Doctoral Student

Johnathan R Cromwell

Johnathan is a doctoral student in Management 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 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 innovations.  Previously, he has conducted research on innovation in teams, exploring how teams can collaborate to create highly innovative solutions when they are faced with particularly complex problems and are working under heightened pressure.  

Currently, he is interested in understanding the dynamics surrounding radical or disruptive innovations.  Such periods of radical change are marked by intense levels of uncertainty, which makes it difficult to predict which technologies are more likely to succeed and which are more likely to fail.  For example, 3D printers have recently been introduced as a radical innovation that will disrupt traditional manufacturing, and there are hundres of companies trying to develop a viable 3D printer for consumers.  However, there is little clarity as to which company will emerge as dominant, let alone whether the technology will succeed at all.  To approach these questions, he is working to develop a new theoretical framework that aims to illustrate the processes behind the adoption of radical innovations, which will improve our overall understanding of technological change more generally.  

  1. Overview

    by Johnathan R Cromwell

    1. Innovation in teams (preparing for submission): When working on highly complex problems that are extremely important for an organization, why are some teams more innovative than others? In this paper, we explore how different types of group composition lead to more innovative solutions under various conditions of complexity and performance pressure. We find that traditional strategies of improving innovation in teams is actually ineffective for complex and high-pressure problems, and we identify new strategies to overcome these challenges.

    Keywords: innovation; innovation & entrepreneurship; Startups; organization theory; Decision choice and uncertainty;