Translational Science in Business

We have a distinguished scholar with us today, David Teece. I’m sure that you have all read David’s work. The topic today that we’re going to talk about, and the reason why I’ve invited David to have a conversation with us, is about translational research in business. The basic idea of translational research, is that scholarship can be advanced by people who are both scholars and also practitioners in a particular domain.

Translational Science is most prevalent in the academy in medical schools where some doctors treat patients and also run basic science labs. These individuals—often termed physician-scientists— make fundamental contributors to our understanding of basic science in fields like medicine, human physiology, and physiology. Translational science is almost unheard of in business schools. In business schools, faculty are either researchers or business people. Few are both.

So David Teece, as we’re going to learn about today, is a rare individual in a business school. He has built an amazing career making large academic contributions to our understanding of, at least for me, entrepreneurship and management more broadly, but also has had quite a career as an entrepreneur and business person himself. Before I get into that I would like to just quickly mention that James Beal’s voice that you hear in the background is part of the infrastructure with a group called Entrepreneurship & Innovation Exchange. This is a new peer reviewed website devoted towards making the best science in entrepreneurship more accessible to entrepreneurs, but then also trying to turn the engine a little bit and try to get academics to engage in entrepreneurship and business themselves, for the purpose of making their research hopefully more useful to rising entrepreneurs.

Read the full interview with Jon Eckhardt, the Robert Pricer Chair in Enterprise Development, Schulze Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, and executive director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship at Wisconsin School of Business.