I am an assistant professor of Information Systems and Operations Management @ Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
I am curious about how novel innovations come about. The areas I’m broadly interested in: product design, service design, teams, networks, intellectual property.
Recently I work on (or am learning more about) how user-innovators generate novel product designs; how teams manage interdependencies; and how firms configure/reconfigure their business methods.
I am from Malaysia and spent many years studying and working in Singapore. I read quite a bit (fiction and non-fiction both: most recently “klara and the sun”, “sapiens”, “silent spring”, “genghis khan and the making of the modern world”, “the three-body problem trilogy”, “the black swan” and “antifragility”). Also travels (for food and sightseeing), and runs (never more than 5k). Before my PhD I worked for about six years @ PSA International, where I worked on port design and development (evaluating new technologies, prototyping new operations algorithms, hardware and software specification and development, streamlining human work processes, etc.)
This is my CV.
PhD in Technology and Operations Management, 2016
M.S. in Management Science and Engineering, 2003
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 2002
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”).