Product and service design, group dynamics, networks, different types and sources of novelty.
I am from Malaysia and spent years studying and working in Singapore. Before my PhD I worked for about six years at PSA Corp., focusing on service design in a container port (e.g., hardware and software evaluation/specification, integration of technology to human work processes, prototyping algorithms, operational due diligence).
PhD in Technology and Operations Management, 2016
M.S. in Management Science and Engineering, 2003
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 2002
Research has demonstrated that certain team composition factors—high expertise similarity, high network cohesion, and mixed-gender teams—have predominantly negative effects on the teams’ invention outcomes. We highlight how these effects depend on an invention’s integrality, which increases task interdependencies among team members and thereby strengthens the positive relationship between team coordination and invention value. We show that (i) the main effects of these team composition factors reduce a team’s invention value but, more importantly, that (ii) invention integrality positively moderates those effects.
Using text analysis of business method (BM) patents, we show that BM innovation in the US manufacturing and trade sectors improves how a firm targets customers, manages product delivery, or enhances the product through service offerings. We then show that BM innovation creates value on average, but the value is larger when (1) it is engaged by trade (vs. manufacturing) firms; and (2) the firm’s BM innovation covers the range of customer targeting, product delivery, and product service support.
Exaptation refers to the emergence of novel functionalities in existing products. We compare how product-first (compared to problem-first) search affects the occurrence of exaptations in a dataset consisting of creative modifications (i.e., hacks) of IKEA products.
Comparative processes are crucial to how consumers evaluate design. What we show, however, is that consumers can be sophisticated in such comparisons. Given a novel design, they would lean on its similarities to past designs to understand its functionalities, but also lean on dis-similarities to other contemporary designs to seek distinctiveness and express their individuality.
We challenge the notion that collaboration is always better than working alone. In our study using technological and design patents we find that the decomposability of the invention significantly moderates the effectiveness of the lone inventor. Particularly, tasks that are less decomposable relatively advantages the lone inventor. We also show that lone inventors working on non-decomposable inventions and who have collaborated widely in the past outperforms even teams.
Using data from a major medical body scanner manufacturer, we show that free-rider problems impose a heavy cost in the maintenance of medical body scanners, and that pay per service maintenance plans can improve performance and reduce costs.
We show how one can identify styles (categories of product design that are perceived to be similar) using design patents. Using this data set we show that (i) style turbulence (unpredictable changes in style) is increasing over time, and (ii) technological turbulence (unpredictable changes in technology) have a U-shaped relationship to style turbulence. I use this data platform to study other questions (see e.g., “Anchored Differentiation”).