I’m a PhD Candidate in the Strategy and Environment group at Rice University. I study how an organization uses a resource in a variety of ways and how doing so impacts its ability to innovate. For example, I study how organizations use the carbon nanomaterial graphene in various applications such as batteries, medicine, and fluorescent dyes. I have conducted my research using both statistical analysis of patents and in-depth field research within a scientific organization finding new applications for graphene.
In my research, I demonstrate that an organization can use its familiarity with a resource as a springboard for learning about other contexts in which the resource has been used. For example, since the material graphene has been used as a component in sports equipment, companies that uses the material graphene in applications such as batteries, photo cells, or textiles can use their expertise with the material as a starting point for learning about sports equipment.
Considering that reusing their resources in diverse ways can help a company innovate, I am also exploring how organizations use a familiar resource in new ways. This research offers practical insight for how organizations do something new with a familiar resource, and in doing so it begins to unlock our understanding of how organizations can create novel and valuable innovations by working with the resources they already have. Further, in my research I demonstrate that an organization’s resources are more than just the fuel for its innovation; its resources are hubs around which knowledge and human action revolve. Thus, to explain how organizations innovate, we must not just explain their ability to acquire and reconfigure resources, we must explain the social and cognitive process comprising the experience an organization is having with its resources.