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Rob Austin

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  • Innovation
  • IT Management
  • Creative Businesses
  • Performance Management

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Professor, Information Systems

Robert D. Austin is a professor of Information Systems at Ivey Business School, and an affiliated faculty member at Harvard Medical School.

Before his appointment at Ivey, he was a professor of Innovation and Digital Transformation at Copenhagen Business School, and, before that, a professor of Technology and Operations Management at the Harvard Business School. At Harvard, he chaired the executive program for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) for more than ten years. He has also taught more than 25 seminars in the case method approach to business education to faculty members around the globe.

Professor Austin has published widely, in both academic and professional venues, such as Harvard Business Review, Information Systems Research, MIT Sloan Management Review, Organization Science, and the Wall Street Journal. He also is the author of nine books, more than 50 published cases and notes, two Harvard online products, and two popular Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) running on the Coursera platform.

Over the years, Dr. Austin has consulted and delivered education experiences and consulting to many multinational corporations, working mostly with C-level executives, and he has served on numerous boards, especially for technology companies. He is a member of the international jury for the CIO 100 Awards, which selects for recognition the best examples of IT projects that “[create] new business value by innovating with technology” and he has advised the European Commission on “e- Competencies for Innovation” and “e-Leadership.”


  • Design and Technology Management (MBA)
  • Leveraging Information Technology (HBA, 2 sections)


  • PhD, Management and Decision Science, Carnegie Mellon University
  • MS, Industrial Engineering, Northwestern University
  • BA, English Literature, Swarthmore College
  • BS, Engineering, Swarthmore College

Recent Refereed Articles

  • Austin, R.D., Hjorth, D., Hessel, S., (forthcoming), "How aesthetics and economy become conversant in creative firms", Organization Studies.
  • Austin, R.D., Pisano, G.P., 2017, "Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage", Harvard Business Review, May/June 95(3): 96 - 103.
  • Austin, R.D., 2016, "Unleashing Creativity With Digital Technology", Sloan Management Review (MIT), Fall 58(1): 157 - 160.
  • Austin, R.D., Upton, D.M., 2016, "Leading in the Age of Super- Transparency", Sloan Management Review (MIT), Winter 57(2): 25 - 32.
  • Austin, R.D., Sonne, T., 2014, "The Dandelion Principle: Redesigning Work for the Innovation Economy", Sloan Management Review (MIT), Summer 55(4): 67 - 72.
  • Austin, R.D., Lee, D., Sullivan, E., 2012, "Accidental Innovation: Supporting Valuable Unpredictability in Creative Process", Organization Science, September/October 23(5): 1505 - 1522.
  • Austin, R.D., Nolan, R.L., O'Donnell, S., 2009, "The Technology Manager’s Journey: An Extended Narrative Approach to Educating Technical Leaders", Academy of Management Learning & Education, September 9(3): 337 - 355.
  • Austin, R.D., Devin, L., 2009, "Weighing the Benefits and Costs of Flexibility in Making Software: Toward a Contingency Theory of the Determinants of Development Process Design", Information Systems Research, September 20(3): 462 - 477.
  • Austin, R.D., Nolan, R.L., O'Donnell, S., 2009, "A ‘Novel’ Approach to the Design of an IS Management Course", Communications of the Association for Information Systems, June 24(1).
  • Wareham, J.D., Busquets, X., Austin, R.D., 2009, "Creative, Convergent, and Social: Prospects for Mobile Computing", Journal of Information Technology, June 24(2): 139 - 143.
  • Austin, R.D., Busquets, X., 2008, "Managing Differences", Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, June: 28 - 35.
  • Austin, R.D., 2008, "Aesthetic Coherence and the Hunt for Big Margins", Harvard Business Review, January: 19 - 20.
  • Austin, R.D., Nolan, R.L., 2007, "Bridging the Gap Between Stewards and Creators", Sloan Management Review (MIT), Winter 48(2): 29 - 36.
  • Austin, R.D., 2007, "Kiva as a Test of Our “Societal Creativity”", Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, Winter/Spring 2(1/2): 57 - 62.
  • Austin, R.D., Nolan, R.L., 2005, "In Search of the Next Killer App", Sloan Management Review (MIT), Summer 46(4): 96 - .

For more publications please see our Research Database

Works in Progress

  • Project: Deploying IT to Enhance Organizational Innovation
  • Project: Neurodiversity as a Source of Organizational Talent
  • Project: Living and Leading in an Era of Super Transparency

Honours & Awards

  • SAP Autism at Work Leadership Award, 2016
  • Danish Society for Education and Business (DSEB) Prize, 2015, with Shannon Hessel
  • MBA Society Recognition Award, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, 2015
  • Industrial Engineering and Operations Management Distinguished Service Award, 3rd Annual Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management, 2012
  • Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize for Volume 48 of MIT Sloan Management Review, 2008
  • Book Artful Making (co-authored with Lee Devin) honored with the Elliot Hayes Award, by the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, 2004
  • Herbert A. Simon Doctoral Dissertation Award, Carnegie Mellon University, 1995


  • Professor, Management of Innovation and Digital Transformation, Copenhagen Business School
  • Dean, Faculty of Business Administration, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton
  • CEO, CBS-SIMI Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Associate Professor, Harvard Business School
  • Head of Operations, Oliko, a subsidiary of Novell
  • Manager, Ford Motor Company