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Faculty Insights

Five WSB Faculty Share Their Insights on Innovation

By Clare Becker

October 6, 2021

lightbulb atoms and stars swirl in a pattern

What does innovation mean to you? Maybe you automatically think about history-making events, like putting a man on the moon or the advent of the Apple computer. Or perhaps it’s something as simple, yet personally impactful, as discovering a faster way to shovel the driveway or approaching a difficult conversation with a fresh mindset. But big or small, one thing is certain: Innovation is anything but static. Innovation involves forward movement—it’s about driving change, thinking and doing in a different way to get a different result.

Here, five of WSB’s newest faculty members share their insights on innovation and what it means for their work.

Emaad Manzoor
Assistant Professor, Operations and Information Management

“To me, innovation means continually inventing new and creative ways to improve our lives and create value in a changing world. This innovation is often technological, but can also involve rapid adaptations in our own behavior, as we saw with the switch to virtual interactions during the pandemic. My work builds our analytical capability to handle a future where virtual interactions are even more prevalent and permeate settings such as shopping for a new car or learning how to bake. Traces of human behavior in such settings can take new and complex forms, such as 3D point clouds and dynamic networks, which require innovative tools and techniques to analyze.”

Qinglai He
Assistant Professor, Operations and Information Management

“Innovation is the energy to move our society forward. Innovation happens in business, academia, and any other fields. For me, as a researcher, working on emerging but rarely studied issues and addressing questions from a unique angle makes my work innovative.”

Nicholas Petruzzi
Professor, Operations and Information Management

“[Innovation] means ‘better’—a better thing or a better way. Implicit is the notion of novelty, but I think innovation means more. I think innovation means novelty that somehow, someway represents or reflects improvement. I’m in the idea exchange business. As such, my work (i.e., my teaching and my research), by definition, reflects my aspirant pursuit to produce novel ideas that have the potential to instill or inspire economic, social, and/or environmental improvement.”

Ishita Chakraborty
Assistant Professor, Marketing

“To me, innovation means either finding novel solutions to existing problems or simplifying existing solutions. I also believe true innovation starts at problem discovery, so I seek to identify and formulate new problems.”

Minjeong (MJ) Kim
Assistant Professor, Accounting and Information Systems

“I used to think of innovation as discovering something radically new. Now, I think that tweaking existing knowledge is also a type of critical innovation. My work in a lot of ways is closer to the latter type of innovation. I learn from the great works of others and try to expand our knowledge by identifying a question that has not yet been asked. Although one incremental change may seem small, these incremental expansions could add up and shift how we view the world!”

Read more faculty insights.