Open Innovation: How can I Use the Crowd?

Published on August 21, 2018


Innovation has become an urgent imperative for entrepreneurial and established organizations. Over the last decade, in industries as diverse as fashion design, media software, life sciences, pharmaceuticals and automotive, the most cutting edge organizations have started to externalize their innovation process by working actively with communities and sponsoring contests – so called open innovation. At this lecture, Karim Lakhani from Harvard Business School will provide best practice examples and a framework for using communities and contests to solve the most pressing innovation problems.

He is the Principal Investigator of The Crowd Innovation Lab at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, which has worked closely with strategic partners at NASA, Harvard Medical School, Scripps Research Institute, various US government agencies and private sector partners. The idea is to solve innovation problems while simultaneously driving social science insights on the optimal organization of crowd-based innovation. Professor Lakhani will also discuss the Lab’s experience in working with its strategic partners to drive change in the organization of innovation.


Karim Lakhani

Karim R. Lakhani is a Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and one of the Principal Investigators of the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH). He specializes in the management of technological innovation in firms and communities. His research is on distributed innovation systems and the movement of innovative activity to the edges of organizations and into communities. He has extensively studied the emergence of open source software communities and their unique innovation and product development strategies. He has also investigated how critical knowledge from outside of the organization can be accessed through innovation contests. Currently, Professor Lakhani is investigating incentives and behavior in contests and the mechanisms behind scientific team formation through field experiments on the Topcoder platform and the Harvard Medical School.

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