Kevin Boudreau, Northeastern & NBER 

Dr. Boudreau is an associate professor at Northeastern University and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses on understanding how platforms, defined broadly, can be optimized for growth and innovation. This research combines analysis of of large data sets from industry with randomized controlled trials and field experiments with industry, governmental, non-governmental partners, and university labs. At Northeastern, his primary affiliation is at the D'Amore Mckim School of Business; he has secondary affiliations with the College of Computer and Information Science, the Department of Economics within the College of Social Science and Humanities, and the College of Engineering's IoT Research Center within the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex. His external service responsibilities include serving as Associate Editor at Management Science in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship department and in the Strategy department, and serving on the editorial board at the Strategic Management Journal. In teaching, his current teaching responsibilities are to teach a course the modern economics and business models of platforms and digitization to graduate Business students, and other students, including those pursuing STEM degrees. He has previously taught courses in Strategy, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Empirical Research Methods. Prior to becoming an academic researcher, Dr. Boudreau carried out engineering research and experiments at the Canadian Space Agency and Nortel/Bell Northern Research. He then worked in and then worked in tech management and strategy at The Economist Group, Qualcomm and Deloitte/Braxton Associates. He has helped launch ventures in several areas close to his research, including those in telecommunications and mobile communications; data science; crowdsourcing; digital marketplaces; and digital innovation and product development.


  • Jan 26 2018 University of Michigan
  • Feb 27 NBER Productivity Lunch
  • March 23 2018 Economics of Online Platforms Conference, University of Florida Law & Economics Departments
  • April 24 2018 United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • May 3 2018 Harvard Business School - IP and Digitization Workshop
  • May 4 2018 Boston College Digital Innovation Workshop
  • May 17 2018 Northwestern University Kellog School of Management, Searle Center Research Roundtable on Standard Setting Organizations and Patents.
  • May 19 2018 National Science Foundation
  • May 21 2018 Northwestern University Kellog School of Management, Conference on Innovation Economics.
    • May 30 2018 Stanford University
    • June 11-13, 2018 Copenhagen Business School, DRUID
    • June 21 2018 Society for Institutional & Organizational Economics, Montreal (HEC)
    • August 2018 Academy of Management  
      • Chairing Junior Faculty Consortium BPS
      • Field Experimental Methods
      • Entrepreneurship & Digitization
      • The Right Tool for the Task? Using Different Methodological Approaches to Understand Open Innovation
      • Amateurs
      • Mash-ups
    • August 2018  Northwestern University Kellog School of Management, Organization Design Community Annual Conference, Ecosystem Design and Boundaries of the Firm speaker 
    • August 2018  INSEAD, Entrepreneurship Conference 


    Existing models of market entry and entrepreneurial selection do not account for amateurs in platform-based marketplaces. This paper clarifies how platform design can be altered for participation by amateurs, professionals, or both. 

    Products, especially digital ones, are increasingly "mash-ups" of different kinds of things. This paper shows that even among products within narrow categories on the Apple AppStore, that seemingly similar products differ in their innovative content (programming instructions, datasets, graphics, algorithms, etc.), with corresponding differences in patent and copyright use. This presents new challenges and opportunities for firm strategy, and those evaluating patents and copyright.

    This chapter offes an in-depth historical examination of internal and external organization and innovation strategies of early smartphone and PDA platform suppliers.  
    Today's crowdfunding raises funds for tiny, private entrepreneurial ventures without granting funders claims to income or decision rights. We clarify how and to what extent these pledges of funding can be understood as a kind of public good. We clarify how the motivations of funders to contribute to such small, little known, private, profit-seeking enterprises differs from analogous contributions to philanthropic and charitable organizations.

    In contrast to traditional models of winner-take-all outcomes in digital markets, many of today's digital innovators face intensive competition – even where prevailing price is zero. This paper investigates how network effects and “freemium” strategies, typical of winner-take-all contexts, work in such competitive conditions. 

      • Lakhani, K., K. Boudreau, C. Baldwin, A. MacCormack, E. Guinan, et al. (2013) "Prize-based contests can provide solutions to computational biology problems." Nature Biotechnology31(2):108. 

      • Demographics of Tech Workers: Platform Field Experiment
      • Experimental Evidence on Education of STEM Workers
      • Appropriability Mechanisms & Market Leadership in Digital
      • Field Experiment on Platform Adoption Dynamics
      • Multi-Disciplinary Teams


      • Guinan, E., K. Boudreau, K. Lakhani.  (2013) "Experiments in Open Innovation at the Harvard Medical School." MIT Sloan Management Review54(3): 45-52.

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