Kaveh Abhari, Ph.D.

I’m committed to making digital transformation more humane, digital entrepreneurship more accessible, and digital innovation more equitable.

I am an Associate Professor of Digital Innovation, Zahn Professor of Creativity & Innovation, and Director of Digital Innovation Lab (DiLab) at Fowler College of Business, at San Diego State University. I have an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Communication & Information Sciences, a Ph.D. in Strategic Marketing and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering.



innovation platforms

I study open innovation platforms such as social product development (SPD) communities and social innovation networks. My research focuses on open innovation behavior and its strategic, procedural, and technological drivers. My works have covered the research and design questions such as how open innovation can be modeled, how open innovation behavior can be operationalized, what motivational, risk and experiential factors affect open innovation outcomes, and what roles digital technology play in open innovation.

digital transformation

I research digital transformation planning, implementation, and governance from different perspectives. I am interested in modeling and managing the experiential values of digitalization at the strategic, operational, and individual levels. I also study the transformation of work practices during automation and augmentation of business processes.

learning platforms

I develop new teaching and learning models to support autodidactic learning in knowledge networks. For example, I studied concepts such as connectivity, autonomy, diversity, and openness in social and professional learning networks, and in K-12 and postsecondary contexts, and as a result, I introduced models such as authentic social learning. These models have been successfully implemented and tested through federally-funded research and service projects in Hawaii and in support of Native Hawaiian and diverse learners.

digital entrepreneurship

I investigate digital entrepreneurship. I am interested in practical, innovative, and sustainable approaches to designing entrepreneurship education models, and other support systems that can support marginalized youths and underserved communities. I also study and develop new technologies that can support the development of intelligent entrepreneurial systems.


I am nurturing compassionate digital transformation leaders. I teach core and elective Information Systems courses such as Information Systems Analysis, Business Intelligence, and Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship. I also developed and taught undergraduate and graduate classes in data management, data analytics, and business applications, CRM, and enterprise systems.

my teaching philosophy

First, I believe ‘learning how to learn’ is more important than learning only what is currently known – for example, knowing how to develop analytical skills is more important than knowing a certain tool. Second, in-depth learning is facilitated by maintaining connections between different concepts, ideas, people, and real-world applications. Thus, finding and elaborating on these connections is essential for meaningful learning. Third, knowledge rests in diversity of opinions, cannot be taken for granted, and is acquired in authentic and diverse environments. Fourth, students need experiential learning opportunities beyond classroom boundaries to learn effectively in today’s networked society. And lastly, student engagement in learning is central to today’s education, and teachers’ main responsibility is to help learners effectively choose what, how, where, when, and from whom to learn.

instructional method

Education must produce action, rather than linger in the mind and lead to indecisiveness. I believe meaningful learning happens when students develop skills in exploring, experimenting, evaluating, and addressing real-world problems. As a pragmatist, rather than passing down organized bodies of knowledge to my students, I help them apply their knowledge to real situations through experimental inquiry. I encourage students to use the power of inquiry to expand their understanding, determine consequences and reflect on possible solutions. I also bring academic disciplines together to focus on critical thinking in an interdisciplinary way. To enrich this learning experience, I value students’ critical reflection in my class and I treat the class as a community of inquiry. I promote critical thinking by having students make collective decisions in light of consequences. My firsthand knowledge of inclusive education also helps me in broadening the participation of marginalized students.

lesson plan

My lesson plans are designed to bring contextually relevant cases to the learning experience. Through such applied learning experience and using different software packages, my students gain a deeper understanding as well as practical skills to address real problems, especially local business cases. My lesson plans for both general business and IS technical courses require students to use theories, vocabularies, or models to describe the components within the case, then formulate different technical or analytical solutions to address the problems and finally evaluate and discuss different scenarios in the class. Social responsibility and ethics are inherent in all my lesson plans. My students’ successful job placements based on what they learned in my class demonstrate how well this approach prepares them for promising careers.


