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Karim R. Lakhani is an assistant professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at the Harvard Business School. He specializes in the management of technological innovation and product development 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 found and put to use inside for innovation in the biotechnology, life sciences and industrial chemicals industries. He is co-editor of Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software (MIT Press, 2005) and co-founder of the MIT-based Open Source research community and web portal.

Karim has worked for General Electric Medical Systems, Canada, where he was a member of GE's Technical Leadership Program and had roles in radiological systems sales, marketing and new product introduction. He has also worked as a consultant for The Boston Consulting Group doing engagements 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.

Karim was awarded his Ph.D. in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. He also holds an MS degree in Technology and Policy from MIT (1999), and a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Management from McMaster University in Canada (1993). 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.


Jun 10, 2012

Public-Private Partnerships for Organizing and Executing Prize-Based Competitions

Prizes can be effective tools for finding innovative solutions to the most difficult problems. While prizes are often associated with scientific and technological innovation,…

Sep 30, 2007

The Principles of Distributed Innovation

Distributed innovation systems are an approach to organizing for innovation that seems to meet the challenge of accessing knowledge that resides outside the boundaries of any one…

Jan 1, 2006

Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software

Book Description, from Amazon: What is the status of the Free and Open…


Jun 23, 2008

Q + A with Karim Lakhani and Ned Gulley on Collaborative Innovation

As a primer to tomorrow's luncheon on "The Dynamics of Collaborative Innovation: Exploring the tension between knowledge novelty and reuse" with Karim Lakhani and Ned Gulley,…


Mar 4, 2014 @ 12:30 PM

How Disclosure Policies Impact Search in Open Innovation

Karim R. Lakhani, Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School

Most of society’s innovation systems–academic science, the patent system, open source, etc.–are “open” in the sense they are designed to facilitate knowledge disclosures amongst…

Jul 16, 2007 @ 12:00 AM

The Summer Doctoral Programme (SDP)

The Summer Doctoral Programme (SDP) is a joint effort of the Berkman Center and the Oxford Internet Institute, which provides top doctoral students from around the world with the…