Mack Innovation Doctoral Association

The Mack Innovation Doctoral Association (MIDAs) is a student-led cross-department seminar series for Wharton PhD students interested in innovation research. As the field of innovation is inherently interdisciplinary, MIDAs is a forum for students from all Wharton departments to collaborate and share knowledge.

MIDAs offers an informal and stimulating environment for students to propose new research ideas, discuss preliminary work, highlight new data sources, receive suggestions from peers, and circulate helpful information. Industry-academic seminars and workshops connect theory to practice and allow members to watch current innovation challenges play out.

Participation in MIDAs is primarily for Wharton doctoral and postdoctoral students. If you do not meet these criteria but would like to join, please contact the organizers below.

MIDAs is a collaboration between Wharton PhD students, the Mack Institute, and Wharton Doctoral Programs. The seminar was started by two PhD students, Andrea Contigiani (Management) and Kyle Myers (Healthcare), in the spring of 2015.

Seminar Topics

  • Innovation and technology strategy
  • Financing of innovation
  • Organization of innovation
  • Innovation and science policy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economics of digitization

Schedule

View the schedule here (restricted access).

Board 2017–2018

Bowen Lou (OIDD) – bowenlou (at) wharton.upenn.edu
Charu Gupta (HCMG) – guptac (at) wharton.upenn.edu
Hongyu Xiao (BEPP) – hongxiao (at) wharton.upenn.edu
Jaeho Choi (MGMT) – jhchoi (at) wharton.upenn.edu
Tong Liu (FNCE) – tongl (at) wharton.upenn.edu

How to Join

To sign up, please email the organizers at board-innovation-group@wharton.upenn.edu.

Material

View the MIDAs PennBox here (restricted access)

Members and Alumni

Members

Sarath Balachandran

Sarath Balachandran

Sarath is a PhD student at Wharton, studying firm strategy. His research examines how institutions, both formal (laws, regulations, etc.) and informal (norms, customs, etc.) shape the way organizations engage with each other. In particular he is interested in how firms balance the need to protect themselves and their valuable resources with the growing need to collaborate with other actors in their environments in the pursuit of innovation. He holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech and previously worked for Unilever before joining the doctoral program at Wharton.

Research Keywords:

networks; alliances; innovation; institutions


Jiayi Bao

Jiayi Bao

Jiayi Bao is a doctoral student in the Business Economics and Public Policy Department. Her research interests are applied microeconomics and behavioral economics, with focuses on organizational decision-making in entrepreneurial environments and high skilled labor markets. She graduated from Vassar College in 2014 with a joint degree in Economics and Mathematics and received the DeGolier Prize for the student with the highest academic average. Her senior thesis, “Heterogeneous Effects of Informational Nudges on Pro-social Behavior,” was published in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Prior to Wharton, she worked in multiple organizations including PIMCO, Merrill Lynch, and Mizuho.

Research Keywords:

human capital; labor; entrepreneurship; behavioral biases; compensation and worker incentive; stock option and equity ownership; cooperation and cohesion within firms; equality and inequality in organizations


Andrew Boysen

Andrew Boysen

Andrew is interested in strategy and entrepreneurship. His research focuses on demand and firm-side search and sense-making processes, and their effect on competitive performance and organizational learning. His dissertation work focuses on how buyer behavior defines the dimensions of differentiation and competition, how these interactions shape competitive outcomes, and how organizations translate observed market outcomes to an understanding of the underlying demand structure. Other papers look at evolutionary search processes in corporate strategy, and the effects of policy on entrepreneurial decision making. Preferred methods include computational and statistical modeling.

Research Keywords:

computational modeling; big data; customer preferences; value-based strategy; disruption; industry dynamics; market segmentation; organizational learning; opportunity search


Andrea Contigiani

Andrea Contigiani

Andrea is a PhD student in Management at The Wharton School, where he studies innovation. He received a BS in Business Administration from LUISS, a MS in Economics and Social Science from Universita’ Bocconi, and a MA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Before starting the PhD program, he was a researcher at Wharton Entrepreneurship. His research explores different elements in the innovation process: from individual motivation to organizational structure, from strategic decision-making to intellectual property regulation. He uses primarily experimental methods, both in the laboratory and in the field. His dissertation investigates drivers and effects of experimentation, a fundamental strategic choice for both new ventures and mature firms.

