Prof. Dr.

Ann-Kristin Zobel

Associate Professor of Management

Ann-Kristin Zobel is Associate Professor of Management at the University of St.Gallen. She received her B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. from the School of Business and Economics at Maastricht University. Prior to her appointment at the University of St.Gallen, she held a postdoctoral position at the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley and a senior researcher position at ETH Zurich. Ann-Kristin Zobel’s research focuses on how firms strategically manage collaborative forms of innovation.

Since February 2020, Prof. Dr. Ann-Kristin Zobel has been Associate Professor of Management at the University of St.Gallen. She holds a B.Sc. in International Business, an M.Sc. in Business Research, and a Ph.D. titled ‘Open Innovation: A Dynamic Capabilities Perspective’ from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. During her doctoral studies, she held a visiting researcher position at the University of California Berkeley (USA). Upon completing her Ph.D., she took a postdoctoral position from 2013 to 2015 at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley (USA). In 2015 she joined the Group for Sustainability and Technology at the Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich as a senior researcher.

Ann-Kristin Zobel’s research focuses on how firms strategically manage collaborative forms of innovation (e.g. open innovation, innovation ecosystems, meta-organizations). In particular, she investigates how firms search for and absorb knowledge residing outside their boundaries, how they coordinate and govern more complex multi-party collaborations, and how they capture value in a collaborative innovation setting. In these fields, she has published numerous articles in leading academic journals (e.g. Journal of Management Studies, Academy of Management Perspectives, Journal of Product Innovation Management). In her current work, she focuses on the energy sector as an ideal setting for empirically investigating collaborative strategies in a technologically complex and turbulent environment. In a recently acquired project from the National Research Program “Digital Transformation” (NRP 77), she extends her analysis of collaborative strategies to the digital transformation of energy and mobility solutions in the context of smart cities.

Prof. Zobel is a member of the organizing committee of the “World Open Innovation Conference”, a leading innovation conference that combines academic and industry perspectives. Since 2016, she has been co-leading (with a colleague at the Stanford Graduate School of Business) a research project on “Free Electrons”, a consortium of ten international energy utilities and works closely with these industry partners to transfer her scientific findings into practice. She also served as a member of the board and head of the work package “Energy, Innovation & Management” of the SCCER-CREST (Competence Center for Research in Energy, Society and Transition), which works in close cooperation with industry partners and develops strategic and political recommendations for the energy transition in Switzerland.


  • 2013, Ph.D., Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  • 2012, Visiting Ph.D., Haas School of Business, University California Berkeley, USA
  • 2010, M.Sc., Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  • 2008, B.Sc. in International Business, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  • 2008, Visiting Student, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

Work Experience

  • 2013-2015, Postdoctoral researcher, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, USA
  • 2015-2020, Senior researcher, Group for Sustainability and Technology, Department of Management Technology, and Economics, ETH Zurich


  • 2020, NRP 77 ‘Digital Transformation’, Swiss National Science Foundation
  • 2020, Most cited article, Industry and Innovation
  • 2015, Maastricht University Best Dissertation 2013, Maastricht University
  • 2010, Top 3% Students of the Academic Year 2009/2010, Maastricht University
  • Zobel, A-K. & Hagedoorn, J. (2020). Implications of open innovation for organizational boundaries and the governance of contractual relations. Academy of Management Perspectives, in press.
  • Hagedoorn, J., Lokshin, B. & Zobel, A-K. (2018). Partner type diversity in alliance portfolios: multiple dimensions, boundary conditions and firm innovation performance. Journal of Management Studies, 55(5), 809–836.
  • Bogers, M., Zobel, A-K., Afuah, A., Almirall, E., Brunswicker, S., Dahlander, L., Frederiksen, L., Gawer, A., Gruber, M., Haefliger, S., Hagedoorn, J., Hilgers, D., Laursen, K., Magnusson, M.G., Majchrzak, A., McCarthy, I.P., Moeslein, K.M., Nambisan, S., Piller, F.T., Radziwon, A., Rossi-Lamastra, C., Sims, J., and A.L.J. ter Wal (2017). The open innovation research landscape: established perspectives and emerging themes across different levels of analysis. Industry and Innovation, 24(1), 8–40.
  • Zobel, A-K. (2017). Benefiting from open innovation: A multidimensional model of absorptive capacity. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 34(3), 269–288.
  • Video abstract:
  • Zobel, A-K., Lokshin, B., & Hagedoorn, J. (2017). Formal and informal appropriation mechanisms: The role of openness and innovativeness. Technovation, 59, 44–54.
  • Zobel, A-K., Balsmeier, B., & Chesbrough, H. (2016). Does patenting help or hinder open innovation? Evidence from new entrants in the solar industry. Industrial and Corporate Change, 25(2), 307–331.
  • Hagedoorn, J., & Zobel, A-K. (2015). The role of contracts and intellectual property rights in open innovation. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 27(9), 1050–1067.

Lukas Falcke

PhD student, Research Associate