Marco Iansiti

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Marco Iansiti
Alma materHarvard College
EmployerHarvard Business School
TitleDavid Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration
Board member ofKeystone Strategy, Inc.; iMatchative; PDF Solutions

Marco Iansiti is a professor at the Harvard Business School, whose primary research interest is technology and operations strategy and the management of innovation.[1] He is the David Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration, heads the Technology and Operations Management Unit, and chairs the Digital Initiative. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Keystone Strategy,[2] a consultancy focused on strategy, data sciences and economics for technology clients.


Iansiti graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1983, with an A.B. in Physics.[3] He subsequently went on to perform his Ph.D. in Physics at Harvard University Iansiti's Ph.D. thesis focused on experimental low temperature electronics and semiconductor microfabrication techniques.[4] He won the Robbins Physics Prize in 1986, and was awarded his Ph.D. in September 1988. He was awarded an IBM post-doctoral fellowship for 1988–1989, and performed research on the design and fabrication of next-generation microelectronic devices at Harvard University.[5]


Iansiti's academic research at the Harvard Business School has focused on technological innovation, product development, entrepreneurship, and operations-specifically the drivers of productivity, flexibility, and adaptation in organizations.[6] He is the author or coauthor of more than 50 articles, papers, book chapters, cases, and notes. Iansiti has also taught a variety of Executive Education and MBA courses on innovation, entrepreneurship, and operations, and is the creator of two Harvard Business School courses: "Managing Product Development" and "Starting New Ventures" (with Harvard Business School Professor Myra Hart).

Iansiti has performed consultant and advisory roles focusing on strategy and innovation for a variety of Fortune 500 companies. He has also testified as an expert witness before the European Commission and United States Department of Justice regarding antitrust and intellectual property issues in the high-tech industry.[7]

Development of the field of Ecosystem Strategy[edit]

Iansiti helped develop the field of Ecosystem Strategy, which focuses on the creation of firm-level strategies that are intimately connected to the surrounding business ecosystem.[8] Iansiti built upon the previous work of James F. Moore,[9] the founder of the field of Ecosystem Strategy, and is considered the current thought leader in the field. Iansiti examined firms such as Microsoft Corporation and Walmart, and found that the success of these firms depended heavily on the sustained health of complex networks of customers, suppliers, and competitors:

Many industries today behave like a massively interconnected network of organizations, technologies, consumers and products. Perhaps the most dramatic and widely known example is the computing industry. In contrast with the vertically integrated environment of the 1960s and 1970s, today's industry is divided into a large number of segments producing specialized products, technologies and services. The degree of interaction between firms in the industry is truly astounding, with hundreds of organizations frequently involved in the design, production, distribution, or implementation of even a single product. And because of this increasingly distributed industry structure, the focus of competition is shifting away from the management of internal resources, to the management and influence of assets that are outside the direct ownership and control of the firm.[10]

Iansiti went on to define the roles required for a business ecosystem to be considered healthy, including Keystones that provide a foundation for connecting and supporting other organizations within the ecosystem. This field of strategy provides insights for industries in which interdependencies and engagement with customers and suppliers are critical.

Contribution to Understanding the role of Information Technology in Modern Businesses[edit]

Iansiti has made a significant contribution to the field of Information Technology (IT) strategy, developing a framework for the assessment of capabilities created through firm-level investment in IT.[11] Iansiti's work in this area built upon research by others that had explored the link between IT investment and enterprise growth,[12] breaking enterprise growth into the capabilities IT enables and examining the impact of these individual capabilities on enterprise performance. This more nuanced approach led to a framework for assessing an organizations' level of IT maturity, referred to as the IT Scorecard. This scorecard allowed the return on an organization's IT investment to be measured more accurately than had been possible previously, and provided a more action-oriented assessment that could be used, for example, to focus improvement efforts on under-developed IT capabilities.

In early 2017, Iansiti teamed up with Prof. Karim Lakhani on a Harvard Business Review article where they said blockchain is not a disruptive technology that undercuts the cost of an existing business model, but is a foundational technology that "has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems". They further predicted that, while foundational innovations can have enormous impact, "It will take decades for blockchain to seep into our economic and social infrastructure."[13]

Contribution to Understanding the Digital Transformation of Business[edit]

Iansiti more recently made a contribution to the field of technology strategy to understand the phenomenon of digital transformation.[14] Iansiti's work in this area is in collaboration with Prof. Karim Lakhani, also of the Harvard Business School. It explores the evolution of models for value creation and capture as businesses increase in digital content. Examples range from General Electric to Google.