I hold high academic standards but help students meet those standards by making expectations clear, acknowledging their efforts, and providing extensive feedback while being accessible to meet for guidance. I minimize the use of conventional tests, quizzes, and exams, as I believe evaluation is for improving the learning process and supporting students not judging them. Unlike traditional evaluation, I embedded evaluations in the hands-on learning activities and give the students multiple chances to improve and resubmit the results of their work. I spend the time needed to help low-performing students satisfy requirements. Student course evaluations illustrate their response to and appreciation of my efforts to make evaluation a learning process.

personal development

My overarching teaching goal is to develop students’ capacities, competencies, and confidence to take responsible action for personal and professional success. I pay attention to my students’ individual development by understanding their goals, diverse backgrounds, unique situations, and competencies. I invest time to reach students who lack interest or self-confidence as well as those who come to class eager to learn. As a result, my students view me as a mentor who they can trust and share their dreams and difficulties with. This healthy rapport with students has led to open communication and lasting relationships.

publications & presentations

recent refereed publications

Abhari, K., Zarei, M., Parsons, M., & Estell, P. (accepted). Open Innovation Starts from Home: The Potential of Enterprise Social Media (ESM) in Nurturing Employee Innovation. Internet Research. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-08-2021-0556

Abhari, K., Davidson, E. J., & Xiao, B. (2022). Inventing Together: The Role of Actor Goals and Platform Affordances in Open Innovation. Journal of the Association of Information Systemshttps://doi.org/10.17705/1jais.00716 *

Abhari, K., & McGuckin, S. (2022). Limiting factors of open innovation organizations: A case of social product development and research agenda. Technovation, 102526. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.technovation.2022.102526

Abhari, K., & Vaghefi, I. (2022). Screen Time and Productivity: An Extension of Goal-Setting Theory to Explain Optimum Smartphone Use. AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction. *

Abhari, K., Pesavento, M., & Williams, D. (2022). Supporting participatory innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic: a comparative study of enterprise social media use. Information Technology and Peopleahead-of-printhttps://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-01-2021-0041

Abhari, K., Davidson, E., & Xiao, B. (2022). Modeling Social Product Development Process, Technology, and Governance. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Managementhttps://doi.org/10.1109/TEM.2020.2973234 *

Mucha, T. M., Ma, S., & Abhari, K. (2022). Beyond MLOps: The Lifecycle of Machine Learning-based Solutionshttps://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2022/sig_adit/sig_adit/9 *

Abhari, K., Davis, D., Ness, H., Pagador, J., Parsons, M., & Brodskiy, R. (2022). Data Swagger: A Systemic Approach to Train, Motivate and Engage Data Savvy Employeeshttps://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2022.742

Dagoc, F., Abhari, K., Roy, V., & Nobis, E. (2022). Entrepreneurship Education Platform Design: The Relationships between Autodidactic Affordances and Experiential Learning Needs1, 17. https://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2022.003

Roy, V., Nobis, E., Abhari, K., Dagoc, F., & Parsons, M. (2022). Open Innovation Platform Design: The Case of Social Product Developmenthttps://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2022.059

Klase, M., Connors, O., & Abhari, K. (2022). Reflectiveness: The Missing Link between Digital Mindfulness and Mindful Use of Digital Technologyhttps://aisel.aisnet.org/treos_icis2021/19

Mucha, T. M., Ma, S., & Abhari, K. (2022). Sustainability of Machine Learning-based Solutions: A Lifecycle Perspectivehttps://aisel.aisnet.org/pacis2022/262 *

Su, N., Mcguckin, S., & Abhari, K. (2022). The Limits of Open Innovation: A Literature Review and Research Agendahttps://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2022.686


Abhari, K., Ly, J., Sanavi, A., & Wright, M. (2021). ‘Employees First’: The Relationship between Employee Experience Management Systems and Customer Experience Management.https://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2021/strategic_is/strategic_is/18

Estell, P., Davidson, E., & Abhari, K. (2021). Affording Employee Voice: How Enterprise Social Networking Sites (ESNS) Create New Pathways for Employee Expression. 2750. https://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2021.336

Rice, R., Abhari, K., & Pesavento, M. (2021). An Authentic Social Learning Model to Improve Collaboration and Engagement in Online and Hybrid K-12 Classroomshttps://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2021/is_education/sig_education/9

Abhari, K., Ostroff, C., Barcellos, B., & Williams, D. (2021). Co-Governance in Digital Transformation Initiatives: The Roles of Digital Culture and Employee Experiencehttps://doi.org/10.24251/hicss.2021.704

Abhari, K., Ascue, N., Boer, C., Sahoo, C., & Zarei, M. (2021). Enterprise Social Network Applications: Enhancing and Driving Innovation Culture and Productivity Through Digital Technologieshttps://doi.org/10.24251/hicss.2021.089

Sosa, L., Abhari, K., Pesavento, M., Koobchehr, F., Xiao, B., Kohsuwan, P., & Olivares, F. (2021). Service Failure Recovery in the Sharing Economy: A Case Study of Airbnbhttps://doi.org/10.24251/hicss.2021.099


Abhari, K., Ascue, N., Boer, C., Sahoo, C., & Zarei, M. (2020). Enterprise Social Networks and Innovation Productivity : The Role of Innovation Culture. AMCIShttps://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2020/strategic_uses_it/strategic_uses_it/26

