Tamara Carleton, Ph.D.


STamara Carleton, Ph.D., is CEO and founder of Innovation Leadership Board LLC, a global leader in the design of tools and processes that enable radical innovation. Clients have included Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, Samsung, SAP, Tekes, and Volvo Construction Equipment. She oversees the Sugar Network, a global innovation network of academic institutions collaborating with companies to solve challenging, real-world problems.

Carleton has served as an Innovation Fellow with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, as a Fellow with the Foundation for Enterprise Development, and also as a Fellow for the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium.

In addition, Carleton teaches organizational innovation and foresight strategy in Stanford University’s School of Engineering executive education program. Drawing on her business experience, Carleton’s research agenda focuses on industry innovation, particularly issues related to technical visionary leadership, innovation culture, regional innovation, and foresight strategy. This work builds on her pioneering study of the innovation practices of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

A former management consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP, Carleton specialized in emerging solutions in enterprise applications, customer experience, and marketing strategy. At Deloitte, she developed two proprietary methodologies, the Customer Experience Audit and Persona Design, which were incorporated into client service offerings.

A multidisciplinary scholar, Carleton holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, a masters of science in public relations from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree in communication from The George Washington University. She has been published in a variety of technical journals, as well as the general business press. She is frequently invited to discuss her work and research in the United States and abroad. Follow her on Twitter at @carleton. 


Books and journals

Book chapters

  • Carleton, T., Cockayne, W., Larsson, A., and Küppers, B. 2016 (forthcoming). "Why Radical Innovation Needs Visionary Leadership." In Wolfgang Amann and Katja Kruckeberg and (Eds.), Advanced Leadership. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Peer-reviewed and invited papers

Essays and reports

  • Carleton, T. 2014. The future of American successBusiness Horizon Quarterly magazine, issue #10U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. 
  • Carleton, T. 2014. Reinventing cities: Taking an abundance mindset to expand regional vision and impact. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report.
  • Carleton, T. 2014. Embracing the abundance mindsetBusiness Horizon Quarterly magazine, issue #7U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. 
  • Carleton, T., Cockayne, W., & Larsson, A. 2013. Big thinking in innovationInternational Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) online magazine, issue 3/2013.
  • Carleton, T. 2013. A measure of abundance. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report.
  • Carleton, T. 2012. “A future for American abundance.” Business Horizon Quarterly magazine, fall issue. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
  • Carleton, T. 2012. “Three lessons of ownership.” Employee Ownership Report, 32(6): 1, 8.
  • Carleton, T., Larsson, A., & Bill, S. 2011. MOVE Workshop Facilitation Handbook. Sponsored by the Institute for Management of Innovation and Technology (IMIT) and the Product Innovation Engineering Program (PIEp), Sweden.
  • Carleton, T. 2009. "The Bay Area's Role in Global Innovation Networks" research report. Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium.

Case studies


Select speaking engagements

Select media coverage