As part of our profiles of TIM people, let us introduce Stefano Brusoni of ETH Zurich, in Switzerland. Stefano, so…

What are your research interests right now?

I study decisions that involve trade-offs, e.g. between exploitation and exploration, social and business objectives, modularity and integrality. Sometimes these decisions are solved switching between different strategies (e.g. from exploration to exploitation), sometimes instead integrating options into larger systems (e.g. from modular to integral products). Technical change is fundamentally important to understand where these tensions come from, as well as how to solve them. For example, additive manufacturing is pushing firms in certain sectors to reintegrate historically modular products.

What do you think is your most exciting contribution to academia?

I think my most exciting contribution is the effort to integrate field and lab studies, or at least explore their complementarities. Field (qualitative) studies give us a lot of ideas about what fundamental mechanisms are at play, but the field is a rather messy play to test hypotheses. The ability of ‘simplifying’ what we observe to replicate and test such mechanisms in the lab is in my view one of the coolest developments we see nowadays in management science.

Tell us something personal about yourself.

Oh gosh. No. Well, OK. I used to be a firefighter. For a little while. Nothing major. My kids like those stories a lot. Mostly, they actually happened. Some, have improved over time. Having worked in that environment could explain why I like a lot orderly processes. No emergencies. Emergencies keep people awake. I could not sleep an awful lot back then.

Thanks Stefano!

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