DRUID Conference on Innovation and Competitiveness

Copenhagen Business School, June 19-21 2012

I was very proud to be invited to present Theresa Veer’s and my paper “Once bitten, twice shy? – Learning from Experience in the Context of R&D Cooperation and Copying of IP” at the annual DRUID Conference on Innovation and Competitiveness. I also was very much looking forward to the conference as the paper was one of the finalists for the DRUID young scholar paper award. Probably I should start by giving some background information on this unique conference which has developed to become one of the most important conferences on innovation topics from various disciplines. The mission of DRUID (www.druid.dk) is to establish itself as a leading European center for research and doctoral education in industrial dynamics, based on theories of innovation, economic organization, competitive advantage, organizational competencies, economic evolution and growth. The objective is to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of technical, structural and institutional change at the level of the single firm as well as at the inter-firm level and the level of the economy as a whole.

DRUID has been initiated in 1995 and has since broadened its focus and grown drastically. In about 67 parallel sessions, two poster sessions, debates and a couple of very enriching key-note presentations, DRUID has lived up to its expectations. Scholars from all over the world have gathered to present their latest ideas, models and theories. Key-note speakers were Gautam Ahuja (University of Michigan) who talked about new areas in innovation and strategy research, Melissa Schilling (New York University) who talked about technology shocks and its impact on technological collaboration as well as Joel Baum (University of Toronto) who gave his perspective on journal as well as paper impact factors and rankings as a quality signal. Moreover, DRUID offered fascinating debates on the exploration-exploitation phenomenon, (Pro – Marco Girratana and Lori Rosenkopf vs. Contra – John Cantwell and Ram Mudambi), on intellectual property as an impediment to economic progress (Pro – Eric von Hippel and Georg von Krogh vs. Contra – Anita McGahan and Scott Stern) as well as the contribution of neoclassical economics to innovation (Pro – Giovanni Dosi and Sidney Winter vs. Contra – Paul Stoneman and Otto Toivanen). For me, as there was a huge number of very interesting paper sessions and presentations, the selection of topics and sessions to attend was sometimes challenging. I attended a very interesting session on parallel search and learning in organizations where JP Eggers (New York University) or Daniel Levinthal (University of Pennsylvania) presented their latest work. It was a great experience to listen to the famous Sidney Winter commenting on these papers. In another session on open innovation and complementarities in innovation processes with Stephen Roper and Bruce Tether, I learned about the latest research projects in that area which was not only inspiring but also fruitful for my own research interests. My presentation took place on Thursday morning at 9 am after the conference dinner. In the session on organizational learning I used the opportunity to present the latest version of Theresa’s and my paper to collect the valuable and much appreciated feedback of the discussants Mark Lorenzen and Orietta Marsili. I was especially happy that Kristina Dahlin also presented her latest work in the very same session and that we could engage in a very fruitful discussion afterwards which already has proven very helpful in revising and improving the current version of this paper. Her prior research inspired the theoretical part of our paper.

At the conference dinner which was held on a roof terrace at the DGI-byen centrally located in the Copenhagen Meat Packing District, we enjoyed a brilliant evening in a nice Copenhagen summer night. The winners of the Best Paper Awards were announced and celebrated. Sarah Kaplan and Keyvan Vakili (University of Toronto) as well as Diego Useche (Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV) were awarded. And although Theresa and I did not get an award it was a great honor for both of us to be nominated with our paper “Once bitten, twice shy? – Learning from Experience in the Context of R&D Cooperation and Copying of IP” after all!

DRUID 2012 was an invaluable experience and a fantastic opportunity to interact with the scholars that are preeminent in my field. Communication with other interested people from all over the world is the key to stimulate intriguing and new research ideas. With different backgrounds, perspectives and approaches, we can learn so much from our colleagues. This so heavily cited and researched knowledge transfer is also necessary and invaluable for us as researchers.

As we all know, two heads are better than one.

Annika Lorenz



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