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Ram MudambiFox School of Business Professor Dr. Ram Mudambi and his team of researchers received a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to host the First International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation (iBEGIN) Conference at the Fox School. It was preceded by workshops in 2013 and 2014.

The two-day conference, held Nov. 13-14 at Fox’s Alter Hall, was sponsored by the NSF, with support from Temple’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) and the Fox School Institute for Global Management Studies. It was aimed, Mudambi said, toward using research from his team’s iBEGIN initiatives as the foundation for a long-lasting research community focused on the intersection of the three fields of international business, economic geography, and technology/innovation studies.

“In a very deep sense, all society is based upon human connections. We’re social animals,” said Mudambi, the Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategic Management and Perelman Senior Research Fellow at Fox. “This conference applied that theory to the sphere, and business and economics. We developed the concept that the human experience is built on human socialization, and use it to understand how connections across space create value.”

The conference featured three keynote speakers, who addressed attendees Nov. 14 in an open-to-the-public setting. The keynotes included:

  • Dr. John Cantwell, Rutgers University, Distinguished Professor of Management and Global Business, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Business Studies
  • Dr. Harald Bathelt, University of Toronto, Canada Research Chair Professor in Innovation and Governance, and editor of Journal of Economic Geography
  • Dr. Mark Lorenzen, Copenhagen Business School, Professor of Innovation and Organizational Economics, and Director of the Danish Research Unit of Industrial Dynamics (DRUID)

“These three keynote speakers have been great supporters of our iBEGIN work, and I could not have been more delighted to host them,” Mudambi said. “John is the editor of the top international business journal, Harald is the editor of the top economic geography journal, and Mark is the director of DRUID, one of the world’s largest research networks in innovation studies. To have them under one roof at one conference was a truly unique opportunity.”

The iBEGIN Conference is being promoted as part of GlobalPhilly 2015, a two-month international exposition, featuring events geared toward the promotion of international arts, commerce, education, heritage, and more in Philadelphia. Mudambi said papers were submitted to the conference from all over the world, including from: Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States government, the United States Federal Reserve, and more.

Mudambi’s ongoing iBEGIN initiative is a collaborative effort with professionals in centers around the world, including: Denmark’s Copenhagen Business School, Italy’s Politecnico di Milano and University of Venice Ca Foscari, the Indian School of Business, Henley Business School at the University of Reading (UK), and many others.

The next research project on the horizon for Mudambi and his globally dispersed research team involves battery power, a progression of yet another long-running iBEGIN segment on renewable energy and sustainability. The team has documented the important role that emerging economies like China and India are playing in the innovative landscape of the wind turbine industry, but batteries are the key to unlocking the potential of these renewable energy technologies.

“Batteries are the steam engine of our age,” Mudambi said. “We have ways to produce energy, but we have no way to harness it and store it. Today, if we had to run our planet on stored battery power, we could run perhaps 1 percent of our power applications. Imagine if you could run the whole planet on batteries. It’s a problem that, once solved, will revolutionize society.”

–Christopher A. Vito

Fox’s Ram Mudambi hosts NSF-sponsored iBEGIN Conference


Discussed in this issue:
• NSF iBegin Conference
• Regulating Emotions
• Social Media Branding

Photo of Samuel Hodge
Samuel Hodge

In his course “Law in American Society,” an animation of folk singer Willie Nelson, designed by Dr. Samuel D. Hodge, strums his guitar as he explains the difference between public and private law.

Professor of Legal Studies at the Fox School of Business, Hodge’s use of such animations demonstrates his place as an innovative educator. Hodge recently was chosen by the Academy for Teachers to serve as its 2016 master teacher and will lead a program on innovation in teaching.

The Academy for Teachers is an annual selective conference in New York City that’s intended for teachers. One master professor, as chosen by the Academy, leads a lesson for a number of selected high school teachers on innovative strategies in teaching. Previous master teachers include Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and historian Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Pulitzer Prize in Music winner David Lang; and renowned social and political activist Gloria Steinem.

This year, Hodge will teach 18 high school teachers Jan. 8, 2016, at the one-day conference.

Hodge has taught a variety of undergraduate- and graduate-level classes in law and medicine at Temple University for more than 40 years. He currently leads a law lecture that consists of 400 to 600 students, which is considered one of the largest courses at Temple. To keep students interested in a class of that size, Hodge has had to get creative.

“You have to throw conventional wisdom out the window,” Hodge said.

Hodge developed multimedia presentations for his courses, consisting of self-created animations.

“Everything moves. Everything I say projects behind me on the board,” Hodge said, “but I actually have a cartoon Professor Sam, and he sings and narrates.”

The animations include a long list of celebrities. His latest is actor Jack Nicholson discussing various areas in law. Hodge has an art and music background. Since 1982, he has owned music-publishing company Eastwick Publishing, and he’s also produced illustrations for various medical books he’s written. So it was fitting, he said, that for his educational animations he’d write the songs, record the audio, and then create an animated character to perform them.

The best way to gain the interest of the “MTV generation,” he said, was through an audio-visual format.

