Annabelle Gawer

Keynote 2.1

The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power

The Digital Economy is changing how we work, how we compete, how we organise, and how we innovate. The most powerful firms in the world now are all operating along a new organising principle: that of the digital platform. Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, are the most capitalised and powerful companies, and are all “Platform Enterprises”.

In her talk, Prof Gawer, Professor in Digital Economy at the University of Surrey (UK) and Director of CoDE, the Surrey Centre for the Digital Economy, will explain: What are Digital Platforms and how do they create value? Who captures value in the business of platforms, and how? How can entrepreneurs and managers create winning platform businesses? How can non-digital-native incumbent survive and thrive when competing with digital platforms? What are the limits of the platform model? Is dominance abuse unavoidable in the world of digital platforms? Can Europe catch up and create successful platforms, in a global digital economy dominated by US and Chinese platforms? She will share exclusive content from her upcoming book: “The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power” coauthored with MIT Prof Michael Cusumano and Harvard Business School Prof David Yoffie.

Annabelle Gawer
Professor and Chair in Digital Economy, University of Surrey
Director of CoDE, the Centre for Digital Economy
Head Department of Digital Economy, Surrey Business School

An award-winning researcher, author and educator, Professor Annabelle Gawer is an expert on digital platforms such as Google and Facebook, and on platform-based innovative business ecosystems.

Highly-cited author of two books (Platform Leadership, and Platform, Markets and Innovation), co-editor of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Platforms, and author of 20 articles in top international journals, Prof. Gawer's seminal research on platform leadership and innovation ecosystems explains how innovation and competition interact to shape platform-based markets and the digital economy. Annabelle’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The London Times, The Financial Times (here and here), The Economist (here and here) and The Wall Street Journal. A pioneer of international stature in the field of digital platforms, Annabelle is a leading voice in advancing research (Google Scholar indicates over 6000 citations as of August 2018), as well as managerial practice and European policy. Prof Gawer advises the European Commission (and was nominated in September 2018 as a member of the European Commission Observatory for the Online Platform Economy), the UK Parliament House of Lords, and the OECD on issues related to the future of ICT research directions in Europe and on the question of regulation of online platforms. Prof Gawer’s books and articles have been translated into Chinese and Japanese.

Annabelle's seminal research offers insights on the strategic management of digital platforms and the governance of their innovation ecosystems by exploring systematically the interaction between economic forces, organizational dynamics, and technological design. She has published her research in top international economics journals as well as top international organization studies journals. Her recent publications include “Towards a Theory of Ecosystems” in the Strategic Management Journal, and “Disruption in Platform-Based Ecosystems” in the Journal of Management Studies, as well as a Research Policy 2014 article, downloaded over 17,000 times and cited almost 400 times since its publication, and a global survey of platform companies (Jan 2016).

Her next book «The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power » (HarperBusiness) coauthored with MIT Prof Michael Cusumano and Harvard Business School Prof David Yoffie will be published in May 2019.

Prof Gawer is regularly invited to address international audiences as a keynote speaker in both business conferences and academic conferences, such as for example for the R&D Management Conference (Milan, 2018), the Alpbach European Forum (Austria, 2018), the Oxford Internet Institute Annual Conference (keynote, "The Platform Society"), the European Policy EuroCPR Annual Conference “New Intermediaries in the Hyper-Connected Society” (Brussels, 2015), the Academy of Management Annual Conferences (2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, etc), the “Future Payment” Conference (London, UK, 2014), the Strategic Management Society Start-up Conference (Berlin, 2016, and Tel Aviv, 2014), the GSMA “Connected Europe” Annual Conference (Brussels, 2013 & 2012), the Annual European Conference on the Management of Technology (Finland, 2012), the NFC World Congress (Sophia-Antipolis, France, 2012), the European Commission’s Digital Agenda Assembly (Brussels, 2011), “Shanghai Expo” World Expo (Shanghai, China, 2010), the Technology Policy and Strategy Conference (Japan, 2007), etc.

She was the Co-Chair of the first Academy of Management Specialized Conference on Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy, to held at the University of Surrey in April 2018, with 400 participants from 37 countries.

Having taught to hundreds of executive participants and MBA students, at MIT (1994-2000, 2016), INSEAD (2000-2004, 2018), Imperial College (2004-2018), and the University of Surrey (since January 2016), Annabelle has great experience in teaching strategy, high-tech strategy, digital platforms strategy, economics, and innovation, and reliably receives top lecturer evaluations. She has designed and directed Executive Education programmes in innovation management, business strategy, digital strategy at INSEAD, Imperial College Business School, and Surrey Business School.

Annabelle also consults as a strategy coach for top management in major international corporations in the US and Europe. Examples of such engagements include Huawei (China), IBM (UK), Microsoft (USA), Nokia (Finland), Symbian (UK), BT (UK), AT&T (USA), BASF (Germany), Philips (Netherlands), Vodafone (UK), Telefonica (Spain), Unilever (UK), SAP (Germany), DaimlerChrysler, Ingenico (France), Gemalto (France), ARUP (UK), Atkins (UK), Mace (UK), EdF (UK), etc,. as well as to digital start-ups and for all kinds of internet businesses requiring platform business models and the development of innovative ecosystems.

Annabelle, a French citizen, studied in France and in the USA. An Ingénieur Civil des Mines, she also earned an MSc in Applied Mathematics (Univ. Paris 6), an MSc in Industrial Engineering from Stanford, and a PhD from the MIT Sloan School of Management in Management of Technological Innovation. She worked in France as an engineer in military telecom networks for 3 years at THALES (formerly Thomson-CSF) after graduating from Stanford and until she embarked on her PhD at MIT. She is married to David, and they have 3 children.