Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2006

Adrian Ivinson at the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair

by Robert Steven Kaplan and Ayesha Kanji


Adrian Ivinson is the director of Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair (HCNR), a not-for-profit research center at the Harvard Medical School (HMS). The center was started in late 2000 with a gift of $37.5 million from an anonymous donor. Its mandate was to conduct research that could lead to actual treatments for neurodegenerative disease (i.e., ALS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, MS, and Huntington's) and do so by encouraging collaboration among researchers in the HMS community. When Ivinson takes the helm in 2001, he finds a dysfunctional center with little organization or structure. In addition, he has little formal authority to make changes and he must navigate the complex culture of the HMS neurological research community as well as the HMS academic culture. Demonstrates Ivinson's efforts to develop HCNR as a catalyst for aligning scientific researchers in the HMS community by creating incentives for innovation and collaboration. Also, profiles the issues he faces as general manager at various stages of the organization's development--and how his style, priorities, and approach must change as the needs of the organization change. Provides an opportunity for action planning to address the major issues facing the HCNR at the end of 2005. Focuses on organizational culture, alignment, leadership style/fit, and change management.

Keywords: Leadership Style; Power and Influence; Organizational Culture; Research and Development; Nonprofit Organizations; Motivation and Incentives; Change Management; Alignment; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Health Industry; Massachusetts;


Kaplan, Robert Steven, and Ayesha Kanji. "Adrian Ivinson at the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair." Harvard Business School Case 406-111, April 2006.