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Dr. Varun Nagaraj is currently appointed as a Dean in SPJIMR, Mumbai. He had a 30-year career in product innovation in Boston and Silicon Valley, during which he held CEO and other executive leadership roles at several venture-funded start-ups and public companies developing communications, computing, IoT, and AI products. He was also a partner at PRTM Management Consulting (now part of PwC), working with Fortune 1000 companies on their organizational innovation initiatives.
He holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, a master’s in Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University, an MBA from Boston University, and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.
Dr. Varun Nagaraj is interested in research on how teams learn and innovate in unfamiliar contexts has been published in the Academy of Management (AOM) proceedings and in the Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM). It is featured in the 2021 Handbook of Digital Entrepreneurship.
As a teacher, Dr. Nagaraj brings a lively mix of practice and theory to the classroom and has developed and taught MBA, master’s, and undergraduate classes on digital transformation and product management at Boston University (on the edX MOOC platform), Pepperdine University, and the University of Notre Dame.
Dr. Nagaraj has recently been elected to serve as the Practitioner-at-large for the Academy of Management’s Organizational Communications and Information Systems (OCIS) division.
- Bidgely, Inc., CA. 2019 – 2021. COO. Venture-Funded Series-C Start-up
- Sierra Monitor Corporation, CA. 2014 – 2017. CEO. Acquired by MSA Safety (MSA: NYSE)
- Echelon Corporation, CA. 2011 – 2014. GM IoT. Acquired by Adesto (IOTS: NASDAQ)
- Aprius, CA. 2008 – 2011. CEO. Acquired by Fusion-IO/Western Digital (WDC: NASDAQ)
- Extreme Networks, CA. 2003 – 2005. VP, Product Management and Marketing. EXTR (NASDAQ)
- Ellacoya Networks, NH. 2001 – 2003. EVP, Marketing. Acquired by Arbor/Danaher (DHR: NYSE)
- PRTM, MA. 1995 – 2001. Associate, Manager, Principal, and Partner. Acquired by PwC.
- Hewlett Packard, CA. and MA. 1988 – 1995. Engineer, Product Manager. HPE (NYSE)
Research and Publications
PhD Dissertation: Emergent Learning in Digital Product Teams.
Weatherhead School of Management. Case Western Reserve University. May 2019. Committee: Dr. Kalle Lyytinen (Case Western), Dr. Youngjin Yoo (Case Western), Dr. Nick Berente (University of Notre Dame), and Dr. Nitin Joglekar (Boston University).
“Outstanding Research Proposal 2019” Award, Weatherhead School of Management.
Published / Accepted / Submitted Articles
- V Nagaraj. 2021. Senseshaping: How digital product managers drive cross-functional product innovation. Status: Submitted to Research-Technology Management. In Review.
- Y Yoo, F von Briel, J Recker, V Nagaraj, M McManus. 2021. Human-machine ensembles: Incorporating machine designers into the innovation process. Status: Submitted to California Management Review. In Review.
- V Nagaraj. 2021. Product-Assisted-Learning: Transforming the entrepreneurial learning process with digital product analytics. Chapter in Handbook of Digital Entrepreneurship (Editors: M. Keyhani, A. Sorgner, T. Kollmann, C. Hull, and A. Ashjari). Edward Elgar Publishing. Status: Accepted. Book to be published in late 2021.
- V Nagaraj, N Berente, K Lyytinen, J Gaskin. 2020 Team design thinking, product innovativeness, and the moderating role of problem unfamiliarity. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 37(4): 273–372.
- V Nagaraj, N Berente, J Gaskin, K Lyytinen. 2018 How Does Design Thinking Impact the Market Success of Digital Products? Academy of Management Proceedings 2018 (1), 15737.
- V Nagaraj, RJ Boland, K Lyytinen. 2017 Senseshaping: The dynamics of sensemaking and sense giving in high-velocity product innovation. Academy of Management Proceedings 2017 (1), 13314.
Advisory White Papers for Clients of Gartner Group (Gartner peer review process)
- Use In-Application Feedback to Continuously Improve Product-Market Fit. July 2019.
- Emphasize Customer Success Metrics to Accelerate Revenue Growth. July 2019.
- Drive Product Growth by Emphasizing Packaging and Go-To-Market. May 2019.
- Reignite Growth through Targeted Investments in Software Tools for Product Management. May 2019.
- Use Three Design Thinking Principles in Everyday Product Management to Drive Innovation. May 2019.
- N Joglekar and V Nagaraj. 2017. Digital Product Management Thinking: Integrating Analytics, Business Models, Coordination and Design Thinking. Senseshaping Ventures, LLC
- V Nagaraj and J Frey. 2021. The ethical spectrum of compelling leadership. 4-part Series. Psychology Today. February 5 2021.
Blogs and Invited Guest Articles
- Learning from History. SierraMonitor.com, 2017.
- Alexa – Make My Building Run Better. ACHR News, 2016
- Migrating Legacy Devices to the IIoT Design News, 2014.
- The Industrial IoT isn’t the same as the Consumer IoT. Forbes.com, 2014.
- How Europe is Cashing in on Smart Meters as the U.S. Lags. Forbes.com, 2012.
Industry Seminars, Interviews, and Podcasts
- Data-Driven Analytics: How Netflix Enhances Decision Making and Applications for Utilities. Keynote at Utility Analytics Summit, 2020.
- Software Tools for the Product Manager. Webinar hosted by Product Collective, 2019.
- Design Thinking. Webinar hosted by Product Collective, 2018.
- IoT Time. Podcast on IoT Evolution, 2017.
- Enabling Innovation. Keynote at Measurement Control and Automation Association Annual Conference, 2017.
- The Industrial IoT. Interview with TMCNet, 2016
- Control Networking Conversations. Interview with Control Trends, 2016.
- Investing in the Industrial IoT, Interview with The Wall Street Analyzer, 2015.
- Taking Advantage of the Industrial IoT Opportunity. Interview with AutomatedBuildings.com, 2015.