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 degree at Univer­sity of Munich and spent several semes­ters as Visiting Professor at Massa­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­no­logy (MIT). He is married and has two daugh­ters.

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 and 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 to work 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, Volks­wagen Stif­tung, Vienna Science and Tech­no­logy Fund, OeNB and FWF. His rese­arch has been published in leading academic jour­nals such as Entre­pre­neurship Theory and Prac­tice, Journal of Busi­ness Ventu­ring, Journal of Product Inno­va­tion Manage­ment, Journal of Marke­ting, Manage­ment Science, Orga­niza­tion Science, Rese­arch Policy, cited frequently, and honored with several inter­na­tional awards.

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 > 500 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 TU/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 served 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.).