Keyvan Vakili

Assistant Professor, Strategy and Entrepreneurship

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

Dr Keyvan Vakili’s research is broadly focused on understanding the factors that promote creativity and innovation at the individual, team, organisation, and industry levels, using a variety of experimental and quasi-experimental designs, quantitative data methods and textual analysis.

He is currently focused on two research streams. Through his first research stream, he examines the relationship between collaboration and innovation. He is particularly interested in how innovators choose their collaborators, how the composition of innovative teams influence their creative output, how firms and innovative teams can address the tensions between generating novel versus useful innovations, and how the context of innovation moderates the relationship between team composition and creativity. With the second research stream, he studies the impact of various public policies such as federal funding and IP regime on the innovative performance of individuals, teams, and organisations.

So far Dr Vakili’s research has been focused on four empirical settings: digital media standards, stem cell research, nanotechnology, and semiconductors.

Before joining academia, he was an entrepreneur and worked as a consultant. In 2006, he founded a video game production company, which was acquired by Samsung Co, three years later. As a consultant, he worked with executives in a range of industries such as auto, oil, education, software and hardware. He specialised in topics of business modelling, systems thinking and organisational learning. He currently advises several startups in the fields of mobile apps, semiconductors, and online services.

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


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

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 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

The double‐edged sword of recombination in breakthrough innovation

Kaplan S; Vakili K

Strategic Management Journal 2015 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.


Core courses

  • Digital Strategy
  • Strategic Management