New Case: Moderna (A)

In summer 2020, Stephane Bancel, CEO of biotech firm Moderna, faces several challenges as his company races to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The case explores how a company builds a digital organization, and leverages artificial intelligence and other digital resources to speed its operations, manage its processes and ensure quality across research, testing and manufacturing. Built from the ground up as such a digital organization, Moderna was able to respond to the challenge of developing a vaccine as soon as the gene sequence for the virus was posted to the Web on January 11, 2020. As the vaccine enters Phase III clinical trials, Bancel considers several issues: How should Bancel and his team balance the demands of developing a vaccine for a virus creating a global pandemic alongside the other important vaccines and therapies in Moderna's pipeline? How should Moderna communicate its goals and vision to investors in this unprecedented time? Should Moderna be concerned it will be pegged as "a COVID-19 company?" Read More

Check out an interview with Karim R. Lakani, HBS Professor and LISH Co-Director, and Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, to discuss systematic methods his team uses to develop and launch successful new ventures in the life sciences such as Moderna.

AI in Enterprise Podcast: Episode 6 - Fabio Luzzi (Tapestry)

As 2020 unfolds, profound changes are occurring in the business world. Our “AI in Enterprise” series is adapting to address the new challenges facing enterprises pursuing artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions. These one-hour talks provide insights into how enterprise firms are thinking critically and strategically about AI/ML integration.

For November’s ”AI in Enterprise” discussion, HBS Professor and co-author of Competing in the Age of AI, Karim R. Lakhani spoke with Fabio Luzzi (Global Head of Data & Analytics at Tapestry) about the untapped potential of AI and machine learning in demand planning and supply chain operations. An advanced analytics executive and data strategist with over 15 years of experience, Fabio has applied data strategies and built advanced solutions for several Fortune 500 enterprises across various industries: consulting, payment and financial services, entertainment, retail & fashion. 

Subscribe to the “AI in Enterprise” podcast in iTunes, Google podcasts, and Stitcher and never miss a new episode!

Open Innovation in Science (OIS) Research Conference 2021

April 7-9, 2021 at CERN IdeaSquare | Geneva, Switzerland (and/or online)

After postponing the OIS Research Conference 2020 due to the COVID-19-virus outbreak, we are happy to announce the new date for the OIS Research Conference 2021 at CERN IdeaSquare in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 7-9, 2021. While we plan for having a physical meeting, time will tell us to what extent virtual elements will be part of the event.


The organizing committee of the OIS Research Conference 2021 at CERN IdeaSquare invites you to join the discussion about the role and value of open and collaborative approaches to generating and disseminating scientific research by submitting an abstract of 250-500 words on your empirical or conceptual work to one of the following conference tracks:

  • Track 1: Open and collaborative approaches along the entire scientific research process and their effects. 
  • Track 2: Ecosystems and organizational designs facilitating open and collaborative research approaches. 
  • Track 3: Micro-foundations of open and collaborative research approaches. 

To submit your abstract, please click here or use the following link:

Submission deadline is January 29, 2021.

►    Conference details

Participating in the OIS Research Conference is free. In case we can hold a physical meeting that includes meals and social program. Travel and hotel expenses are not included. Hotel recommendations are shared below.

The conference officially starts on April 7 at 12:00 at CERN IdeaSquare (and/or online) and ends on April 9 at 13:00. We expect participants to be present during the entire time.

The Digital Transformer's Dilemma: How to Energize Your Core Business While Building Disruptive Products and Services


The Digital Transformer's Dilemma: How to Energize Your Core Business While Building Disruptive Products and Services by [Karolin Frankenberger, Hannah Mayer, Andreas Reiter, Markus Schmidt]

A new book by LISH's visiting fellow Hannah MeyerBring your company into the digital era without compromising your core business.


NASA Challenges 


More Water, Less Concentrate

In many areas, particularly in the Western United States, existing fresh water sources are fully allocated or over-allocated. When inland communities are evaluating potential sources for new water supplies, desalination is often overlooked or not considered due to its perceived high cost. A major cost factor is the additional handling, disposal and/or treatment required to manage concentrate streams. Further, in the disposal of concentrate, significant and desirable additional water resources are also lost. Reclamation is seeking innovative solutions for reducing the volume of concentrate requiring disposal from inland desalination systems in an affordable, environmentally sustainable, and efficient manner to make desalination an attractive option relative to other alternatives in locations where traditional sources of water are inadequate. Solutions can be novel technologies or approaches which build upon existing technologies. This is a multi-phase competition spanning over the next two years. Solvers with the most compelling solutions will be provided an opportunity to participate in the final phase of the competition to test their prototype technology as part of a demonstration event at Reclamation’s Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, NM.

