Ankur Chavda is an Assistant Professor in the Strategy and Business Policy Group at HEC Paris. He studies the incentives for innovation within firms. His job market paper used Netflix’s entry as a shock to television show production, exploring the trade-off between two approaches to creating innovative products: real options and commitment.
Prior to entering academia, Ankur worked in the tech industry at startups in New York, London and Tokyo as well as at Microsoft in Seattle. He had a number of roles spanning ten years at Microsoft, the last one focused on strategy for the Windows organization. Outside of the tech industry, he was a “stagiaire” at the European Commission and a Fulbright scholar at the University of Iceland. Ankur received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Innovation is central to
modern economies. Governments recognize innovation’s importance for growth and
job creation. Firms view innovation as a key source of competitive advantage. However,
despite innovation’s broad importance, relatively little is known about how to
foster innovation. Does innovation require long term commitment to a single
idea or rapid “pivoting” between multiple ideas? Should government strengthen
or weaken property rights to improve an industry’s rate of innovation? How
important is team composition to a group’s ability to innovate?
Empirical work addressing these kinds of questions have been stymied by the nature of innovation itself. Innovations are unique. They can differ in aspects such as the benefits they generate for users, resources required to bring to market and products they could improve. This poses a challenge to the empirical study of innovation by calling into question whether any dataset of innovations allows for statistical analysis. Causal statements of why some environments led to increased levels of innovation would be confounded by variation in the type of innovation generated in each environment. Hence studies of innovation have been limited to datasets such as patents which allow researchers to control for some of this variation. Although studies of patent databases have produced valuable insights on innovation, decreasing returns to future work call for new sources of data on innovation.
To that end Ankur uses the television industry to expand our understanding of innovation. Each television show can be viewed as an innovation since shows are unique, each bringing a new product to market. The production of television shows also has a set rich of characteristics useful to studying innovation. Sometimes the first episode of a show is produced before the full show is ordered, allowing studies of how commitment affects innovations. The intellectual property of shows can be held by the distributor or by 3rd parties, allowing studies of how property rights affect innovation. The teams behind each show can be tracked across their entire careers, allowing studies of how team composition affects innovation. Over the industry’s history, entrants, technological change and regulators have generated shocks to the industry which could enable causal empirical research.
Strategic Management for MBA Students
Strategic management involves all units and functions within an organization and therefore requires the integration of the various functional areas of business knowledge. This course explores strategic management from the perspective of the general manager whose responsibility is to maximize either the overall performance of the company or the performance of a business unit within this company. The course consists of three main sections: business strategy, corporate strategy and sustainability strategy.
Innovation and Technology Managment for Doctoral Students
Starting with Schumpeter (1942), innovation has been seen as the “fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion”. Arrow (1962) however pointed out innovation has several unique characteristics that differentiate it from other types of economic goods, including asymmetric information and moral hazard issues. This course investigates topics such as endogenous growth and principle-agent contracting in the context of innovation, building on existing theoretical and empirical work.
Chavda, Ankur and Eklund, John, It’s Not What You Know, It’s Where You Are: Understanding the Relationship between Hierarchy and Experience on Performance (April 1, 2021).
Chavda, Ankur and Minjae, Kim, Why Does Inequality Increase with Flexible Employment? (March 14, 2021).