Sonali Shah

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Sonali K. Shah is an Assistant Professor and Buerk Fellow at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business and a Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She joined the University of Washington faculty in 2007.

Her research examines how managers can harness the power and creativity of innovation communities to increase their organization's chances of commercializing highly profitable and breakthrough products. Innovation communities are composed of individuals who voluntarily come together to create new products and services outside the walls of firms and research institutions. They are the source of important and frequent innovations in a number of industries - ranging from automobiles to software and medical devices to sports equipment. She is currently studying the processes by which new products, markets, and industries emerge. Her research is supported by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman and Alfred P. Sloan Foundations.

Dr. Shah has received numerous awards for her research, most notably an Alfred P. Sloan Industry Studies Foundation Fellowship (2008-2010), the Thought Leader Award from the Academy of Management (2008 and 2010), a Best Paper Award from the Kauffman Foundation (2010) and the Best Paper Prize from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (2006). Her research has been published in Management Science, Organization Science, Research Policy, The Academy of Management Journal, and other journals.

She designed the course “Innovation Strategy.” The course attracts business, engineering, science, and medical students from across the university who are interested in tapping the numerous sources of innovation located outside of the firm. She also teaches the capstone Strategy course in the undergraduate curriculum. She previously taught courses in Organization Design and Technology Strategy.

Dr. Shah received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to completing graduate school, she worked with technology clients at Morgan Stanley & Co. and at McKinsey & Co. As a graduate student, she volunteered with the American Red Cross, focusing on issues related to refugee resettlement and education. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering and a B.S.E. in Economics from the Wharton School. While a student, she competed in intercollegiate sailing, served as editor-in-chief of a literary magazine, and studied abroad at Stockholms Universitet in Sweden. Her personal interests also include running, travelling, and eating (a true passion!).

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Shah, Sonali, Tripsas, Mary (2004). When Do User-Innovators Start Firms? Towards a Theory of User Entrepreneurship. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business

Franke, Nikolaus, Shah, Sonali (2003): How communities support innovative activities: an exploration of assistance and sharing am. In Research Policy, 32 (1) pp. 157-178.

Shah, Sonali (2000). Sources and Patterns of Innovation in a Consumer Products Field : Innovations in Sporting . Massachusetts Institute of Technology