Head of Chair

Professor Dr.

Christoph Hienerth

Head of chair


Short Biography

Prof. Dr. Christoph Hienerth was appointed to the Chair of Entrepreneurship and New Business Development at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in June 2012. He holds a doctoral degree (equivalent to a PhD) from WU Vienna, where he also completed his post-doctoral degree (Habilitation) as an assistant professor at the Department for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. From 2006 to 2012 he held a tenured position as Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School, Department for Innovation and Organizational Economics. Prof. Hienerth had various research visits and fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard Business School (HBS), McGill University, and George Washington University.

His research has been published in leading international and national refereed journals such as Research Policy, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Long Range Planning, Journal of Organizational Design, Family Business Review, Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft (ZfB). His work, both in research as well as in teaching has won several awards. Prof. Hienerth has gained expertise in corporate entrepreneurship through several industry projects with international companies such as Schindler, Deutsche Telekom, Palfinger, Bayer, MAN, LEGO, Fujitsu, Siemens VDO, SAS, Grundfos and Coloplast. He has given keynotes and was scientific advisor for governmental institutions in several countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Finland, UK, Czech Republic.

Research Focus

  • Identification and development of opportunities
  • Entrepreneurship in open and user innovation settings
  • Entrepreneurial risk and uncertainty
  • Corporate Entrepreneurship
  • Business ecosystems and new business models
  • Social Entrepreneurship


  • Hienerth, C.; Lettl, C. 2016. Understanding the Nature and Measurement of the Lead User Construct, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 34 (1): 3-12.
  • Hienerth, C. 2016. Technique Innovation. In: Lakhani, K. and Harhoff, D. (Edts): Revolutionizing Innovation: users, communities and open innovation. MIT Press, Cambridge, 331-352.
  • Hienerth, Christoph; Lettl, Christopher; Keinz, Peter. 2014. Synergies among producer firms, lead users, and user communities: The case of the LEGO producer-user ecosystem. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(4): 864-866.
  • Hienerth, Christoph; von Hippel, Eric; Berg-Jensen, Morten. 2014. User community vs. producer innovation development efficiency: A first empirical study. Research Policy, 43(1): 190-201.
  • Hienerth, Christoph; Koss Hartmann, Rasmus. 2013. Opening innovation in regulation inside government: The contribution of innovative users. AOM Best Paper Proceeding (forthcoming).
  • Hienerth, Christoph; Lettl, Christopher; Berg-Jensen, Morten. 2013. Forecasting the commercial attractiveness of user-generated designs using online data. An empirical study within the LEGO user community. Journal of Product Innovation Management (forthcoming).
  • Keinz, Peter; Hienerth, Christoph; Lettl, Christopher. 2012. Designing the Organization for User-driven Innovation. Journal of Organization Design, 1(3): 20-36.
  • Hienerth, Christoph; Lettl, Christopher. 2011. Exploring How Peer Communities Enable Lead User Innovations to Become Standard Equipment in the Industry: Community Pull Effects. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28(1): 175-195.
  • Hienerth, Christoph ; Keinz, Peter ; Lettl, Christopher. 2011. Exploring the Nature and Implementation Process of User-Centric Business Models. Long Range Planning, 44 (5-6): 344-374.
  • Lettl, Christopher; Hienerth, Christoph; Gemuenden, Hans Georg. 2008. Exploring how lead users develop radical innovation: Opportunity recognition and exploitation in the field of medical equipment technology. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Vol. 55(2): 219-233.
  • Doemoetoer, Rudolf; Franke, Nikolaus; Hienerth, Christoph. 2007. What a Difference a DV makes. The Impact of Conceptualizing the Dependent Variable in Innovation Success Factor Studies. Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft (ZfB) (2): 23-46.
  • Baldwin, Carliss; Hienerth, Christoph; von Hippel, Eric. 2006. How user innovations become commercial products: a theoretical investigation and case study. Research Policy. A Journal Devoted to Research Policy, Research Management and Planning 35 (9): 1291-1313.
  • Hienerth, Christoph; Keßler, Alexander. 2006. Measuring Success in Family Businesses: The Concept of Configurational Fit. Family Business Review 19 (2): 115-134.
  • Franke, Nikolaus; Hienerth, Christoph. 2006. Prädikatoren der Qualität von Geschäftsideen: Eine empirische Analyse eines Online-Ideen-Forums. Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft (ZfB) (4): 47-68.
  • Hienerth, Christoph. 2006. The commercialization of user innovations: the development of the rodeo kayak industry. R&D Management 36 (3): 273-294.