Partner Organization: United States Bureau of Reclamation

Awards: $825,000 in total prizes

Open Date: October 28, 2020

Close Date: March 31, 2021

Frequency: Once

For more information, visit:

NASA's Lunar Delivery Challenge

The goal of NASA’s Artemis program is to land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the moon in 2024. By the end of the decade, NASA wishes to create a sustainable base camp on the lunar surface which will serve as a hub for scientific research and can also be a base for future exploration of Mars. A critical component of this program's success is the delivery of supplies and systems to the lunar surface and eventually Mars. Payloads of varying mass and volume will be sent to the moon in one of several commercial landers and once they arrive at the lunar South Pole,  they need to be unloaded. These landers will range in size depending on the program requirements, so ideally the solution should be flexible enough to handle a variety of payloads being off-loaded from a range of different vehicles. Current Earth-based logistics systems are too massive to easily be packaged and deployed on the lunar surface. This is why we are asking for your help! We are looking for practical and cost-effective solutions to unload payloads to the lunar surface.

Awards: $25,000 in total prizes

Open Date: October 29, 2020

Close Date: January 19, 2021

For more information, visit:

The President’s Innovation Challenge at Harvard invites you to dive into your curiosity to discover new solutions to our most urgent problems. It’s a chance to join a community that is passionate about change as we work toward a more human, shared future. It’s also an opportunity to win a share of $510,000, funded entirely by a gift from the Bertarelli Foundation.

Apply by January 6, 2021 to join the challenge this spring!

Read more here.

The Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard's Annual Report 2020

Celebrating the publications, projects, administrative staff, and goals of 2020, The Annual Report summarizes all of our hard work at LISH. Here is an excerpt from the letter from Leadership from the Annual Report:

"It is our pleasure to highlight the achievements of the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) for the last 18 months. The lab had unprecedented growth and accomplishment, with the publication of 28 articles, papers, and cases, the development of three courses, execution of four practitioner-focused events, hosting of 19 new visitors, placement of two RAs in prestigious PhD programs, faculty placements for three postdoctoral LISH researchers, and the addition of HBS Professor Marco Iansiti as Co-Director of the lab."

Read more and download it here.


Self Publish
Looking for a way to distribute your white paper, working paper or report? Submit your resource (e.g. white paper, report, working paper, presentation or video) to the Innovation Science Guide where it will be published after a short review. Submit here

LISH, in collaboration with the Linux Foundation, kicked off the Core Infrastructure Initiative in September 2018 with a meeting at Harvard Business School where 40 members from academia and industry met to identify and explore potential research questions. These questions include: 
  • How can we create a "census" of open source software (OSS) prevalently used in the economy?
  • How can we better understand OSS's effects on the economy and security?
  • Who are the top contributors to OSS and what are their motivations?
  • How can the OSS community adopt practices to enhance the security and efficacy of all?
If you would like to be part of the network, participate in research associated with the initiative, or simply receive periodic updates sign up here.

Recently read an interesting or compelling peer-reviewed journal or working paper related to innovation science? We want to know about it! Send your recommendations for a chance to have it featured in the next newsletter! Recommend here


OpenIDEO (B)
In the midst of 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic was unfolding, OpenIDEO - an online open innovation platform focused on design-driven solutions to social issues - rapidly launched a new challenge to improve access to health information, empower communities to stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis, and inspire global leaders to communicate effectively. OpenIDEO was particularly suited to challenges which required cross-system or sector-wide collaboration due to its focus on social impact and ecosystem design, but its leadership pondered how they could continue to improve virtual collaboration and to share their insights from nearly a decade of running online challenges. Conceived as an exercise of disruptive digital innovation, OpenIDEO successfully created a strong open innovation community, but how could they sustain - or even improve - their support to community members and increase the social impact of their online challenges in the coming years? Read More

Engineering serendipity: When does knowledge sharing lead to knowledge production?
We investigate how knowledge similarity between two individuals is systematically related to the likelihood that a serendipitous encounter results in knowledge production. We conduct a field experiment at a medical research symposium, where we exogenously varied opportunities for face‐to‐face encounters among 15,817 scientist‐pairs. Our data include direct observations of interaction patterns collected using sociometric badges, and detailed, longitudinal data of the scientists' postsymposium publication records over 6 years. We find that interacting scientists acquire more knowledge and coauthor 1.2 more papers when they share some overlapping interests, but cite each other's work between three and seven times less when they are from the same field. Our findings reveal both collaborative and competitive effects of knowledge similarity on knowledge production outcomes. Read More
Learn more about the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard
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