Karim Lakhani


Harvard Business School

Karim R. Lakhani is Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, the Principal Investigator of the Crowd Innovation Lab and NASA Tournament Lab at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science and the faculty co-founder of the Harvard Business School Digital Initiative. He specializes in technology management and innovation.

His research examines crowd-based innovation models and the digital transformation of companies and industries. Professor Lakhani is known for his pioneering scholarship on how communities and contests can be designed and managed to achieve innovative outcomes. He has partnered with NASA, TopCoder and the Harvard Medical School to conduct field experiments on the design of crowd innovation programs. His research on digital transformation has shown the importance of data and analytics as drivers of business and operating model transformation and source of competitive advantage.

He has worked for General Electric Medical Systems, Canada, where he was a member of GE’s Technical Leadership Program, and held positions in radiological systems sales, marketing and new product introduction. He has also worked as a consultant for The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), engaging with clients in technology and communications, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, financial services, and consumer goods sectors. He was a founding member of BCG’s Strategy Practice Leadership team and served as a lecturer in the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship group at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. In addition, he is a recipient of the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship and a four-year doctoral fellowship from Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council.

Professor Lakhani’s research has been published in Harvard Business Review, Innovations, Journal of Organization Design, Management Science, Nature Biotechnology, Organization Science, RAND Journal of Economics, Research Policy and MIT Sloan Management Review.  He is the co-editor of two books from MIT Press on distributed innovation models including Revolutionizing Innovation: Users, Communities and Open Innovation (2016) and Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software (2005). His research has been featured in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc., The New York Times, The New York Academy of Sciences Magazine, Science, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Wired.

Professor Lakhani has taught extensively in Harvard Business School’s MBA, executive and doctoral programs.  He co-developed a new course on Digital Innovation and Transformation for the elective MBA curriculum and co-chairs the executive program on Competing with Big Data and Business Analytics.

He serves on the Board of Directors of Mozilla Corporation and Local Motors.

Professor Lakhani holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and Management from McMaster University in Canada, and an MS in Technology and Policy and a PhD in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


BS Electrical Engineering and Management, McMaster University in Canada
MS Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD in Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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