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Stefan Thomke

speaker location icon Boston, U.S.

Author, “Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments” - listed as one of the best books of 2020

Chaired Professor, Harvard Business School

Global expert on Managing Innovation, Technology and Product Development

Stefan Thomke, a global authority and speaker on the management of innovation, is the William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

He has worked with global firms on product, process, and technology development, customer experience design, operational improvement, organizational change, and innovation strategy. Prior to joining the HBS faculty in 1995, he worked as an electrical engineer and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he served manufacturing and service companies in the automotive and energy industries.

Professor Thomke has taught and chaired executive education programs on innovation, R&D management, product & service development, and operations, both at Harvard Business School and in company programs around the world. He chairs the General Management Program (GMP) at HBS and has been a core faculty member in many executive education programs, including the Advanced Management Program (AMP), and the global Senior Executive Leadership Program (SELP) in Dubai, Mumbai, and Shanghai.

He also chairs Leading Product Innovation, which helps business leaders revamp their innovation systems for greater competitive advantage. He was faculty chair of HBS executive education in South Asia, where he still co-chairs the School’s research activities, and he has served on advisory and supervisory boards of start-up and established companies. Previously, Thomke was faculty chair of the MBA Required Curriculum and faculty co-chair of the doctoral program in Science, Technology and Management. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching at HBS, a finalist for the Harvard Business Review McKinsey Award, and author of the bestselling article in MIT Sloan Management Review.

His research and writings have focused primarily on the process, economics, and management of business experimentation. He is a widely published author with more than one hundred articles, cases and notes published in books and leading journals, such as:  California Management Review, European Business Review, Harvard Business Review, Management Science, Organization Science, Research Policy, Sloan Management Review, Strategic Management Journal and Scientific American. He is also author of the books Experimentation Matters: Unlocking the Potential of New Technologies for Innovation (Harvard Business School Press, 2003) and Managing Product and Service Development (McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2006). His book Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments (Harvard Business Review Press) was published in Spring 2020.   It has been listed as one of best books of 2020 by CEO Magazine.

Professor Thomke holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering, Master’s degrees in Operations Research and Management (MBA equivalent), and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was awarded a Lemelson-MIT doctoral fellowship for invention and innovation research. He received honorary degrees in Economics (Doctorate from the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management) and Arts (Master’s from Harvard University).

Speaking Topics

  • Why Some Companies Are More Innovative Than Others
  • The Power of Business Experimentation
  • Best Practices in Innovation Management and Product Development

Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments


Experimentation Matters: Unlocking the Potential of New Technologies for Innovation


Managing Product and Service Development: Text and Cases 1st Edition

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