Bringing Research and Practice Together

Larry Bennigson and Olubunmi Faleye work in the same town, but they had never met.

Although they didn’t know each other, both men began exploring essentially the same business question with colleagues: How have the increased monitoring demands that have been placed on corporate boards affected innovation and value creation in publicly traded companies? That’s an important issue — for board members, for corporate executives, for shareholders and for the economy as a whole.

Faleye, who is an associate professor of finance and the Trahan Family Faculty Fellow at Northeastern University in Boston, together with his coauthors Rani Hoitash of Bentley University and Udi Hoitash of Northeastern University, addressed the question through academic research. Bennigson, a Boston-based consultant and a former lead director and chair of a publicly traded company, and his coauthor, Frank S. Leonard, drew on their extensive business experience as they developed their ideas.

Both author groups sent their papers to MIT Sloan Management Review’s editorial department within days of each other. It was a surprising coincidence, and at MIT SMR, we concluded readers would benefit from seeing these two quite different approaches to the same problem, side by side. You’ll find both sets of authors’ articles in this issue, as part of our special report on cultivating innovation.

Bringing together academic and business insights gets to the heart of MIT Sloan Management Review’s mission to bridge the worlds of academic research and business practice. And, while the synchronistic timing of Faleye et al.’s and Bennigson and Leonard’s submissions was unusual, it’s not at all unusual for MIT SMR articles to bridge theory and practice — in a variety of ways.

For instance, in “Experiments in Open Innovation at Harvard Medical School,” Karim R. Lakhani of the Harvard Business School and Kevin J. Boudreau of London Business School — who first became colleagues while both were doctoral students at the MIT Sloan School of Management — teamed up with Eva Guinan, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, to explain how that medical school has been applying open innovation concepts.

Then, in “Optimizing Your Digital Business Model,” Peter Weill and Stephanie L.

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