Prof. Dr. Christina Raasch

Professor of Digital Economy

Prof. Dr. Christina Raasch

Professor of Digital Economy

Christina Raasch is Associate Professor of Digital Economy at Kühne Logistics University. She holds a joint appointment with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), where she is part of the Research Area focusing on Knowledge Creation and Growth.

She studied economics at the universities of St. Gallen and Oxford and holds a doctorate in management from Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg. During her habilitation studies, which she completed at TU Hamburg-Harburg, she spent 1.5 years as a visiting researcher at MIT Sloan School of Management. Before joining the KLU faculty in March 2017, she was Assistant Professor of Technology Management at Technische Universität München. She gained industry experience working as a consultant for ZS Associates as well as during various research projects conducted with companies in high tech and the digital economy.

In her research, Raasch investigates how both entrepreneurial and established companies can leverage digital technologies to become more innovative and more productive. She analyzes how digitalization changes business models and strategies as well as the nature and conditions of employment. Her current research projects focus on, e.g., enterprise crowd-funding, disruptive innovation by and with customers (demand-side or user innovation), and digital platforms.
In Raasch’s view, strategizing for complementarities with demand-side value creation is very much at the heart of the digital economy.

In the last five years, Raasch published her research in Management Science, Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, and Sloan Management Review. She is a Fellow of the Open and User Innovation (OUI) Society and serves as reviewer for, e.g., Strategic Management Journal, Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Scientometrics, and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.

Up Close & Personal

“My personal eureka moment happened as a student when I was walking the streets of Oxford.”
– Prof. Dr. Christina Raasch

Selected Publications


Abstract: Recent studies have identified that employees can be lead users of their employing firm's products, and valuable sources of product innovation, residing within organizational boundaries. We extend this line of thought by recognizing that employees can be lead users with regard to internal work processes. We define work process-related lead userness (WPLU) as the extent to which employees experience unsatisfied process-related needs ahead of others, and expect high benefits from solutions to these needs. We hypothesize a positive association with user innovation in the workplace, evidenced by the development of tools, equipment, materials and methods. We test a moderated mediation model delineating how and when WPLU is related to user innovation within organizational boundaries. Drawing on survey data from 104 employees and 13 supervisors in a forensic services organization, we find that WPLU contributes to user innovation via engagement in innovative work behavior, especially when employees have higher self-efficacy (perceived capability to overcome obstacles) and lower job autonomy (situational constraints on the job).

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Open reference in new window "Work process-related lead userness as an antecedent of innovative behavior and user innovation in organizations"

DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2018.01.017 

Abstract: Abstract Innovation occurs when knowledge about unmet customer needs intersects with knowledge about technological solutions. Both knowledge types are often located outside the firm and need to be absorbed in order for innovation to occur. While there has been extensive research into absorptive capacity for solution knowledge, a necessary complement − absorptive capacity for new customer needs − has been neglected. In an individual-level study of 864 employees from a home appliance firm, we show that need absorptive capacity is theoretically and empirically distinct from solution absorptive capacity, and that both are positively associated with employee innovativeness. Interestingly, we find asymmetric extra-domain effects: prior solution knowledge is positively related to need absorptive capacity (cross-pollination effect), while prior need knowledge is negatively related to solution absorptive capacity (attenuation effect). We contrast the cognitive underpinnings of the two absorptive capacity types, contributing to emerging scholarly thinking on the domain-specificity and micro foundations of absorptive capacity.

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Open reference in new window "Absorptive capacity for need knowledge: Antecedents and effects for employee innovativeness"

DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2015.2393 

Abstract: Innovation has traditionally been seen as the province of producers. However, theoretical and empirical research now shows that individual users—consumers—are also a major and increasingly important source of new product and service designs. In this paper, we build a microeconomic model of a market that incorporates demand-side innovation and competition. We explain the conditions under which firms find it beneficial to invest in supporting and harvesting users’ innovations, and we show that social welfare rises when firms utilize this source of innovation. Our modeling also indicates reasons for policy interventions with respect to a mixed user and producer innovation economy. From the social welfare perspective, as the share of innovating users in a market increases, profit-maximizing firms tend to switch “too late” from a focus on internal research and development to a strategy of also supporting and harvesting user innovations. Underlying this inefficiency are externalities that the producer cannot capture. Overall, our results explain when and how the proliferation of innovating users leads to a superior division of innovative labor involving complementary investments by users and producers, both benefitting producers and increasing social welfare.

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Open reference in new window "The User Innovation Paradigm: Impacts on Markets and Welfare"

DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2015.06.015 

Abstract: Abstract Empirical studies have shown that millions of individual users develop new products and services to serve their own needs. The economic impact of this phenomenon increases if and as adopters in addition to the initial innovators also gain benefits from those user-developed innovations. It has been argued that the diffusion of user-developed innovations is negatively affected by a new type of market failure: value that others may gain from a user-developed product can often be an externality to consumer-developers. As a result, consumer innovators may not invest in supporting diffusion to the extent that would be socially optimal. In this paper, we utilize a broad sample of consumers in Finland to explore the extent to which innovations developed by individual users are deemed of potential value to others, and the extent to which they diffuse as a function of perceived general value. Our empirical analysis supports the hypothesis that a market failure is affecting the diffusion of user innovations developed by consumers for their own use. Implications and possible remedies are discussed.

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Open reference in new window "Market failure in the diffusion of consumer-developed innovations: Patterns in Finland"

DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2014.09.007 

Abstract: Abstract While most of the literature views users and producers as organizationally distinct, this paper studies users within producer firms. We define “embedded lead users” (ELUs) as employees who are lead users of their employing firm’s products or services. We argue that 5ELUs6 benefit from dual embeddedness in the user and producer domains; it shapes their cognitive structure and enables them to better absorb sticky need knowledge from the user domain. We hypothesize that 5ELUs6 are more active than regular employees in acquiring, disseminating, and utilizing market need information for corporate innovation. Using survey data from the mountaineering equipment industry (n = 149), we test and support our hypotheses. Additional robustness checks reveal that the observed effects are indeed due to lead userness rather than to affective product involvement or job satisfaction. We discuss theoretical and managerial implications, as well as directions for future research on this empirically important but hitherto under-researched phenomenon.

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Open reference in new window "Embedded lead users - The benefits of employing users for corporate innovation"

Academic Positions

since 2017Associate Professor of Digital Economy at Kühne Logistics University, a joint appointment with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
2013-2017Professor of Technology Management, Technische Universität München, TUM School of Management
2010/2011/2012Visiting Researcher at Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
2007-2012Senior Research Fellow (Habilitandin), Lecturer and Head of the 'Open Source Innovation' Research Unit at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)
2000Visiting Researcher in the 'Directorate General Economics' at the European Central Bank, Frankfurt, Germany

Professional Experience

2003-2007Management consultant with ZS Associates, Frankfurt, Germany
2004Research project with Eli Lilly Germany, Bad Homburg, Germany
2002Internship with Bain & Company, Strategy Consultancy, Munich, Germany


2012Habilitation, Venia Legendi in Business Administration, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Germany
2006Doctorate at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
2002MSc (lic. oec.) of Economics and Management at St. Gallen University (HSG), Switzerland