About Me
I am an assistant professor of Information Systems and Operations Management at Emory University's Goizueta Business School.

My research work is applied to understanding and resolving the operational issues surrounding the new product development process. I look at the interplay between design and technology, how breakthrough ideas come about, and when and why collaborative efforts sometimes fail in the development of products and services. I teach the undergraduate process and systems management course at the Goizueta Business School.

I received my BS degree from UC Berkeley, MS degree from Stanford University, and my PhD degree from INSEAD. Before my PhD I worked on  technology development at PSA International, a global transportation company.

Published/Forthcoming Papers

On Styles in Product Design: An analysis of US design patents (forthcoming in Management Science)
- with Jürgen Mihm and Manuel Sosa

In this line of research we are trying to understand the process of creation and changes in the styles of design. We now have a paper accepted at Management Science where we show how one can identify styles (categories of product design that are perceived to be similar) using design patents. Using this data set we show that (i) style turbulence
(unpredictable changes in style) is increasing over time, and (ii) technological turbulence (unpredictable changes in technology) have a U-shaped relationship to style turbulence.

We are using this data platform to study other questions. I am interested in looking at how the market value designs in novel styles, and the factors that determines the emergence of new styles. Check out www.stylesinproductdesign.com for the data and updates to the work.


- with Francis de Véricourt and Omar Besbes

In this paper we look at how coordination issues arise in a service context. Consider equipment maintenance - both the maintenance service provider and the equipment operator play important roles in equipment upkeep. However one party may potentially free-ride on the other's effort. Using data from a major medical body scanner manufacturer, we find that such problems impose a heavy cost in the maintenance of medical body scanners. Our results highlight important trade offs that product makers face as they edge into the after-sales services market.

Ongoing Research

Revisiting the Role of Collaboration in Creating Breakthrough Inventions

The idea of the lone inventor is frequently lambasted as a myth or a romantic image. But is it really? In our study using technological patents we find that the decomposability of the invention significantly moderates the effectiveness of the lone inventor. Particularly, tasks that are less decomposable relatively advantages the lone inventor. We also show that lone inventors in such domains and who have collaborated widely in the past outperforms even teams.

Familiar or Fresh? The Effect of Typicality on the Value of Product Design through Time (paper draft)

The Sources of Value of Innovative Business Methods (paper draft)

Email me at tian.chan(at)emory.edu
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