Michael Schrage

Author of "The Innovator's Hypothesis"
MIT Sloan School Initiative on the Digital Economy

A research fellow with MIT Sloan School's Initiative on the Digital Economy, Michael Schrage’s research, writing and advisory work focuses on the ‘behavioral economics’ of models, prototypes and metrics as strategic resources for managing ‘innovation risk’ and opportunity. He is author of award-winning ’The Innovator’s Hypothesis’ [MIT Press 2014],  ‘Who Do You Want Your Customers To Become?’ [Harvard Business Review Press 2012] and  ‘Serious Play’ [Harvard Business Review Press 2000].  His most recent MIT Press book, ‘Recommendation Engines,’ was published Fall 2020 as part of its ‘Essential Knowledge’ series. He runs design workshops and executive education programs on innovation, experimentation and ’strategic measurement' for global organizations.

Currently pioneering work in ‘selvesware’ technologies - he coined the word - Schrage’s design research looks to augment aspects, attributes and talents of productive individuals. Ongoing research efforts also examine the interplay of ’network effects’-driven innovation, such as recommender systems, and human capital creation for the enterprise. His work exploring the future of KPIs, digital ‘performance management’ dashboards and machine learning - in collaboration with Google, McKinsey, Deloitte and the Sloan Management Review – builds on that theme, i.e. what happens when 'essential metrics' become ’software agents.' He is particularly interested in the future co-evolution of ‘expertise,’ ‘advice' and human ‘agency’ as technologies become ‘smarter’ than the people using them.

Consulting and innovation/experimentation/KPI clients have included Prudential, Pfizer, Microsoft, PwC, P&G, UBS, BASF, SNCF, ZF, Amazon, Mars, Google, Raytheon, Edmunds, among others.  He’s conducted non-classified research for the U.S. Department of Defense [Office of Net Assessment] and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on cyber-conflict, complex systems procurement and ‘other’ issues.  

Previously, a Merrill Lynch Forum Innovation Fellow, he founded and was executive director of its Merrill Lynch Innovation Grants Competition for doctoral students worldwide. An angel investor in several digital media and machine learning start-ups - including two ‘unicorns’ -  he’s been a featured and top trafficked blogger on the Harvard Business Review site. His work has been published in the Sloan Management Review, Fortune magazine (where he was a columnist), the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Nikkei Asian Review, the CACM as well as other peer-reviewed publications.