Experiments in Open Innovation at Harvard Medical School

by Eva Guinan, Kevin J. Boudreau and Karim R. Lakhani
published in MIT Sloan Management Review, 2013 
Ref SMR54317

Leadership Succession: How to Avoid a CrisisHarvard Medical School, with its world-leading researchers and medical practitioners, might seem an unlikely organisation to open up its innovation process. However, as this article explains, the experiment brought forth proposals that might otherwise have been lost; revealed demand among researchers for cross-disciplinary work; and supplemented rather than supplanted the current innovation process.

The writers also believe that the benefits of adopting open innovation approaches are not limited to academic medical centres, but would also apply to a wide range of well-established and experienced innovation-driven organisations:

‘All organisations that have a mandate to innovate, whether creating the next great cereal product for the consumer market or solving an extremely difficult big-data analytic problem, can benefit from applying a dose of open innovation principles to their existing innovation processes.’

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About the authors

Eva Guinan is Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Co-director of the Innovation and Implementation programme at Harvard Catalyst.

Kevin J. Boudreau is Assistant Professor of Strategy at London Business School and Chief Economist at the Harvard-NASA Tournament Lab at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University.

Karim R. Lakhani is the Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and Principal Investigator at the Harvard-NASA Tournament Lab.


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