Key publications[edit]


  • One Strategy: Organization, Planning, and Decision Making (Wiley, 2009).

Iansiti writes with Steven Sinofsky of Microsoft Corporation on the gap that often develops between top-down, directed strategy and bottom-up, emergent behavior within an organization. Iansiti and Sinofsky discuss the approach Sinofsky took within the Windows and Windows Live Group at Microsoft to bridge this gap during the development of the Windows 7 operating system.

  • The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation, and Sustainability (Harvard Business School Press, 2004)

Iansiti writes with Roy Levien about the concept of the business ecosystem, whereby complex business networks can be thought of as interdependent ecosystems.[15] Within this context, Iansiti discusses the role of Keystones, firms that create a platform that sustains and enhances the health and performance of the business ecosystem.

  • Technology Integration: Making Critical Choices in a Turbulent World (Harvard Business School Press, 1997)

Iansiti writes about the choices faced by high-tech firms regarding the adoption and integration of new technologies into the firm's offerings. Iansiti assesses the performance of technology integration projects and makes suggestions for organizational best practices.

Board memberships[edit]

  • Current Chairman of the Board, Keystone Strategy, Inc.
  • Current Board Member, ModuleQ
  • Current Board Member, iMatchative
  • Current Board Member, PDF Solutions[16]
  • Former Board Member, CHiL Semiconductor
  • Former Board Member, Eurizon Financial Group
  • Former Board Member, Supplier Market, Inc.
  • Former Board Member, Model N Corporation
  • Former Board Member, Ide Corporation
  • Former Board Member, Leonardo-Finmeccanica SpA
  • Former Board Member, NextDoor Networks

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Harvard Business School Faculty Biography". Archived from the original on 2009-11-27. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  2. ^ Keystone Strategy Biography Archived 2009-11-24 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Curriculum Vitae of Professor Marco Iansiti, U.S. Department of Justice
  4. ^ See, for example, Marco Iansiti et al., "Charging Energy and Phase Delocalization in Single Very Small Josephson Tunnel-Junctions," Physical Review Letters, Volume 60, Issue 23, Pgs. 2414-2417, June 6, 1988.
  5. ^ See, for example, Marco Iansiti et al., "Quantum Tunneling and Low-Voltage Resistance in Small Superconducting Tunnel-Junctions," Physical Review B, Volume 40, Issue 16, Pages 11,370-11,373, December 1, 1989.
  6. ^ See, for example, Marco Iansiti and Jonathan West, "Technology Integration: Turning Great Research into Great Products," Harvard Business Review, Volume 75, Issue 5, September–October 1997 or Marco Iansiti, "How the Incumbent can Win: Managing Technological Transitions in the Semiconductor Industry," Management Science, Volume 47, Issue 1, Pgs. 133-150, January 2001.
  7. ^ See, for example, Marco Iansiti and Greg Richards, "Six Years Later: The Impact of the Evolution of the IT Ecosystem," Antitrust Law Journal, Volume 75, Issue 3, Pgs. 705-721, 2009.
  8. ^ See, for example, Marco Iansiti, "Keystones and Dominators: Framing Operating and Technology Strategy in a Business Ecosystem" Archived 2010-04-01 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ James F. Moore, "Predators and Prey: A New Ecology of Competition," Harvard Business Review, May/June, 1993
  10. ^ Marco Iansiti, "Keystones and Dominators: Framing Operating and Technology Strategy in a Business Ecosystem" Archived 2010-04-01 at the Wayback Machine, pg. 1
  11. ^ See, for example, Marco Iansiti, "Why IT Matters in Midsized Firms"[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ See, for example, Kevin Crowston and Michael Treacy, "Assessing the Impact of Information Technology on Enterprise Level Performance," Working Paper, Sloan School of Management, 1986.
  13. ^ Iansiti, Marco; Lakhani, Karim R. (January 2017). "The Truth About Blockchain". Harvard Business Review. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017. The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.
  14. ^ See, for example, Marco Iansiti, "Digital Ubiquity: How Connections, Sensors, and Data are Revolutionizing BUsiness"
  15. ^ Iansiti explains the concept of business ecosystems in Marco Iansiti and Roy Levin, "Strategy as Ecology," Harvard Business Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, March, 2004.
  16. ^ Professor Marco Iansiti Joins PDF Solutions Board of Directors