View the programme for each day by clicking on the links below.
Please note the programme is subject to change
Florian Englmaier, Professor of Organisational Economics, LMU Munich
Misha Teplitskiy, Harvard University*
Eamon Duede, University of Chicago
Michael Menietti, Harvard Business School
Karim Lakhani, Harvard Business School
This paper reports a randomized controlled trial from a larger project designed to understand why scientists cite particular works, and what implications scientists' motivations have for what can or cannot be inferred from citation counts. In particular, the trial evaluates whether status signals – how highly or lowly a particular work has been cited by others -- causes scientists' to perceive the quality of that work as being high or low. Using an online experiment with 7 thousand scientists around the world we find clear evidence that status signals do indeed cause changes in perceptions of quality. Furthermore, the effect is driven by "low-information" authors – those who do not know very well the work they are citing. The study provides unusually direct evidence of the Matthew Effect in science, and suggests that status signals bias citation counts, making them a biased measure of scientific quality.
Saurabh A Lall, University of Oregon*
Dyana Mason, University of Oregon
Li-Wei Chen, Old Dominion University
While entrepreneurial mentoring is generally considered useful, we know very little about how entrepreneurs actually find their mentors, and whether mentoring has an impact on venture performance. Past studies on entrepreneurial mentoring have explicitly paired entrepreneurs with mentors and found positive effects on self-confidence, opportunity recognition, and the pursuit of entrepreneurial careers. While mentoring offers a promising avenue of support for entrepreneurs, several questions still remain. First, how do entrepreneurs actually connect with mentors (when not formally paired), and what strategies can help them find an appropriate mentor? How can we assess the quality of entrepreneurial mentoring? And finally, what are the impacts of online mentoring, not only on entrepreneurial outcomes, but also on venture performance? We tackle these questions through a randomized controlled trial conducted in partnership with a large international nonprofit organization (MicroMentor, a program of Mercy Corps) that facilitates mentor-mentee connections online. On this platform, mentors are not assigned mentees, but search for and engage with each other through an open platform, similar to online dating websites. An entrepreneur is free to reach out to any potential mentor that they believe may be helpful, and a mentor may choose to respond or not. Similarly, mentors can also directly reach out to entrepreneurs that they would like to help. Two potential factors may prevent entrepreneurs from connecting: The first is a lack of confidence - entrepreneurs are unsure of their abilities and intimidated by the prospect of reaching out to a mentor. The second factor relates to information asymmetry - entrepreneurs fail to share sufficient information for mentors to judge how to provide support. We therefore test the effectiveness of two strategies designed to help entrepreneurs connect to mentors – building confidence or reducing information asymmetry. We will compare the impact of these two strategies (and a control group) on connection rates and the quality of those connections. In follow-up analysis, we will compare business performance for entrepreneurs that received mentoring compared to those that did not. Our study has important practical implications given the extensive resources that may be spent in formal matchmaking programs, and the limitations of these approaches (e.g., geographic and cultural barriers to participation). Understanding the antecedents of successful mentor-mentee matching, and its effects on venture outcomes can help practitioners develop more robust and scalable entrepreneurial support programs.
Sofia Bapna, University of Minnesota*
Martin Ganco, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Previous research shows that traditional equity investors are mostly male, and that they prefer male founders. We seek to understand whether such founder gender preferences extend to the equity crowdfunding context, and if they do, whether they vary by investor gender. Through a randomized field experiment, we find that inexperienced female investors are significantly more interested in ventures with female founders, than those with male founders. In contrast, we did not observe founder gender preferences among experienced female investors. For male investors, we did not see a significant difference in interest in investing based on founder gender, and this result did not vary by investor experience. The study suggests that equity crowdfunding may be a promising venue for female entrepreneurs.
Stephen Anderson, Stanford
Pradeep Chintagunta, Chicago
Naufel Vilcassim, LSE*
This paper studies the impact of international coaching on the strategic marketing changes of emerging market entrepreneurs. It sheds light on three novel research questions: (1) What is the effect of remote business coaching on firm sales? (2) Does this international coaching stimulate greater changes in marketing strategies (pivots) or marketing tactics (practices)? (3) Do entrepreneurs benefit more from coaching when they are less strategic in their decision-making? We conducted a randomized control trial with 930 entrepreneurs in Uganda to examine the impact of an international coaching intervention that connects management professionals in primarily advanced markets and entrepreneurs in emerging markets with the aim of improving business performance. The analysis finds a positive and significant main effect on firm sales – treated entrepreneurs increase monthly sales by 32.4% on average. In addition, entrepreneurs who receive international coaching are 63.3% more likely to have pivoted or shifted their marketing strategy in a new direction. And consistent with this mechanism of inducing strategic business changes, the results show that entrepreneurs who receive international coaching tend to do better when they (ex ante) lack strategic focus. These results have important implications for the development of marketing strategies by entrepreneurs and multinational managers, as well as for organizations interested in improving the performance of small firms in emerging markets and beyond.
