Doctoral Student

Michael Quinn Christensen

Michael Christensen received an A.B., with Honors, in History of Art and Architecture from Harvard College and an MBA with High Distinction from Harvard Business School where he graduated as a George F. Baker Scholar.  Michael has also worked for a number of leading strategy and innovation consulting firms, including Monitor Group, IDEO, and Innosight, where he engaged with clients across a wide variety of industries.  His main research interests include business strategy, firm and product positioning, user innovation, and organizational design.

Journal Articles

  1. Is There a Doctor in the House? Expert Product Users, Organizational Roles, and Innovation

    Riitta Katila, Sruthi Thatchenkery, Michael Christensen and Stefanos A. Zenios

    We explore the impact on innovation that professional end-users of a product have as inventors, executives, and board members in a young firm. In contrast to prior literature, which has emphasized technology roles, we put the spotlight on the executive and governance roles that many professional users take in young firms. Using an extensive custom-collected dataset of 231 surgical instrument ventures over a 25-year period, we find that professional users strengthen innovation in some roles but block it in others. Physician-users are related with the increase in a firm’s innovation when they take a technology role as inventors, and particularly when they take a governance role on the young firm’s board. However, despite their frequent involvement in executive roles, physician-executives are less likely to be helpful, and especially likely to block innovation as chief executives. Our results emphasize professional users as a critical external dependency for a young firm’s innovation, but show that a mismatch with a particular organizational role may have unanticipated negative effects on innovation. In their roles, users can be helpful by expanding the variety of solutions to the firm’s innovation problems, but are significantly less helpful in just improving their selection. Our findings have implications for research on evolutionary perspective on user innovation, organizational roles in young firms, and entrepreneurial policy.

    Keywords: innovation; entrepreneurship; User Innovation; healthcare; Innovation and Management; Entrepreneurship; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry;

    Citation:

    Katila, Riitta, Sruthi Thatchenkery, Michael Christensen, and Stefanos A. Zenios. "Is There a Doctor in the House? Expert Product Users, Organizational Roles, and Innovation." Academy of Management Journal (forthcoming). View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Lady Gaga (B)

    Anita Elberse and Michael Christensen

    In March 2011, Troy Carter, manager of pop star Lady Gaga, reflects on decisions made regarding his artist's concert tour and faces a new set of challenges regarding the launch of Lady Gaga's new album, Born This Way. Is a huge, expensive launch akin to that of a "tent-pole" movie the best way to capitalize on Gaga's popularity, or is a more moderate approach that relies on word-of-mouth the right way to proceed? Designed to help students understand the decisions that helped propel Lady Gaga into one of the entertainment world's biggest names. Written from the perspective of her manager, the case provides rich insights into the artist's touring, recorded-music, and social-media activities, as well as supporting economic data.

    Keywords: Music Entertainment; Product Launch; Product Development; Talent and Talent Management; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Michael Christensen. "Lady Gaga (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 512-017, August 2011. (Revised October 2011.) View Details
  2. Lady Gaga (A)

    Anita Elberse and Michael Christensen

    In September 2009, Troy Carter, manager of up-and-coming pop star Lady Gaga, has to decide on a new course of action now that his artist's planned co-headlining arena tour with hip-hop superstar Kanye West has been cancelled. Carter knows that continuing the tour, but doing so solo, comes with huge risks, but scaling it back to smaller theaters or postponing the tour altogether has disadvantages as well. Making matters more complicated, Carter also has to consider the implications for Gaga's partners, including the concert promoter Live Nation and the William Morris Endeavor agency. What is the best strategy? Designed to help students understand the decisions that helped propel Lady Gaga into one of the entertainment world's biggest names. Written from the perspective of her manager, the case provides rich insights into the artist's touring, recorded-music, and social-media activities, as well as supporting economic data.

    Keywords: Employee Relationship Management; Marketing Strategy; Product; Product Development; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Creativity; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Elberse, Anita, and Michael Christensen. "Lady Gaga (A)." Harvard Business School Case 512-016, July 2011. (Revised October 2011.) View Details