“I call it edutainment,” Hodge said. “It is a combination of education and entertainment. People grew up in a visual format, so people want to be taught in that format.”

From a nominated group of 6,000, the Academy for Teachers selected 18 high school teachers that Hodge will educate. The “master class” can be given in any subject matter. The focus is to showcase unusual or innovative teaching techniques. Hodge will teach anatomy to the group of teachers in his area of expertise: AV format.

On the morning of the program, Hodge will teach the fundamentals of anatomy through song at the Museum of Natural History. He also plans to show the dozen-and-a-half teachers video of a heart being dissected. During the second segment of the day, the group will travel to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he will take them into the lab to see a dissection first hand.

Joe Pangaro, a second-year teaching assistant in Hodge’s “Law and American Society” course and “Legal Environment of Business” courses, said Hodge’s passion for teaching is present daily.

“Every year, when a new set of TAs gets to know him and gets exposed to his workload, there is a period of shock when you are just in awe of how much he accomplishes in a day,” said Pangaro, a third-year law student. “When you find out he does not drink coffee, it seems all the more amazing, but then you spend some time with him and you realize it’s because he truly loves everything he is doing.”

Hodge hopes to impart to the high school educators a degree of fearlessness in their use of technology to demonstrate complex topics.

“This was a total surprise,” he said. “I didn’t apply for it, they just called me out of the blue one day. Then I saw the list of people who have been selected before me and I said, ‘Why am I within that elite group?’ But I am, and it’s exciting.”

Ram Mudambi

Innovation in the United States is not lacking. It’s just that patents are being registered in less-likely locales, according to researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

The findings are part of an ongoing research initiative spearheaded by Dr. Ram Mudambi, the Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategic Management.

The umbrella project is dubbed iBEGIN, or International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation. A segment of the project explores innovation hubs in the United States, undertaking detailed analyses of more than 900 metropolitan areas in the U.S. In one of the first published outcomes of this research effort, Mudambi and his team examined the evolution of Detroit, a mainstay of the global automotive industry for over a century. While Detroit, a downtrodden city, continues to experience manufacturing decline, it is doing well as an innovation center, he said.

“The beauty of innovation is that it never stops,” Mudambi said. “In 1960, the U.S. was the richest country in the world, and Detroit was its richest city. And while the city has been in a continuous state of decline, we found that Detroit’s innovation numbers are very healthy.”

iBEGIN researchers define innovation through patent output, and they say Detroit’s patent output since 1975 has grown at a rate of almost twice the U.S. average. Detroit’s innovative resilience, Mudambi said, is due to its continuing centrality in global innovation networks in the automotive industry. It has maintained this centrality through connectedness to other worldwide centers of excellence in this industry, such as Germany and Japan. Its innovative links to Germany have been rising steadily over the last three decades, while its association with Japan began more recently, but also shows a steep upward trajectory.

Their research also unearthed a clearer picture of the shifting lines of American innovation. Today, Mudambi said, the Sun Belt features the country’s leading innovation hubs like San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Austin, Texas. Though the more traditional centers of innovation excellence in the Rust Belt cities have generally maintained healthy rates of innovation output, they have seen their shares of national innovative output decline. These include cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago.

“In the 19th century and for most of the 20th century, the innovation hotspots were co-located with centers of manufacturing mass production,” Mudambi said. “These were concentrated in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest. That’s not the case anymore. We’re seeing the lion’s share of patents being registered in regions dominated by high-knowledge industries. These industries create mainly white-collar positions for people with a bachelor’s degree, at minimum.

“However, what Detroit’s innovative success says about economies everywhere is that the roots of innovation are very deep. Policymakers spend a lot of time worrying about manufacturing. But manufacturing can be very ephemeral and firms often relocate manufacturing plants with very little notice. Innovation is more deeply rooted and, once an innovation center roots itself in an area, it’s much more likely to stick.”

Mudambi said the ongoing iBEGIN research initiative is a collaborative effort, with professionals in centers around the world, including: Denmark’s Copenhagen Business School, Italy’s Politecnico di Milano and University of Venice Ca Foscari, the Indian School of Business, and many others.

In addition to studying innovation in American cities, iBEGIN has ongoing research exploring other contexts. These include country contexts like China, India, Brazil, Portugal, Greece and Korea as well as specialized industry contexts like automobiles, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals.

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It was standing room only for renowned entrepreneur and Strategic Management Professor, Dwight Carey, as he led the “Cash Flow, Profits & Financials” workshop on February 18 in Fox’s IEI Lab.

Professor Carey started his presentation by stating, “Cash is more important than your momma because without cash you are out of business.” Students laughed at his opening remark, but he was very serious.

Throughout the workshop, he never strayed from the discussion of a cash flow pro forma, as it is key to an entrepreneur who does not want to run out of cash. He asked students about the components of a balance sheet and the main difference between income sheets and balance sheets because these answers are key to a successful cash flow pro forma. He shared the easy part of a cash flow pro forma is the expenses, and the hard part is the income.

