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Univ. Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke

Professor Nikolaus Franke founded the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) in 2001 and has been serving as its Director since then. He earned his doctoral and habilitation degrees at University of Munich and spent several semesters as Visiting Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He is fascinated by the paradigm shifting phenomenon of open and user innovation. In his research, he studies how firms can benefit from user creativity. He analyzes success potential, functioning, and effects of methods such as toolkits for user innovation and design, innovation communities, crowdsourcing, lead user analyses etc.  Beyond this and more generally, he is interested in the fields of entrepreneurship, innovation management, marketing, behavioral economics and psychology, and prefers working empirically. He believes that rigor alone it is not a sufficient criterion for good academic research. It should be practically relevant as well and should be communicated as clearly as possible. He has cooperated with scholars around the globe in projects that have been funded by EU, FWF, OeNB, Vienna Science and Technology Fund, and Volkswagen Stiftung. His research has been published in leading academic journals such as Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Information System Research, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Marketing, Management Science, Organization Science, Research Policy, cited frequently (>10,000 Scholar.Google, >2,500 SSCI), and honored with several international awards (e.g. Academy of Management Best Paper, VHB Best Paper). Since 2016 he serves as Field Editor of the world’s leading entrepreneurship journal Journal of Business Venturing. Many of his former students are now professors at top schools (e.g. Copenhagen Business School, VU Amsterdam, WHU etc.), obtained top management positions, and founded innovative companies.

Under his responsibility, the institute and its members developed a frequently awarded problem-based teaching approach covering the topics of entrepreneurship and innovation in full breadth. In the last years > 800 applied projects with partners ranging from start-ups to leading multinationals were carried out by the institute. Other outreach activities include his role as Scientific Director of the yearly competition “TOP 100 – Germany’s most innovative SME”, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and more board memberships. He consulted many firms and served as invited speaker in executive meetings worldwide.

Beyond leading the Institute, he serves WU in numerous other positions e.g. as Academic Director of the WU Professional MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, leader of the User Innovation Research Initiative Vienna, founder of the Entrepreneurship Center Network, founder and Academic Director of the WU Entrepreneurship Center (WU Gründungszentrum), member of the Research Institute for Family Business, the Senate of WU and WU’s research commission. He has been serving the scientific community as advisory board member of VHB journal rating activities and Innovation Research & Policy Network of SSRN, and in many juries and evaluation committees such as the Rudolf Sallinger Award, the Kardinal Innitzer Award, or the Talenta Award. From 2011-13 he served as Chairman of the Center of Excellence “TIE – Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship” of the Academic Association for Business Research (wissenschaftliche Kommission für Technologie, Innovation und Entrepreneurship des Verbands der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft e.V.).