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's leading-edge research focuses on digital and technological platforms, and innovative ecosystems. 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.

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.

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

Annabelle Gawer 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.Platforms as New Economic Models in the Digital Economy, NEMODE (New Economic Models in the Digital Economy) Network+ , an initiative of RCUK. Annabelle also received a 300K ESRC Award "Platforms for Innovation", ESRC (UK Economic and Social Research Council) and AIM (Advanced Institute of Management) in 2007.

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 (2008, 2002), 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's latest article, "Bridging differing persepectives on technological platforms: Toward an integrative framework" was awarded "Best Paper" by the Academy of Management annual conference (2014).

Annabelle's first book, Platform Leadership: How Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco Drive Industry Innovation (Harvard Business School Press, 2002), derived from her PhD thesis and co-authored with MIT Prof. M Cusumano, quickly became a reference in business and academia, and has had since its publication an impact on top-management thinking worldwide. It explains how Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Palm and others have orchestrated ecosystem innovation to support their products - and in the process, established dominant market positions. It coined the concept of "platform leadership", a concept which has since spawned numerous further contributions. A Japanese translation was published in 2005.

Annabelle's second book, Platforms, Markets and Innovation (Edward Elgar, 2009), is a scholarly edited volume, and the first book of its kind dedicated to the growing field of platforms research. It presents leading-edge contributions from 24 top international scholars from 19 universities across Europe, the USA, and Asia, from the disciplines of strategy, economics, innovation, organizations studies, and knowledge management. The novel insights assembled in this volume constitute a fundamental step towards an empirically-based, nuanced understanding of the nature of platforms and the implications they hold for the evolution of industrial innovation. Annabelle organized in June 2008 the First International Conference on Platforms, Markets and Innovation at Imperial College London. Watch a film of the Platforms conference.


Nelson Phillips, Imperial College London, Organization theory, institutional theory, 2006

Michael Cusumano, MIT Sloan School of Management, Platforms research, 1994

Research Student Supervision