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Associate Professor in Strategy and Innovation, Imperial College London

Annabelle Gawer is Associate Professor in Strategy and Innovation at Imperial College Business School.

An award-winning researcher and educator, Annabelle Gawer is an expert on digital platforms such as Google or Facebook, and innovative business ecosystems. Annabelle's research on platforms has been featured in The Economist and The Wall Street Journal.

Watch a short film in which Annabelle Gawer talks about her research on platforms:

Digital platforms such as Google, Facebook or the iPhone are changing how innovation happens in our global, connected, fast-paced economy. They have become central to constellations of innovators called innovation ecosystems. Platforms have fostered distributed, collective innovation, redesigned our industrial landscapes, upset the balance of power between firms, and raised new questions on competition and innovation. Platforms offer unprecedented opportunities and new challenges to business managers, scholars and regulators, and citizens-innovators worldwide.

Annabelle consults, gives masterclasses, directs custom Executive Education programmes, and acts as a strategy coach for top management in major corporations in the US and Europe such as IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, Symbian, BT, AT&T, Vodafone, Telefonica, Unilever, SAP, DaimlerChrysler, Ingenico, Gemalto, ARUP, etc. as well as to digital start-ups. Drawing on her training, professional experience, research, and consulting, Annabelle has gained in-depth knowledge of the following industries and sectors: digital media, internet-based businesses, telecoms equipment and services, mobile payment, digital security, enterprise software, consumer electronics, and semiconductors. She is a frequent keynote speaker at international academic conferences and high-tech industry events, and is a member of the Steering Committee for the Future of e -Skills in Europe, for the European Commission.

News: Annabelle's latest paper, "Bridging Differing Perspectives on Technological Platforms: Toward an Integrative Framework", was awarded Best Paper at the Academy of Management (2014) Annual Meeting.

Annabelle was awarded a PhD from MIT in Management of Technological Innovation in 2000, an MSc from Stanford Industrial Engineering in 1992, an MSc in Applied Maths, and a French civil engineering degree from Ecole des Mines, and has 4 years of industry experience in military mobile telecom network design and manufacturing. She has published her research in top international economics journals as well as top international organization studies journals.

A pioneer of international stature in the field of platforms, Annabelle is a leading voice in advancing research (Google Scholar Profile can be found here), as well as managerial practice and European policy. Annabelle's seminal research on platform leadership and innovation ecosystems has led to clearer understanding of some of the fundamental economic and innovation forces shaping the dynamics of platform-based high-tech industries such as telecoms, internet, electronics or digital media. She offers insights on the strategic management of platforms and the governance of their innovation ecosystems by exploring systematically the interaction between economic forces, micro- and macro- organizational forces, and technological design.

She was awarded in 2013 a prestigious UK EPSRC grant for a pilot study whose aim is to shape the UK research agenda on Platforms as New Economic Models in the Digital Economy.

Annabelle's highly cited research creates insights from the creative and rigorous cross-fertilization of the academic disciplines in which she was trained (economics, engineering, organization theory), applied to the important question of the organization of collective, platform-based innovation in the presence of competition. Annabelle's research is both empirical (using qualitative data as well as mathematical modelling, as appropriate) and conceptual (theory-building). In addition to her two landmark books, Platform Leadership, and Platforms, Markets and Innovation, Annabelle's research has been published in top international journals such as Research Policy (2014), Organization Studies (2013), the Journal of Product Innovation Management (2013), the MIT Sloan Management Review (2002, 2008), the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy (2007), the European Management Review (2009), Research in the Sociology of Organizations (2010), etc. Articles written for a managerial or a regulatory readership were also published in English, Japanese, and Chinese, for example in the Wall Street Journal (2009), the European Business Review (2011), Communications and Strategies (2012), the Hitotsubashi Business Review (2004), and the Beijing Business Review (2011). In addition, she is the author of reference book chapters on platforms and ecosystem innovation in the Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management (2014), and the Elsevier Encyclopedia for Social and Behavioral Sciences (2014).

At Imperial College Business School, Annabelle teaches digital platforms, high-tech strategy, and strategic management to executives and MBAs, and reliably receives top lecturer evaluations. She is the course leader of the new Competing in the Global Marketplace course in the newly revamped flagship Full-Time MBA program.


  • 2014–present
    Associate Professor of Strategy and Innovation, Imperial College London
  • 2004–2014
    Assistant Professor of Strategy and Innovation, Imperial College London
  • 2000–2004
    Assistant Professor of Strategy, INSEAD


  • 2000 
    MIT Sloan School of Management, PhD Management of Technological Innovation
  • 1992 
    Stanford University, MSc Industrial Engineering & Engineering Management
  • 1991 
    Université de Paris 6, Maîtrise de Mathématiques Appliquées
  • 1991 
    Ecole des Mines, France, Diplôme d'Ingénieur Civil des Mines


  • 2014
    Industry Platforms and Ecosystem Innovation, Journal of Product Innovation Management
  • 2014
    Bridging Differing Perspectives on Technological Platforms, Research Policy
  • 2013
    Institutional Work as Logics Shift: The Case of Intel's Transformation to Platform Leader, Organization Studies
  • 2012
    Competition in the Cloud: Unleashing Investment and Innovation Within and Across Platforms, Communications & Strategies
  • 2011
    What Managers Need to Know About Platforms, European Business Review
  • 2009
    Platforms, Markets and Innovation, Edward Elgar
  • 2002
    Platform Leadership: How Intel, Microsoft and Cisco Drive Industry Innovation, Harvard Business School Press
  • 2002
    The Elements of Platform Leadership, MIT Sloan Management Review

Grants and Contracts

  • 2013
    Platforms as New Economic Models in the Digital Economy
    Principal Investigator
    Funding Source:


Best Paper Award, Academy of Management 2014