Research Keywords:

innovation; experimentation; lean startup methodology; creativity; motivation; intellectual property; big data; e-commerce; acquisition strategy; technology investments


John Eklund

John Eklund

John’s research interests relate to the challenges large organizations face when implementing new strategies such as developing innovative business models. Understanding these challenges requires an appreciation of factors within the firm such as asset configurations, capabilities and structure as well as broader environmental issues such as industry competition and the role of financial markets. John started life as a research scientist with an MA (Chemistry) and D.Phil.(Physical Chemistry) from the University of Oxford. Following an MBA at the University of Notre Dame and prior to his Wharton PhD studies, John worked as a management consultant for A.T. Kearney, Strategy& (formerly Booz & Co.) and PwC.

Research Keywords:

organizational design, industry change, disruptive technology


Karren Knowlton

Karren Knowlton

Karren is in the Management Department at The Wharton School, with a focus on micro-organizational behavior. Her current research focuses on group dynamics, communication, emotion, entrepreneurship, and diversity. She received her BS in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and worked for Nike for two years as a manufacturing design engineer. She also earned her MBA from Olin Business School, with a focus on operations in the healthcare industry. Prior to coming to Wharton, she partnered with The Kauffman Foundation to conduct qualitative research on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in St. Louis, Missouri.

Research Keywords:

startups; ecosystems; collaboration; gender; networks; learning; geography; regional; local; multi-level


Hideto Koizumi

Hideto Koizumi

Hideto Koizumi is a second year in the PhD program in Applied Economics at Wharton. He graduated from Soka University of America in 2011 with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and from Yale University in 2012 with a M.A. in International and Development Economics.  Prior to attending the PhD program, he worked at the Innovations for Poverty Action, handling field experimental data.  His paper with Professor Tanaka from Tufts was presented at 2015 AEA Conference.  He is currently working on the existence and properties of stable matchings with complementarities under incomplete information using abstract convex analysis approach.

Research Keywords:

market design; matching; networks; pay for success; patent; advance market commitment; pharmaceuticals; development; emerging market


Bowen Lou

Bowen Lou

Bowen Lou is a doctoral student in the Operations, Information and Decisions Department of the Wharton School, with specialization in Information Systems. His research interest lies in the broad area of economics of information technologies. He studies how firms improve their productivity through technology and innovation. Bowen is also passionate about proposing or applying eclectic but robust solutions from network science and natural language processing to derive valuable insights in large-scale datasets and solve real-world problems.

Research Keywords:

technology; productivity; innovation; data analytics; network science; natural language processing


Alex Miller

Alex Miller

Alex is a Ph.D. student in Operations, Information, & Decisions with a concentration in information systems and technology. His research interests include crowdsourcing, data mining, and technology strategy. Alex has worked at an ed-tech startup supported by a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation and was previously a digital marketing analyst. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oregon with a degree in Mathematics.

Research Keywords:

informational technology; crowdsourcing; digital innovation; data mining; technology strategy; A/B testing; startups


Tanya Paul

Tanya Paul

Tanya is a second year PhD in Accounting. Her research interests lie in corporate governance, information flow, and disclosure, especially within the contexts of entrepreneurship and young companies. She is a graduate from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with concentrations in statistics and finance.

Research Keywords

capital markets; disclosure; financial reporting; innovation; technology firms


Lindsay Relihan

Lindsay Relihan

Lindsay Relihan is a 5th year student in the Applied Economics program. Her research interests include household finance, real estate finance and urban economics. Her job market paper, “Is Amazon Killing Starbucks? The Effect of Online Retail on Local Economics”, researches the impact of online purchases on consumer consumption patterns at offline retail establishments. She graduated with honors with a BA in Economics from Wellesley College and worked at the Federal Reserve Board as a research assistant in Household and Real Estate Finance.

