Doctoral Student

Johnathan R Cromwell

Johnathan is a doctoral student in the Management program at Harvard Business School.  Before joining the program in 2012, he graduated from MIT with a degree in Chemical-Biological Engineering and conducted research with several faculty members in the Organizational Behavior Unit at HBS.  He made his transition from engineering to management research because he realized that technologies are created by and for people, and he always found himself drawn to questions about the human side of innovation.  In particular, he is interested in understanding the processes behind the creation and adoption of radical or disruptive innovations.  Today there are numerous new technologies that are all promising to change the way our economy operates or the way we carry out our everyday lives.  Artificial intelligence is changing the way we interact with technology; solar and battery technologies are changing the way we consume energy; and cloud computing is changing the way we conduct business and interact with each other.

Where do these radical innovations come from?  How do they get created?  Once they’re created, why do some radical innovations get adopted while others get rejected?  To approach these questions, Johnathan's research explores the micro-dynamics associated with individuals and teams.  Currently, his research focuses on the dynamics of collaborative problem solving and innovation, which includes studying how people collaborate with each other when solving problems and developing new products, processes, services, or ideas.  While collaboration usually increases the ability of teams to develop innovation and leads to more innovative solutions overall, the reality is that many collaborations are unsuccessful and break down for a number of reasons.  His research specifically explores the factors that explain why some people are more successful at developing innovation through collaboration and why others fail.  

  1. Overview

    by Johnathan R Cromwell

    Johnathan's research focuses on the dynamics associated with collaborative problem solving and innovation.

    Publications: Cromwell, J. & Gardner, H. 2017. High-Stakes Innovation: When Collaboration Undermines (and Sometimes Enhances) Innovation. In Guclu Atinc (Ed.), Proceedings for the Seventy-Seventh Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management. Online ISSN: 2151-6561.

    Works in progress: Cromwell, J. & Gardner, H. When Great Minds Think Alike: The Value of Familiarity for Collaborative Innovation As the Stakes Become Higher. (Under review at Academy of Management Journal.)

    Cromwell, J. & Amabile, T. Creativity and Constraint: An Integrated Theory for Enhancing Creativity in Organizations. (Preparing for submission to Academy of Management Review.)

    Cromwell, J., Amabile, T, & Harvey, J.F. Creativity and Constraint: An Integrated Theory of Dynamic Problem Solving in Organizations. (Preparing for submission for an invited book chapter.)

    Cromwell J. Novel, Useful, and Cohesive: Exploring How Teams Integrate Multiple Ideas Into a Complex Innovation Outcome. (Data analysis.)

    Cromwell J. The Social Processes of Developing a Social Robot: Exploring How Teams Define Problems Versus Solve Problems for Breakthrough Innovation. (Data analysis.)

    Cromwell J. & Harvey, J.F. When Organizations Run Internal Innovation Contests: How the Pursuit of Excellence Affects Commitment to the Organization. (Data analysis.)

    Keywords: innovation; innovation & entrepreneurship; Startups; Decision choice and uncertainty; teams; Team Process;