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TIM-troduction: Aldona Kapacinskaite


Here we have Aldona Kapacinskaite, Assistant Professor at the Department of Management and Technology at Bocconi University. Aldona  also won the 2022 TIM Division Best Dissertation Award.

What are your research interests right now?

I am interested in studying how external-to-the-firm factors such as competitor moves and changes in the regulatory environment affect resource redeployment and recombination as well as intellectual asset appropriation through secrecy.

What do you think is your most exciting contribution to academia?

I hope one of my contributions to academia will be to enhance our understanding of secrecy and trade secrets. While we have often empirically equated inventions with patents, we know that firms more frequently use secrecy, finding it a more effective manner to protect their intellectual assets. However, there is little evidence on actual secrecy and trade secret use due to the nature of the phenomenon. One way to get at directly studying secrecy is to focus on regulated industries where disclosure is mandated barring trade secret claims, as we do in a paper with Colleen Cunningham. I hope this research broadens our understanding of innovation and enables studying neglected areas of external knowledge sourcing, such as markets for secret technology.

At the 2022 Conference you won an award from TIM. Tell us about your dissertation and why you think its findings are important.

My dissertation is motivated by an attempt to advance the theoretical understanding of and empirical evidence for innovation-related phenomena driven by environmental change. I focus on distinct stages of the innovation process from invention, through refinement, to adoption of new technologies. Three main questions shaped my inquiry: First, how do external-to-the-firm appropriability conditions drive secret invention generation and use? Second, how do incentives to innovate during an industry downturn affect refinement efforts and productivity differences across various technologies? Third, how does environmental change in a related industry affect the likelihood of investing in a new technology in a focal industry? The dissertation combines three different datasets across several settings in the energy sector and investigates the antecedents of various innovation outcomes, including the use and generation of trade secrets, process innovations, and new technology investments. I hope my dissertation paves some way in measuring innovation in novel ways, and thus deriving new insights, such as the dynamics of markets for secret inventions.

Tell us something personal about yourself.

I am Lithuanian and someone who grew up next to a basketball court, so I would be up for a pickup game anytime. I have also recently started learning Brazilian Jiujitsu, surfing and now that I live close to the Alps, I am trying to improve my skiing!