Rem Koning, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School*
Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated bias against female and minority entrepreneurs and inventors. This research has relied on clever experimental designs and unique natural experiments which hold constant the underlying "invention," while allowing the demographics of the inventor to vary. These designs have cleanly identified bias directed at the gender and race of the inventor or entrepreneur. If female and minority inventors generate different types of inventions and products, then these "holding constant" designs may mask bias that stems from the different types of products these under-represented inventors choose to develop. Recent work has documented that female biomedical researchers are more likely to address diseases that impact women. Thus, investors may not fund a women inventor because of her gender but because of the "gendered" nature of her invention. We propose a field experiment to investigate the mechanisms that drive "product-market bias." First, we explore when female and minority inventors are more likely to generate product ideas that benefit female and minority consumers. Second, we measure bias against these "under-represented" products by critical gatekeepers, such as investors and executives. Third and finally, we explore the implications of product-market bias for consumer welfare and the direction of innovation.
Leonardo Iacovone, World Bank
William Maloney, World Bank*
David Mckenzie, World Bank
Differences in management quality are an important contributor to productivity differences across countries. A key question is then how to best improve poor management in developing countries. We test two different approaches to improving management in Colombian auto parts firms. The first uses intensive and expensive one-on-one consulting, while the second draws on agricultural extension approaches to provide consulting to small groups of firms at approximately one-third of the cost of the individual approach. Both approaches lead to improvements in management practices of a similar magnitude (8-10 percentage points), so that the new group-based approach dominates on a cost-benefit basis. Moreover, we find some evidence that the group-based intervention led to increases in firm size over the next 1.5 years, including a statistically significant increase in employment, while the impacts on firm outcomes are smaller and statistically insignificant for the individual consulting. The results point to the potential of group-based approaches as a pathway to scaling up management improvements.
Chaired by: Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive, Nesta (UK)
Roland Busch, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Siemens (Germany)
Erica Fuchs, Professor, Carnegie Mellon University (US)
Christian Luft, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany)
With concerns that good ideas are getting harder to find, this session will consider how business and policymakers can encourage radical innovations that will power future growth.
Chaired by: Dietmar Harhoff, Director, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Germany)
Christian Bason, CEO, Danish Design Centre (Denmark)
Chris Carr, Director, Better Regulation, UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (UK)
Piret Tõnurist, Project Manager, Lead in Systems Thinking and Anticipatory Governance, OPSI, OECD (France)
What are the latest innovations in innovation policy itself? We will hear examples of some of the most exciting policy initiatives and explore how policy can be made more agile and responsive to user need.
Chaired by: Susan Amat, Executive Director, GEN Accelerate, VP for Education, Global Entrepreneurship Network (US)
As entities, from governments and corporations to universities and investors, are devoting an increasing amount of resources toward entrepreneurship ecosystem building, the metrics utilized to gage success are as varied as their approaches. The lack of concretization of variables and thresholds results in poor means of comparison and rare opportunities to assess ROI or define a set of "best practices." This session will delve into approaches to ecosystem building and create a framework for developing metrics that will assess impact while also giving your team - and the entrepreneurs - the insights they need to succeed.
Chaired by: Ana Goicoechea, Senior Economist, The World Bank Group (US)
Patricio Dalton, Associate Professor, Tilburg University (Netherlands)
Chloé Le Coq, Assistant Professor, Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden)
Caio Piza, Economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank Group (US)
This session will showcase some of the leading trials from innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth policy. It will provide attendees with policy relevant evidence and insights, and inspiration to experiment with new ideas and approaches that improve the effectiveness of their own programmes.
Chaired by: Juan Mateos-Garcia, Director of Innovation Mapping, Nesta (UK)
Frédérique Bone, Research Fellow, University of Sussex (UK)
Daniel Hain, Assistant Professor, Aalborg University (Denmark)
Jan Kinne, Researcher, ZEW (Germany)
In this session we will showcase examples of how 'big data' in the sense of new datasets, analytics methods and visualisation tools can be used to inform innovation and growth policy.
