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Member Spotlight: Rebecca Karp, AOM 2020 William H. Newman Award co-winner

10 Nov 2020
The pandemic crisis has put a new lens on the importance of innovation and healthcare. “I feel very lucky I can tell the story of these entrepreneurs who are trying and striving to get their ideas integrated into such a complex system,” she said.

Rebecca-Karp-portrait“I find the community that AOM helps to convene appealing and a reason why I engaged with AOM to begin with, why I maintain my relationship with AOM now, and why I plan to in the future.” 

—Rebecca Karp, one of two winners of the AOM 2020 William H. Newman Award for Best Paper Based on a Dissertation

Rebecca Karp's winning paper, "Gaining organizational adoption: Discovering new uses for existing innovations" explores the explanation for how entrepreneurs gain adoption for innovations that considers the criticality of the relationship entrepreneurs cultivate with the organizational environments they aim to change. 

“I’m so honored. It is an award that has such meaning and tradition. I was elated. It is great to celebrate positive recognition. Not only did I win the award, but the firms I studied also did by being highlighted.” 

Rebecca’s work in healthcare included two years embedded in the digital health accelerator program at the Questrom School of Business where she followed 54 entrepreneurial firms as they tried to gain traction for their innovations. During this time, she encountered some interesting outcomes when comparing two firms entering the accelerator program with similar levels of success. While one was successful in building revenue and contracts, the other was not. This piqued her interest in learning why they were not able to stimulate the same results.  

As a field researcher in the strategy and innovation group at Questrom School of Business, Boston University, Rebecca examines open innovation in both corporate and community settings, governance models and management of innovation within organizations, and the impact of digitization on work and employment dynamics.  

Rebecca’s pursuit of research in healthcare and innovation took what some might call a non-traditional path. Coming from a family of doctors, she was interested in the evolution of healthcare innovation, and the process in which doctors use it. During her work as a healthcare consultant for years, she saw the difficulty outside entrepreneurs experienced in gaining adoption for innovations within large healthcare organizations, which sparked her interest in pursuing this line of questioning and research.  

This year, the healthcare crisis of COVID-19 has put a new lens on the importance of innovation and healthcare.  

“I feel very lucky I can tell the story of these entrepreneurs who are trying and striving to get their ideas integrated into such a complex system,” she explained. 

Rebecca learned quickly that the Academy of Management was the center of information from both a scholarly and networking perspective. Rebecca credits her advisors and peers for directing her to AOM as a critical place to share her work and learn about the new and inspiring work of others. Getting people’s opinions early in the development process so that you can go back and iterate based on feedback is key, especially for junior scholars like Rebecca was when she first joined AOM in 2015. Renewing her membership each year allows Rebecca to take advantage of the scholarly community that AOM creates.  

AOM has opened the door to the breadth of work Rebecca can contribute to. “What is unique about AOM is that people have interest in such a wide variety of areas, and a lot of depth within those areas. This is a big advantage of AOM.” 

Not being afraid to submit a paper and develop content is Rebecca’s advice for new AOM/Student members. The feedback received is so helpful, especially when attending the Annual Meeting or specialized conferences, she explained. She also encourages new member to sign up as reviewers, which helps to develop knowledge of how to build a paper. Submitting ideas for PDWs and symposiums is helpful too. Conferences are a great way to meet people with similar interests. “Don’t hesitate to reach out and share your work!”