Testimonials for “Cognition in the Rough” Series

Bess Rouse
Assistant Professor
Questrom School of Business | Boston University

A chance to socialize your ideas

During a research interview, an entrepreneur told me how socializing his idea was the next step he was taking to develop his business venture. “Socializing,” for him, meant talking about the idea with his friends, family, colleagues, investors, me, basically anyone who would listen. Was the idea interesting? Did it have value? He was testing the waters, but also letting the idea get refined and pushed around by other people’s opinions and perspectives. He thought he had something that was good, but, particularly at this early stage, why not hear what other people thought? He believed that you have to let go of your idea and give up some ownership to get the best idea possible.

As academics, we struggle with the same questions: is this idea good? does it have value? In our world, we have a bunch of tools targeted at “socializing” ideas for more developed work (the review process, friendly reviews, research talks), but we have relatively few tools targeted at socializing early ideas. CIR is unique and important for this reason—you get to put early ideas in front of people who want to listen and help you develop your work. Whether the feedback providers are squarely in your theoretical space or further afoot, they provide a valuable perspective. And, not only do you get the feedback providers’ perspectives, you also get the insights of other participants.

I’ve had the benefit of being a participant in CIR twice, as a doctoral student and as a junior faculty member. Both times, the conversations sparked new directions for analysis and writing, reminded me that ideas that I once thought were cool might still be, and revealed potential questions and challenges reviewers might raise. These conversations gave me some answers around what ideas were good and potentially valuable and also provided direction on how to move toward a better idea. Rather than try to get the idea just right before showing it to people, why not let it go a little?

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Bodo Steiner
Professor MSO, University of Southern Denmark
Adjunct Professor, University of Alberta, Canada

To begin with, this was the first time I had joined a session of the MOC Division, and for that very reason I expected to be somewhat on the fringe. Actually, I experienced a most welcoming, productive and professionally organized session, to my surprise. There are many things I liked and appreciated, yet what sticks out are: how professionally and insightful you were treated as a participant by the reviewers and discussants of your work (I really felt grateful that two outstanding scholars gave you feedback prior to the session as well as during the round table session); second, it was a great learning experience to share the feedback on two other papers on your table – just by yourself would have been less interesting, and having more than three papers discussed on a given table would have likely taken out the fizz; third, it was just impressive how well organized everything was, from the initial submission process to the actual session, noting that it was a rather big event, and the mere size could have killed its effectiveness. Overall, I got a whole new angle of theory advice that I had not encountered before, which really enlarged my horizon and (hopefully) will improve my future piece of work on the matter. In terms of suggestion for prospective participants: I think it’s very simple: be open for a new and rewarding experience, and be well-prepared for the session, with regard to your own work that you submitted, so that you get most out of the discussions.