Chaired by: Rem Koning, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School (US)
Hazjier Pourkhalkhali, Global Director of Strategy and Value, Optimizely (Netherlands)
Erin McLaine, Director of Experimentation, Global Product, Delivery Hero (Germany)
Private-sector companies increasingly rely on experimentation to do everything from setting prices to testing out new products to charting their next strategic moves. While startups and incumbents increasingly rely on sophisticated statistical tools to run their experiments, these companies have also made key changes to their management and organisational structures in order to make experimentation work for their strategic needs. In this workshop managers from successful technology companies will discuss how they have designed their organisations to focus on experimentation and then work with attendees to help them redesign their organisations for experimentation.
Chaired by: Alexander Kritikos, Research Director, DIW Berlin (Germany)
Rannia Leontaridi, Director, Business Growth and Office for Artificial Intelligence, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (UK)
Najy Benhassine, Practice Director, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation, The World Bank Group (US)
Concerns about a global productivity slowdown continue. In this session we will look at the latest research on its causes, the approaches that policymakers can use to boost productivity and how experimentation can be used to uncover, test and develop the most effective solutions.
Albert Bravo-Biosca, Director, Innovation Growth Lab, Nesta (UK)
Facilitated by: Hazjier Pourkhalkhali, Global Director, Strategy & Value, Optimizely (Netherlands)
Optimizely has researched the state of experimentation for many years. In a benchmark of over 100,000 experiments, a number of key best practices and common pitfalls were identified that led to the creation of the Problem-First Hypothesis framework. When experimentation groups start, they often see experimentation as a chance to validate or disprove new ideas. Yet high performing teams rarely begin with ideas. Instead, they hone their ability to identify the most critical problems their end users face, and prioritize them to understand the most valuable work they can deliver. In this workshop, we will share how to understand the user journey and prioritize pain points. From there, we practice how to embrace creativity and risk-taking in search of higher-performing outcomes. Teams will spend the session developing hypotheses with the coaching of expert practitioners. At the end, volunteers will have the opportunity to present their experiment design proposal to the group for broader feedback.
Chaired by: Haylee Ham, Data Scientist, Laboratory for Innovation Science Harvard (US)
Jack Orlik, Programme Manager, Open Jobs, Nesta (UK)
Glenda Quintini, Head of Skills Unit, Skills and Employability Division, Directorate for Employment Labour and Social Affairs, OECD (France)
Bledi Taska, Chief Economist, Burning Glass (US)
Innovation depends on having a talent pool with the right training and skills. How do we understand and measure what innovation skills are needed and how those needs are changing? In this workshop, leading experts from academia and industry will discuss novel sources of skill and job data, how that data can be analyzed, and how this data can inform and measure experiments. The workshop will close with a hands-on dive into the skills data, allowing participants to query and visualize the changing nature of innovative work.
Chaired by: TBC
Charlie Day, CEO, Innovation and Science Australia (Australia)
Jenn Gustetic, Program Executive, Small Business Innovation Research, NASA (US)
Henry Sauermann, Associate Professor of Strategy and POK Pühringer PS Chair in Entrepreneurship, ESMT Berlin (Germany)
Scientists and researchers are largely driven by non-pecuniary motives. Understanding these motives is crucial when designing experiments that shape research outcomes and scientific productivity. In this workshop leading experts on scientific and researcher careers will walk through what makes scientists tick and how this knowledge can be used for policy interventions. Attendee should leave with a better sense of the “levers” that they could pull to improve research, productivity, collaboration, commercialisation and impact.
Chaired by: TBC
Christian Busch, German Accelerator (Germany)
Matthias Notz, Managing Director, German Accelerator (Germany)
Governments increasingly see accelerators and incubators as tools to promote innovation and growth. In this workshop, you will learn about three different incubation models, what makes them work and how they integrate with larger government initiatives. Following the discussion, the speakers will work with attendees to help the design an “accelerator” strategy.
Facilitated by: Triin Edovald, Principal Researcher, Nesta and Teo Firpo, Senior Researcher, Nesta (UK)
In this workshop, policymakers will discuss the key political and scientific factors that need to be considered in scoping, designing and running RCTs. The workshop will consist of a series of short presentations, group work and small roundtable discussions. At the end of the session, participants will be familiar with a simple framework of key factors needed for a successful RCT; they will also have an appreciation for how this framework can be applied to specific cases.
