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Jane Wu

I am an (incoming) Assistant Professor at UCLA. I conduct research at the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship and strategy.

My current work focuses on the role of metrics in shaping firm innovation. I also study the entrepreneurial strategy choices that high-growth startup founders encounter.

I received my PhD and SM from MIT, and a BCom and BA from Queen's University. Prior to graduate school, I co-founded an education software startup (out of a leading Canadian entrepreneurship program and accelerator), worked in venture capital in Toronto and Boston, and conducted research at the Harvard Business School ISC.


"Foundations of Entrepreneurial Strategy" (with Joshua Gans and Scott Stern). 2019. Strategic Management Journal 40(5): 736-756.

Working Papers

"Nothing Happens in a Vacuum: Can a Dominant Metric Be Shifted?"

"Measuring Similarity Through Faces"

"Innovation for Dummies: Exploring the Role of Metrics in Automotive Safety"

[JMP - Click for Abstract] Metrics permeate our daily lives, yet we know surprisingly little about the crucial role they play in scientific and technological progress. This paper takes a first step at filling this void by exploring how metrics shape the rate and direction of innovation in firms. By taking advantage of a unique change in the US automobile industry, I estimate how the introduction of a novel metric for automotive safety (SID) influenced safety outcomes and firm performance. Using rich data on US vehicular accidents and car specifications, I find that the new metric significantly reduced fatalities, but did so disproportionately for occupants similar to SID. These two results were driven by different types of firms: while firms with pre-existing knowledge and strategic investments in safety were able to make improvements that benefited everyone, those without a history in safety ended up narrowly focusing on the metric. Taken together, these findings show that metrics can profoundly affect the innovation trajectories of firms, and that firms without ex-ante domain expertise may suffer from metric myopia. Moreover, the choices that firms make in response to a metric can, consciously or not, determine who benefits from innovation.

Other Writing

"Choosing a Customer" (with Joshua Gans and Scott Stern). MIT Sloan Teaching Note

"Beepi" (with Scott Stern). MIT Sloan Teaching Case

"Clover Food Labs" (with Scott Stern). MIT Sloan Teaching Case

"Bionym" (with Scott Stern). MIT Sloan Teaching Case

"Ministry of Supply" (with Scott Stern). MIT Sloan Teaching Case

"Avatech" (with Scott Stern). MIT Sloan Teaching Case

[All Cases Accessible Here]

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