of DRUID are closely aligned with all aspects of Imperial’s science, and the conference was an excellent opportunity to emphasis the role of DRUID in the ‘intellectual mainstream’. As host, Imperial College Business School has an excellent reputation for integration and leadership within the College, he concluded.

The conference began with a keynote speech from Dan Levinthal, followed by plenary papers by UK~IRC researchers. Bruce Tether presented the paper he had co-written with Cher Li, Andrea Mina and Karl Wennberg, entitled Turning Digital: Diversification in UK Design Consultancy Services. Martin Kiduff’s paper was entitled The Production of New Knowledge in Organizations: A Philosophy of Science Approach.

Day Two

One the second day, the conference debated the motion Let it be resolved that this conference believes that a significant part of entrepreneurship is innate. Speaking for the motion was Nicolas Nicolaou and Scott Shane. Speaking against were Alfonso Gambardella and Peter Thompson. In the initial vote, the audience was split with a slight majority voting against the motion. Beginning with the path-breaking work of Nicolaou and Shane on entrepreneurship among twins, discussions hinged on how entrepreneurship was more powerfully affected by environmental or genetic factors. After spirited debate, a second vote was taken and the motion was again defeated by a slightly increased margin.

The second DRUID debate on the final day was entitled Let it be resolved that this conference believes that University Patenting increasingly impedes knowledge sharing and overall economic growth. Speaking for the motion was Martin Kenney and Arivdis Ziedonis, speaking against, Marie Thursby and Ben Martin. At the first vote, the audience were evenly divided and settled back to enjoy a lively discussion on policy in the US and Europe on whether patents should be held by individual academics (“professor privilege”) or by the university. On this issue, the panel felt it depended on the administrative effectiveness of the university, which could be problematic if handled in the wrong way. At the final vote, this motion was also narrowly defeated.

Alongside the paper sessions, delegates enjoyed some highlights of the local area including tours of the Science Museum conducted by students from the Humanities Department at Imperial College London.

Delegates were then wowed by the Grand Conference dinner held at the Natural History Museum where they were entertained by violinist Michal Cwizewicz, playing complex solos by Fritz Kreisler and Eugene Ysaye. These technically accomplished pieces were met with rapturous applause from the audience. The conference prize winners were announced by Peter Maskell and Markus Perkmann. The Best Paper Award went to Konstaninos Grigoriou and Frank T. Rothaermel, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, for their paper Organizing for Adaptation: Innovative Capabilities, Relational Stars, Coordination Costs, and Boundary Choices. The Best Young Scholar Award (winning a new ipad) went to Gaétan de Rassenfosse, Université libre de Bruxelles, for his paper How much do we know about firms’ propensity to patent and should we worry about it? The Best Dissertation Award (also winning an ipad) went to Matthew Marx, MIT, for Essays on Employee Non-Compete Agreements. Finally the Most Imaginative Paper Award went to Frank Neffke and Martin Henning, Erasmus School of Economics, for Skill relatedness and firm diversification.

The conference ended with discussion on the future of DRUID including the possible evolution of the programme by having a greater focus on policy, and replacing some plenary sessions with more papers from young scholars who would benefit from the conference environment. The DRUID team returned to Copenhagen to plan DRUID 2011.