As a young entrepreneur, the odds are going to be against you. Professor Carey said, “In the first five years, about 50 or more percent of all startups are going to go bankrupt. At the end of 10 years, only one in 10 companies will make it.” He provided advice on how to avoid joining these statistics:

  1. There is such a thing as “love money.” For example, your father is willing to cash in his 401K to get your business going. Be cautious because if this money burns out, you may have your father living with you for the rest of your life. Ultimately, be careful when borrowing this so-called love money!
  2. It is extremely important to project your revenue. This means, sit down with no distractions and write down every little thing that could affect your business sales in the future. This includes strikes, natural disasters, the city shutting down, etc. As entrepreneurs, you need to always look into the future for your business to succeed.
  3. Do not hire people in the beginning of your company simply just to “hire people.” You need to remember that once you hire someone, you have an ethical and moral responsibility to make them good employees. It is immoral to simply hire and fire people just because you suddenly realize you don’t need them in your company. Instead, hire independent contractors or your peers who have the skills your business needs to get started.
  4. If you want your product in a company, don’t be afraid to call that company’s president. Ask for just 15 minutes of his/her time to pitch your product to get it in that dream company. Perfect your pitch in front of a mirror so you are confident and ready to share your innovation and passion with the world!
  5. Lastly, ask yourself from May to the end of your first year, “Can I afford to lose $45,000?” If you say no, don’t throw your idea away quite yet. Instead, go back over your cash flow pro forma and either (1) increase your sales or (2) cut your expenses. Ultimately, be incredibly realistic about your product and business and ruthlessly honest with yourself in order to succeed.

At the end of the workshop, Professor Carey gave students “homework” to research the founder of SPANX, Sara Blakely, who is the first female billionaire under 30 years old. He told students to listen to her story from The Edge Connection, as she will share, “One day you wake up and you’re an inventor and then one day you wake up and you’re a company.” Learn more about Sara and her booming business here.

Be sure to stay connected with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute to get the latest updates on workshops and events at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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On Wednesday, February 19, Owner of Genzer Associates, Rick Gezner, came to Fox to speak to students about how to create a competitive business analysis by discussing perceptual maps, competitor matrix, industry structure and environment.

A leader of business and technology since 1986, Rick has held roles ranging from software engineer to executive vice president and chief technology officer. As an independent management consultant, Rick has also started five of his own businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Throughout the workshop, Rick put an emphasis on the significance of competition in the business industry. He explained how important it is to define, understand, address and develop strategy for your company as well as know who, where, what, how and how much the competition is to your business.

Rick explained the biggest problem in all business is the “last mile,” also known as shipping and transportation. This is because it has a geometric effect on cost and the smallest disruption will cause a problem. He advises, “If you are in a new market with a new product, you have to educate the entire market. If you jump in where competition exists, you don’t have to explain. Don’t shy away from competition.”

As a last key note, he shared entrepreneurs must always stay on message and be very crisp, no matter the circumstance!

Be sure to stay connected with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute to get the latest updates on workshops and events on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Temple University’s Fox School of Business with a $50,000 grant, with which the School will fund a workshop workshop is to bring together experts in the domain of big data and privacy to develop a research agenda for better understanding and promoting privacy in an era of big data. The “Privacy in an Era of Big Data Workshop”(please link to fox.temple.edy/nsfworkshop) will take place at the university on April 22 and 23 of this year. Government officials, industry leaders, and notable academics will meet to discuss privacy issues surrounding big data, and to develop a forward-looking agenda for research on the legal, technological, social, behavioral, economic, and broader implications of Big Data and Privacy in academia, industry, and government.

Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, the Milton F. Stauffer Professor, as Principal Investigator, and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Dr. Sunil Wattal, as Co-Principal Investigator, received the NSF grant. The objective of the NSF workshop is to demonstrate the merits in the pursuit of the potential for big data while respecting privacy rights.

In the proposal, Pavlou and Wattal argued that there are “unexplored links” between big data and privacy, and that the potential exists for breaches of privacy, particularly by corporations, malicious individuals or governments. The workshop, Pavlou and Wattal said, would unite individuals from multiple disciplines in an attempt to promote a “forward-looking agenda.”

“People often have very little control over the collection process, in terms of knowledge about what information is being collected and stored about them,” said Pavlou, a Co-Director of Temple’s Big Data Institute and the School’s Chief Research Officer. “They also are unaware of who has access to the information, and for what purpose the information will be used.

“Finding solutions to these big day and privacy problems must become a priority for this generation of interdisciplinary research.”

The NSF workshop will cover: the tradeoff between the benefits of big data and privacy protection; the legal, public policy and regulatory issues on privacy; privacy protection technologies; and social, behavioral and economical approaches to encouraging individual privacy practice.

Slated to take place in late Spring 2015, the workshop will be open to all centers that operate in conjunction with Temple’s Big Data Institute. Additionally, select global big-data experts from academia, industry, and government will be invited to attend. A date for the workshop has not yet been finalized.