Facilitated by: Juan Mateos-Garcia, Head of Innovation Mapping, Nesta, and Chantale Tippett, Principal Researcher, Innovation Systems, Nesta (UK)
This session will give participants an opportunity to turn their data into insight by walking them through key phases of the project pipeline. Starting with an overview of how big data can be used to explore questions of interest in the innovation policy landscape, the session will then be broken down into a series of practical exercises covering data collection, analysis and outputs. These will consist of a combination of short presentations with insight drawn from Nesta’s vast experience and small group exercises. The practical exercises will encourage participants to reflect on how they might implement projects in their own institutional context. The session will conclude with a Q&A on the use of big data for exploring innovation and a recap of key points.
Facilitated by: Marieke Goettsch, Senior Policy Manager, Innovation Growth Lab, Nesta and James Phipps, Head of Policy Development and Economic Analysis, Innovation Growth Lab, Nesta (UK)
Luke Nightingale, SME Policy Team Leader, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (UK)
Harald Hochreiter, Strategy, FFG Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Austria)
The IGL partnership was formed with the aim of making policy more experimental. During the conference you will have examples of new policy ideas and the benefits of applying robust methodologies to learn what works. But what does it take to become experimental in practice, what barriers are you likely to encounter and how can these be overcome? This workshop provides the opportunity to put hear answers to these questions and many more from senior policymakers at FFG and BEIS, two organisations that are leading the way in applying experimental approaches to better address policy challenges.
Facilitated by: Xavier Cirera, Senior Economist, World Bank Group (US)
This session will present two new World Bank products. First the session will present the technology adoption survey and present initial results from questionnaire piloting. In the second part of the session we will describe the “Innovation Policy guide” and some of the key instruments to support technology adoption in developing countries.
Chaired by: Jenn Gustetic, Program Executive, Small Business Innovation Research, NASA (US)
Tris Dyson, Executive Director, Centre for Challenge Prizes, Nesta (UK)
Large bureaucracies such as those of the federal government are notoriously slow to innovate. But in recent years, new technology-enabled approaches to helping government meet its public obligations have begun to find a foothold in the bureaucratic culture in the United States. Different policy innovations may follow very different pathways to implementation and encounter very different obstacles and opportunities along the way. This session will explore how the U.S. federal government overcame obstacles to scale-up the use of different types of policy innovations, including agile software development, incentive prizes and challenges, citizen science, public dialogues, and “design thinking”. It will explore eight specific lessons for program and project managers who want to expand and scale up innovative approaches to problem solving in government. Finally, the session will also explore the challenges to scaling policy innovations in other countries and specific examples where scaling has been more difficult.
Facilitated by: Teo Firpo, Senior Researcher, Innovation Growth Lab, Nesta (UK)
Every year, public and philanthropic organisations dedicate billions of euros to fund basic research, R&D and business innovation. Yet despite the importance and magnitude of this funding, there is little agreement on how best to do this. Should funders pick the best teams, or the best ideas? Should they use panels, or individual assessor scores? If the latter, how many assessors is enough? And how should the assessors be picked? These are just some of the questions that one might ask of a funding system, but little hard evidence exists to help them decide. This session will focus on a growing body of research on these questions, providing insights to help funders make better decisions. It will also help participants, through interactive and hands-on activities, to think through how they might improve their funding processes through experimentation, evidence and data.
Facilitated by: Alexis Pala, Research Associate, Y Lab (UK)
Networked, dynamic problems require a reimagination of public services and how actors interact both inside and outside of government — the challenge is how. This session introduces the concept of problem framing via a new framework for understanding and conceptualising evidence given problem understanding. This new framework orients and challenges users to recognise when they need to be evidence-informed, building validity through experimentation, rather than evidence-based. It strives to equip participants with the beginnings of a problem framing mindset and some methods they can apply to continue approaching their problem spaces differently. Framing is about sense-making—the shifting from unknown-unknowns to higher levels of certainty, acknowledging that how we think, greatly affects methods and outcomes.
Facilitated by: Jen Rae, Head of UK Innovation Policy, Nesta (UK)
Neil Lee, Associate Professor of Economic Geography, LSE (UK)
Tom Bridges, Director Cities Advisory Services, ARUP (UK)
Harry Armstrong, Head of Technology Futures, Nesta (UK)
Policymakers are increasingly turning to methods such as innovation testbeds and regulatory sandboxes to test out now emerging technologies and innovation interact with real world environments. In this workshop we will explore how these allow policymakers to safely explore the economic and societal opportunities that emerging technologies could offer, whilst minimising risks and negative impacts to the public. We will discuss the findings from two new Nesta research projects and hear from specific examples across the world.
IGL Partner Presentations & Themed Discussion (IGL Partners only)