Karim R. Lakhani is an assistant professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at the Harvard Business School. He is also a faculty affiliate of Harvard's Institute of Quantitative Social Science and a faculty fellow of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. 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. He is the principal investigator and director of the Harvard-NASA Tournament Laboratory, which aims to systematize the use of innovation tournaments for the space agency.
Professsor Lakhani’s research on distributed innovation has been published in Harvard Business Review, Innovations, Management Science, Organization Science, Research Policy and the Sloan Management Review. He is the co-editor of Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software (MIT Press), a book on community-based innovation. He has also published teaching cases on leading organizations practicing distributed innovation including: Data.gov, InnoCentive, Google, Myelin Repair Foundation, SAP, Threadless, TopCoder and Wikipedia. His research has been featured in publications like 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 was awarded his Ph.D. in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds an MS degree in Technology and Policy from MIT, and a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Management from McMaster University in Canada. He was a recipient of the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship and a four year doctoral fellowship from Canada's Social Science and Humanities Research Council. Prior to coming to HBS he served as a Lecturer in the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship group at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Professor Lakhani has also worked in sales, marketing and new product development roles at GE Healthcare and was a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group.