Keyvan Vakili

Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

BA MBA (Sharif University of Technology) PhD (Toronto)

I am a strategy scholar interested in the antecedents of innovation and collaboration within creative settings. In particular, I explore how the technological and institutional contexts in which individuals and firms operate shapes their choice of collaboration and consequently the characteristics of their innovations in terms of novelty and impact. I explore these topics in three related research streams.

In my first research stream, I explore how the technological context, such as the pace of change, modularity, and breadth of applications, moderate the costs and benefits associated with knowledge diversity and distant recombinations. The findings contribute to our understanding of the relationship between knowledge diversity and the characteristics of innovation output in terms of novelty and impact. In the second research stream, I take a step back to study how the external environment influences the decision of individuals and firms to collaborate and the composition of their collaborative arrangements in the first place. I specifically focus on how the characteristics of the surrounding technological and institutional environments influence the collaboration choice of individuals and firms and, consequently, their innovation output. Finally, in my third research stream, I focus on how scientists and inventors choose the topics or areas in which they invest their efforts.

Before joining academia, I was an entrepreneur and worked as a consultant. In 2006, I founded a video game production company, which was acquired by Samsung Co, three years later. As a consultant, I worked with executives in a range of industries such as auto, oil, education, software and hardware.I currently advise several startups in the fields of mobile apps, cloud computing, and blockchain technology.”

Research Awards

  • 2015: AOM TIM Division Best Paper Award Finalist

  • 2014: AOM BPS Division Best Dissertation Award Finalist

  • 2012: REER Conference Best Student Paper Award Finalist

  • 2012: Winner of the Best Paper Award (joint with Sarah Kaplan), DRUID Conference 2012

  • 2011: Distinguished Robert J. Litschert Best Doctoral Student Paper Award, AOM 2011

  • 2011: NBER Entrepreneurship Research Boot Camp, NBER/Kauffman Foundation

  • 2008-2012: Doctoral Fellowship, Rotman School of Management

  • 2008-2012: Graduate Student Endowment Award, University of Toronto

  • 2001-2008: Full Scholarship, Sharif University of Technology

  • Innovation strategy
  • Collaboration and innovation
  • Economics of science
  • Science policy
  • Specialization and Creativity
  • Knowledge Recombination


Detrimental Collaborations in Creative Work: Evidence from Economics

Vakili K; Teodoridis F; Bikard M

Organization Science 2021 Vol 33:5 p 1741-1755

Organizing for Innovation: A Contingency View on Innovative Team Configuration

Vakili K; Kaplan S

Strategic Management Journal 2021 Vol 42:6 p 1159-1183


Creativity at the knowledge frontier : the impact of specialization in fast- and slow-paced domains

Teodoridis F; Vakili K; Bikard M

Administrative Science Quarterly 2019 Vol 64:4 p 894-927

Explaining heterogeneity in the organization of scientific work

Vakili K; Rahmandad H

Organization Science 2019 Vol 30:6 p 1125-1393

Topic modeling in management research: rendering new theory from textual data

Hannigan T; Haans R F J; Vakili K; Tchalian H; Glaser V; Kaplan S; Wang M; Jennings P D

Academy of Management Annals 2019 Vol 13:2 p 586-632


High on creativity: the impact of social liberalization policies on innovation

Vakili K; Zhang L

Strategic Management Journal 2018 Vol 39:7 p 1860-1886

Legal marijuana and gay marriage have been good for U.S. innovation

Vakili K; Zhang L

Harvard Business Review Digital Articles 2018

When collaboration bridges institutions: the impact of industry collaboration on academic productivity

Vakili K; Teodoridis F; Bikard M

Organization Science 2018 Vol 30:2 p 426-445

When generalists are better than specialists, and vice versa

Teodoridis F; Bikard M; Vakili K

HBR.org 2018


Can specialization foster creativity? : mathematics and the collapse of the Soviet Union

Teodoridis F; Vakili K; Bikard M

Academy of Management Proceedings 2017 Vol 2017:1 p 16768

Healthcare's grand challenge: basic science on diseases that primarily afflict the poor

McGahan A; Vakili V

Academy of Management Journal 2016 Vol 59:6 p 1917-1939


Progress in human embryonic stem cell research in the United States between 2001 and 2010

Vakili K; McGahan A M; Rezaie R; Mitchell W; Daar A S

PLoS ONE 2015 Vol 10:3 p 44409

The double-edged sword of recombination in breakthrough innovation

Kaplan S; Vakili K

Strategic Management Journal 2015 October Vol 36:10 p 1435-1457


Sticky ends

Vakili K

Business Strategy Review 2014 Vol 25:4 p 7


Can specialization foster creativity?: mathematics and the collapse of the Soviet Union

Teodoridis F; Vakili K; Bikard M

Social Sciences Research Network

Teaching portfolio

Our teaching offering is updated annually. Faculty and programme material are subject to change.