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TIM-troduction: Colleen Cunningham


Let us introduce Colleen Cunningham of London Business School, which is, unsurprisingly, in London, UK! Colleen, you recently joined the TIM Executive Committee as an At-Large member - thank you for your service! So…

What are your research interests right now?

My current research interests relate to frictions in the commercialization of innovation. My interest in this began with a question I had while working on research pre-PhD: “why do we get so little out of all the research money we spend in terms of new stuff?” Of course, this is very broad! Right now, there are a few areas that I’m particularly interested in. First, I’m interested in understanding the role of acquisitions in facilitating (and hampering) innovation. Second, I’m interested in understanding how inventor characteristics shape (and limit) the types of inventions and subsequent innovations that are produced. Third, I’m interested in understanding how geography and other external market characteristics inhibit (and support) the development of very novel innovations.

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

Right now, I’d say my paper “Killer acquisitions” with co-authors (Florian Ederer and Song Ma, both from Yale). We formalize and test for the killer acquisition phenomenon: that firms may acquire innovative targets solely to discontinue the target’s innovation projects and pre-empt future competition. This has generated excitement among scholars and policy makers. 

Beyond my own work, what excites me most in academia is helping colleagues and PhD students develop their cool ideas into great papers.

Tell us something personal about yourself.

Growing up I was an avid swimmer, and I still love swimming, particularly “open water” in oceans, rivers, and lakes. I like to surprise (and terrify) colleagues and friends by telling them I just went for a swim in the Thames. Related to my love of swimming, I have done several Ironman triathlons and recently went on a vacation that involved swimming between and around the islands of Malta. I hope to swim the English Channel in the not-too-distant future.

Thanks Colleen!

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