Abhari, K., Vomero, A., & Davidson, E. J. (2020). Psychology of Business Intelligence Tools: Needs-Affordances-Features Perspectivehttps://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2020.602

Abhari, K., Koobchehr, F., Huxford, C., Olivares, F., Kohsuwan, P., & Sosa, L. (2020). Redefining Education in the Digital Economy : The Role of Social Innovation- based Learning in Information Systems Education. AMCIS 2020 Proceedings, 1–10. https://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2020/is_education/is_education/26

Young, R., Wahlberg, L., Davis, E., & Abhari, K. (2020). Towards a Theory of Digital Entrepreneurship Mindset : The Role of Digital Learning Aptitude and Digital Literacy. 1–10. https://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2020/culture_in_is/culture_in_is/7


Abhari, K., Davidson, E. J., & Xiao, B. (2019). Collaborative innovation in the sharing economy: Profiling social product development actors through classification modeling. Internet Research29(5), 1014–1039. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-03-2018-0129

Abhari, K., Davidson, E., & Xiao, B. S. (2019). “Experience First”: Investigating Co-creation Experience in Social Product Development Networks. AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction11(1), 1–32. https://doi.org/10.17705/1thci.00111

Abhari, M., & Abhari, K. (2019). Design with Perfect Sense: The Adoption of Smart Sensor Technologies in Architectural Practicehttps://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2019.716

Kelly, J., Jennex, M., Abhari, K., Durcikova, A., & Frost, E. (2019). Data in the Wild: A KM Approach to doing a Census Without Asking Anyone and the Issue of Privacy.

Abhari, K., Davidson, E., & Xiao, B. (2018). A risk worth taking? The effects of risk and prior experience on co-innovation participation. Internet Research28(3). https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-05-2017-0196

Abhari, K., Davidson, E. J., & Xiao, B. (2018). Classifying Motivations in Social Product Development Networks: A Discriminant Analysis of Actor Profileshttps://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2018.067

Abhari, K., Haron, M. S., & Saad, N. M. (2018). In Search of Customer Experience Management in the Service Industry: The Importance of Experiential Interfaces. ICEMAB 2018.. https://doi.org/10.4108/eai.8-10-2018.2288656

Abhari, K. (2017). A Connectivist Approach to Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners: The Role of Social Technologies. Teaching, Colleges & Community Worldwide Conferencehttps://www.academia.edu/download/53073008/Connectivism_TCCHawaii_2017.pdf

Abhari, K., Davidson, E. J., & Xiao, B. (2017). Co-innovation Experience in Social Product Development Networks: Construct Development and Measurement Validationhttps://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2017/Openness/Presentations/2

Smidt, H., Thornton, M., & Abhari, K. (2017). The Future of Social Learning: A Novel Approach to Connectivism. The 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Scienceshttps://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2017.256

Abhari, K., Davidson, E. J., & Xiao, B. (2017). Perceived Individual Risk of Co-innovation in Collaborative Innovation Networks. 873–882. https://doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2017.103

recent talks

Seitola, T. A., & Abhari, K. (2022). Digital Entrepreneurial Mindset: How to Nurture the Next Generation of Digital Entrepreneurs. AMCIS. https://aisel.aisnet.org/treos_amcis2022/95

Quiba, R. C., Rubin, D., Tan, J. M., & Abhari, K. (2022). Experiential Approach to Social Platform Design: A Case of Social Travel Application. AMCIS. https://aisel.aisnet.org/treos_amcis2022/96

Klair, J., & Abhari, K. (2022). Organizational Mindfulness in the Digital Economy and Its Impact on Productivity. AMCIS. https://aisel.aisnet.org/treos_amcis2022/97

Carroll, C., Bernal, J., Bhullar, A., & Abhari, K. (2022). The Future of Employee Experience Management (EXM) Platforms. AMCIS. https://aisel.aisnet.org/treos_amcis2022/98

Andrade, L., Tran, V., & Abhari, K. (2021). Digital Innovation Potency in SMEs: A Study of Barriers to Employee Participation in Digital Innovation. ICIS. https://aisel.aisnet.org/treos_icis2021/19

Klase, M., Connors, O., & Abhari, K. (2021). Reflectiveness in Digital Environments: The Missing Link between Digital Mindfulness and Productivity. ICIS. https://aisel.aisnet.org/treos_icis2021/21

Roy, V., Nobis, E., Abhari, K., & Dagoc, F. (2021). Open Innovation Platform Design: From User Experience to User Interface Design. AMCIS 2021.

