Imperial College London

Prof. Annabelle Gawer

Business School

Casual - Visiting lect, guest spkr, ext. examiner



a.gawer Website




277Business School BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Annabelle Gawer is Professor of Digital Economy. From 2004 to 2015, she was a full-time faculty member of Imperial College, first as a Lecturer (2004-2007), then an Assistant Professor (2007-2013), and then Associate Professor (2013-2015) in Strategy and Innovation at Imperial College Business School.

Since January 2016, Annabelle Gawer has joined the University of Surrey as Professor of Digital Economy, and is co-Director of the Surrey Centre for the Digital Economy (CoDE).

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.

News: Annabelle's latest paper, "Bridging Differing Perspectives on Technological Platforms: Toward an Integrative Framework", published in Research Policy, was downloaded over 5000 times since Aug 2014, was selected as one of the Best Papers 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.

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'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).

Annabelle has consulted, given masterclasses, and acted 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.

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.

Annabelle also diirects and teaches in customized Executive Education programs in Innovation Management, and Entrepreneurship and Growth. Watch here a short movie showcasing one of Annabelle's Exec Ed programs specially designed for British Telecom, to help BT employees become more innovative and entrepreneurial.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Gawer A, Phillips N, 2013, Institutional Work as Logics Shift: The case of Intel's Transformation to Platform Leader, Organization Studies, Vol:34, ISSN:0170-8406, Pages:1035-1071


Gawer A, 2009, Platforms, Markets and Innovation, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, US, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, ISBN:978-1-84844-789-9


Gawer A, 2010, Platforms, Markets and Innovation: An Introduction, Platforms, Markets and Innovation, Editor(s): Gawer, Edward Elgar Publishing, Pages:1-16, ISBN:9781848440708

More Publications