Research Keywords:

real estate finance; mortgage finance; consumer finance; housing economics; urban economics; asymmetric information; bank branching; online retail


Lisa Tang

Lisa Tang

Lisa is a 2nd year PhD student in the Management Department at The Wharton School. Her research interests lie at the intersection of emerging markets, corporate strategy and knowledge flow.

Research Keywords:

emerging markets; mergers & acquisitions; corporate strategy; organizational learning


Hongyu Xiao

Hongyu Xiao

Hongyu Xiao is a third year doctoral student in the PhD program in Applied Economics at Wharton. His research interests are in urban economics, housing and real estate, economics of innovation, and industrial organization. Before coming to Wharton, he graduated from Cornell University in 2011 with a B.A. majoring in Economics and Astronomy, and in 2012 with a M.P.S. in Applied Statistics. His current work focuses on the effect of commuting distance on innovator productivity and retail banking competition.

Research Keywords:

innovation; patent; commuting distance; productivity; agglomeration effects; competition; credit unions; entry barriers

Alumni

Jessica Jeffers

Jessica Jeffers

Jessica is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. Her research interest is in empirical corporate finance, particularly in the areas of governance and entrepreneurship. She is a winner of the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge, with a project to understand the relationship between the structure of within-firm networks and company performance. She has also written about Corporate Social Responsibility and Socially Responsible Investing. Prior to studying at Wharton, Jessica worked at Novantas LLC, a company specialized in consulting for banks. She is a graduate of Yale University with a major in Economics & Mathematics.

Research Keywords:

entrepreneurship; financing of entrepreneurship; social capital; corporate social responsibility; networks; patents; human capital; governance


Fujie Jin

Fujie Jin

Fujie Jin is an Assistant Professor of Operations and Decision Technologies at the Kelley Business School, Indiana University. She received her Ph.D. in Operations, Information and Decisions from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Statistics from Peking University. Her research focuses on the impact of technology on firm performance, with research interests in IT and firm productivity, social media, entrepreneurship, social networks and business analytics.

Research Keywords:

social media; productivity; network analysis; entrepreneurship; Big Data; e-commerce


Kyle Myers

Kyle Myers

Kyle is a Postdoctoral Fellow at NBER and will be an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School beginning Summer 2018. He is interested in the strategic behavior of scientists, the supply and demand determinants of innovation in the medical sector, and optimal financing of basic research.

Research Keywords:

innovation contests; healthcare organizations; pharmaceuticals; R&D strategy; science policy


Ryan Peters

Ryan Peters

Ryan is an Assistant Professor at Tulane University. His research focuses on macroeconomics, corporate finance, and entrepreneurial finance. Before attending graduate school at Wharton, Ryan worked in the macroeconomic forecasting and research groups at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, where he studied the effects of fiscal policy and contributed to federal open market committee research reports.

Research Keywords:

Venture Capital; Networks; Intangible Assets; Investment policy; Knowledge Capital; Organization Capital; Rick Analysis


Andy Wu

Andy Wu

Andy Wu is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Strategy Unit of the Harvard Business School. He studies organizational structure as a capability for the acquisition and utilization of human, financial, and social capital in technology-focused entrepreneurial ventures, through the lenses of organizational economics and strategic management. His current research looks at organizational decision-making in venture capital, diversity in R&D production team composition, corporate board committees, skilled immigration, and other topics.

Andy was recognized as one of the top 10 graduate teachers at the University of Pennsylvania; he was part of the teaching staff for Entrepreneurship, Managing the Emerging Enterprise, Formation and Implementation of Entrepreneurial Ventures, Healthcare Entrepreneurship, and other courses across the MBA, Executive MBA, and undergraduate programs.

He is passionate about linking theory with the practice of technology commercialization entrepreneurship. He advises high technology companies in both an informal capacity and as a board member on topics ranging from closing financing rounds to IP strategy. He is a founder and investor in Identified Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based firm that delivers cloud-hosted aerial data collected via proprietary UAVs and dock stations to the upstream energy industry. He has 11 patents granted or pending across rapid prototyping, medical imaging, robotics, and e-commerce.

He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Applied Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his S.B. in Economics and in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Research Keywords:

Venture Capital; Corporate Venture Capital; Alliances; Angel Investors; Software; SBIR