Stefan H. Thomke

William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration

Stefan Thomke, an authority on the management of innovation, is the William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He has worked with US, European and Asian firms on product, process, and technology development, organizational design and change, and strategy.

Since joining the Harvard faculty in 1995, Professor Thomke has taught and chaired numerous MBA and executive courses on innovation management, R&D strategy, product & service development, and operations, both at Harvard Business School and in individual company programs in the United States and abroad. He is chair of the Executive Education Programs Leading Product Innovation and Driving Growth Through Innovation, which helps business leaders in revamping their innovation systems for greater competitive advantage, and is faculty chair of HBS executive education in India. Professor Thomke is currently on the core faculty of the General Management Program (GMP) and has previously taught in the Advanced Management Program (AMP). Previously, he was faculty chair of the MBA Required Curriculum and faculty co-chair of the doctoral program in Science, Technology and Management (S,T&M). He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching at HBS.

Professor Thomke's research and writings have focused primarily on the process, economics, and management of business experimentation in innovation. He is a widely published author with more than three dozen articles, cases and notes published in books and leading journals such as California Management Review, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 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).

Professor Thomke was born and grew up in Calw, Germany. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering, a S.M. degree in Operations Research, a S.M. degree in Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a Ph.D. degree 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. Prior to joining the Harvard University faculty, he worked in electronics and semiconductor manufacturing and later was with McKinsey & Company in Germany where he served clients in the automotive and energy industries.

Contact information: Harvard Business School, Soldiers Field, Morgan Hall 489, Boston, MA 02163 (U.S.A.); Telephone: +1 (617) 495-6569; Fax: +1 (617) 496-4059, E-mail: t@hbs.edu

  1. Stefan H. Thomke: Received the 2012 Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching.

  2. Stefan H. Thomke: Winner of the 2000–2001 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing Research for "The Effect of 'Front-Loading' Problem-Solving on Product Development Performance" (with T. Fujimoto, Journal of Product Innovation Management, March 2000).

  3. Stefan H. Thomke: First Prize Winner of the 1994 Product Development & Management Association’s (PDMA) International Dissertation Competition for “The Economics of Experimentation in the Design of New Products and Processes” (Ph.D. diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

  4. Stefan H. Thomke: Awarded the 1993 Lemelson-MIT Doctoral Fellowship for Invention and Innovation.

  5. Stefan H. Thomke: Awarded a Dr. Jost Henkel Foundation Fellowship in 1985.