From the Car sharing Economy to how to Approach a Research Partnership? Dr. Ioannis Bellos Discusses These Topics and More in the New ‘Researcher Spotlight’ Feature Story
Dr. Ioannis (Yannis) Bellos, assistant professor of Information Systems and Operations Management, is the newest feature story for the “Researcher Spotlight” section. Bellos talks about his research interests in the field of Operations Management, his view on research collaborations, as well as opportunities for engagement for School of Business faculty.
Congratulations on your recognition by INFORMS and on your “Car Sharing Economy: Interaction of Business Model Choice and Product Line Design” paper. What are some of the paper’s main conclusions?
In our paper, we find that higher-end manufacturers (e.g., BMW) are poised to reap greater benefits from providing mobility solutions (e.g., providing car sharing services) in conjunction with selling cars. This is consistent with the fact that BMW was among the first manufacturers to engage in the car sharing business through its DriveNow program. Car sharing can improve both economic and environmental performance. However, it may also compromise the manufacturer’s ability to meet the CAFE standards. This issue can be addressed via the use of incentive multipliers.
What most interests you in your field?
The field of Operations Management is constantly evolving and adapting to business trends. Historically, the primary focus was on issues pertinent to manufacturing, but more recently its scope has expanded to include topics such as sustainability, innovation, services, healthcare and many more. My research focuses on the economic and environmental implications of innovative business models and the design of service systems.
What do you recommend for new junior faculty to get started on research programs? What paths should they take?
By necessity, there must be some trial and error. IDEO, one of the most innovative design and consulting firms, has championed the idea of “fail often in order to succeed sooner.” This builds on the principle that every failure fosters learning and learning breeds success. Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” Nevertheless, having a mentor can also expedite success in research and soften the blows when they come, so I would suggest both to welcome failure as an opportunity for growth and to seek the guidance of senior faculty. Regarding what path to take, I would suggest whichever they find most exciting. Research can be a long, hard trudge, but if you are passionate about the question you are studying, it makes for happy and fruitful plodding.
What should we do to raise the profile of school of business research?
First of all, I think the most important prerequisite is already here – across the School of Business, faculty members are conducting and publishing rigorous research that addresses important, relevant, and novel problems. Continuing to raise the profile of research can be achieved by complementing this literature and building on existing initiatives. For instance, the School of Business is constructing an online database that categorizes expertise and can enhance both external and internal visibility. This would allow you to search for faculty with whom you could collaborate or from whom you could seek advice. In a similar vein, creating a working paper series from the faculty of the School of Business could possibly serve as another reference point.
What is your approach on research partnerships?
The foundation should be the idea, a problem of shared interest, not necessarily shared methodologies or discipline. Thus, I approach partnerships with an open mind about how to tackle a research question, as many roads lead to Rome, although maybe some I had not considered before are shorter or less fraught with peril.
What is your view on multi-disciplinary research?
Significant discoveries often lie at the interfaces between disciplines, so multi-disciplinary research is essential for innovation, especially when searching for solutions to complex problems. In describing his vision of interdisciplinary research, the 20th century scientific philosopher Karl Popper remarked, “We are not students of some subject matter, but students of problems. And problems may cut right across the borders of any subject matter or discipline.” Take, for example, sequencing the human genome, once regarded as fool’s errand by many due to the complexity of the problem. Yet, a concerted research effort by biologists, chemists, physicists, and computer scientists accomplished this impressive feat with a level of accuracy that was a 10X greater than planned and two years ahead of schedule.
For more articles about Dr. Yannis Bellos’s work, please go to: http://pubsonline.informs.org/icymi/03-2017/authorspotlight, http://business.gmu.edu/news/1224-car-sharing-is-smart-business-for-manufacturers-and-the-environment, https://www2.gmu.edu/news/532, and https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1598823.
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