David A. Owens

Vanderbilt Management Professor, Director of the Executive Development Institute & Author

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David A. Owens is Professor of the Practice of Management and Innovation at Vanderbilt’s Graduate School of Management. He also holds a secondary appointment in Engineering Management in the School of Engineering and is an affiliated faculty member in the department of Teaching and Learning in Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education.

Owens’ research takes a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of the innovation development and innovation adoption. Current projects include research on adoption of software diagnostic tools by medical clinicians and on innovation barriers in mature consumer products companies. As a principal investigator in the Spatial Learning and Mobility (SLaM) laboratory Owens also conducts action research on learning in non-traditional settings. One project investigates the design of makerspaces for patients in children’s hospitals, while another focuses on developing representation systems for the collection and analysis of the social and content engagement of families and groups during museum visits.

He has published in numerous journals and has given more than 250 conference and invited talks internationally. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Guardian, Fast Company, and San Jose Mercury News, as well as on NPR’s Marketplace among others.

Owens served as CEO of Griffin Technology, a large consumer electronics firm in the iPhone/iPad/iPod accessory market, and has consulted on issues of strategic innovation for NASA, The Smithsonian, Nissan, Mars, Gibson, Alcatel, Tetra Pak, Cisco, LEGO, The Henry Ford Museum, Wrigley, and many other global product and service organizations. He has done product design work for well-known firms including Apple, Dell, Daimler Benz, Canon, Corning, and Steelcase while working at IDEO Product Development.

Professor Owens earned his PhD in management science and engineering at Stanford University through a joint fellowship program between the Graduate School of Business and the School of Engineering. He holds an M.S. in engineering product design and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford, and he is a registered professional electrical engineer (PE).

His book, “Creative People Must Be Stopped! Six Ways We Stop Innovation (Without Even Trying),” was published by Jossey-Bass Wiley in 2012, and over 100,000 students have taken his MOOC online class based on the book.

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