Dagoc, F., Abhari, K., Roy, V., & Nobis, E. (2021). How to Design Entrepreneurship Education Platforms: A User Experience Study. AMCIS 2021.

Su, N., & Abhari, K. (2021). The Limits of Open Innovation: A Case Study of a Social Product Development Platform. AMCIS 2021.

Sandoval., I. O., & Abhari., K. (2021). Profiling Digital Entrepreneurs. AMCIS 2021.

Klase, M., & Connors, O., & Abhari., K. (2021). Digital Mindfulness: The Role of Reflection. AMCIS 2021.

Koobchehr, F., Olivares, F., Abhari, K., Pesavento, M., & Sosa L. (2020). Use Smart, Not Less: Toward a Theory of Self-Monitoring in the Digital Age. ICIS 2020.

Abhari, K. & Bekeris, Z. (2020). Employee Experience Management during Digital Transformation: How to Measure the Experiential Values of Digital Transformation. ICIS 2020.

Abhari, K., Pesavento, M., Williams, D., & Bram, A. (2020). Adapt or Perish: Enterprise Social Networks and Innovation during Covid-19 Pandemic. ICIS 2020.

Pagador, J., Huynh, N., Davis, D., & Abhari, K. (2020). Data Swagger: Cultivating Data Literacy to Drive Digital Transformation. ICIS 2020.

Cabrera, C., Cardenas, M., Hardrick, L. L., & Abhari, K. (2020). Self-service Analytics Adoption: A Sociocultural Framework. ICIS 2020.

Adzgauskaite, M., & Abhari, K. (2020). Virtual Reality Applications and Experiential Learning Needs : The Needs-Affordances- Features Perspective. AMCIS 2020.

Abhari, K., & Solomon, Z. (2020). Reciprocal Relationship between Employee Experience Management and Digital Transformation. In AMCIS 2020.

Ostroff, C., Barcellos, B., & Abhari, K. (2020). Digital Culture , neither Strategy nor Technology , Drives Digital Transformation. AMCIS 2020.

Abhari, K. (2020). Digital Transformation and Experiential Values of Work. Interdisciplinary Conference on Advances in Communication and Information Sciences. HICSS 2020. Honolulu. 

Abhari, K. (2020). Authentic Social Learning in Time of Crisis. San Diego State University, San Diego.

Abhari, K., (2020). Panel: Digital Entrepreneurship. California Entrepreneurship Education Conference.Use Smart, Not Less: Toward a Theory of Self-Monitoring in the Digital Age. ICIS 2020.

Ostroff, C., Barcellos, B., & Abhari, K. (2020). Digital Culture , neither Strategy nor Technology , Drives Digital Transformation. AMCIS 2020.

Abhari, K., & Solomon, Z. (2020). Reciprocal Relationship between Employee Experience Management and Digital Transformation. AMCIS 2020.

Abhari, K., Sue, S. & Furutani, D. (2020). Symposium: Secrets to Priming Entrepreneurship Platforms for Deep Learning & AI Research. The 52nd Hawaii International Conferences on System Sciences, Maui.


Digital Innovation Lab (DiLab) is a leading research group at SDSU focused on recent development in digital innovation and transformation at the intersection of digital technology, business strategy and organizational psychology. The lab also offers undergraduate and graduate research experience, professional development training, student mentorship, digital consultancy, and community services to local startups. For more information visit: https://innovation.sdsu.edu

Alephnet is a data science as a service (DSaaS) ecosystem. Data science and AI help organizations extract value from a world of data regardless of source and format. Empowered companies accelerate value creation, digitization, scaling both quality and volume to outperform competitors while future-proofing the business. For more information visit: https://www.alephnet.ai/

STEMD2 R&D Group provides educational services. We innovate, test, and disseminate research-based practices to support STEM education in diverse populations. STEMD2 service portfolio includes the design, implementation, and evaluation of inclusive pedagogies, curricula, teacher professional development events, and learning platforms. For more information visit: http://stemd2.org

Bizgenics Foundation provides entrepreneurship programs with an emphasis on inspiring the disadvantaged, at-risk, and under-served. Bizgenics educational programs are focused on promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and business literacy to empower the disenfranchised youth to achieve positive legacy through business. For more information visit: https://bizgenics.org/

Kanalytix is a human intelligence institute that provides consulting services in the area of employee experience management. Kanalytix assists its clients with identifying their employees’ needs, evaluating their experience and performance, and constructing data-driven employee support systems. Kanalytix service portfolio includes the design, deployment, and maintenance of human intelligence solutions, open innovation platforms, and employee experience management systems. For more information visit: http://kanalytix.com/