Tamara Carleton, Ph.D.



Tamara Carleton, Ph.D., is chief executive and founder of Innovation Leadership Board LLC, a global leader in the design of tools and processes that enable radical innovation. Client organizations have included Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, Samsung, SAP, Tekes, and Volvo.

Most recently, Carleton served as a Forum for Innovation Fellow at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, exploring how emerging technologies and resources have created an unprecedented state of abundance for individual wellbeing and job creation. Previously, she was a Fellow with the Foundation for Enterprise Development and also 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.

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.


Select books

Carleton, T., Cockayne, W., and Tahvanainen, A. (2013). Playbook for Strategic Foresight and Innovation. Sponsored by Tekes (the Finnish funding agency for technology and innovation) and Lappeenranta University of Technology.

MacGregor, S. P., and Carleton, T. (2012). Sustaining Innovation: Collaboration Models for a Complex World. Innovation, Technology, and Knowledge Management Series. Springer.

Select essays and reports

Carleton, T. (2014). "The Future of American Success." Business 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 Mindset." Business Horizon Quarterly magazine, issue #7U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. 

MacGregor, S. P. and Carleton, T. (2013). "Designing Inspiring Futures: Six Lessons of Sustainable Innovation." The European Business Review.

Carleton, T. (2013). "Big thinking in innovation." ISPIM 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., and 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., and Leifer, L. (2009). “Stanford’s ME310 course as an evolution of engineering design.” Proceedings of CIRP Design Conference 2009. Cranfield, UK.

Carleton, T. (2009). The Bay Area's Role in Global Innovation Networks research report. Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium.

Carleton, T. and Cockayne, W. (2009). "The power of prototypes in foresight engineering." Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED’09). Stanford, Calif.

Select case studies

Carleton, T. (2011). Using Ownership Incentives in China  (case study and teaching note). Innovation Leadership Board LLC.

Carleton, T. (2009). Product innovation strategy at Scout Electromedia (case study). Stanford University, School of Engineering.

Select talks

Industrial Research Institute Member Summit keynote, October 2014, Denver, CO, USA 

CLEEN annual seminar keynote, June 2013, Helsinki, Finland

America's Small Business Summit panel moderator, April 2013, Washington, D.C., USA

The Strategic Execution Conference speaker, April 2013, Silicon Valley, California, USA

U.S Chamber of Commerce Business Horizon series panelist, March 2013, Orlando, Florida, USA

Innovation in Mind conference speaker, November 2010, Lund, Sweden

Select media coverage

Chandler McDonald, Kim. (2013). !nnovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World. Kogan Page UK.

Institute of Public Planning. (2011, June 18). "Interview with Tamara Carleton." Innovation Trends (newsletter). Moscow, Russia.