Annabelle Gawer

Visiting Professor of Strategy and Innovation

  • a.gawer@surrey.ac.uk

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


A pioneer of international stature in the field of digital platforms, Prof Annabelle Gawer is Visiting Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Saïd Business School since September 2020. She is Chaired Professor in Digital Economy, Director of the Centre of Digital Economy (CoDE), and Head of the Department of Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Surrey Business School.

Gawer is a leading voice in advancing research (Google Scholar indicates over 11,000 citations as of October 2020) as well as managerial practice and European policy.

Gawer is a thought-leader on the business of digital platforms (such as Google and Facebook) and business ecosystems. Her seminal research on platform leadership and digital ecosystems explains how firms can create digital platform-based ecosystems, and how innovation and competition interact to shape platform-based markets in our winner-take-all digital economy. She has published 4 books and authored 30 articles published in top international academic journals as well as for managerial and policy audiences.

Gawer’s most recent 2019 book The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power (with MIT Prof M Cusumano and Harvard Business School Prof D Yoffie) explains how to build digital platform businesses and clarifies the sources of power of digital platforms. It shows that digital platform firms are double-edged swords. Her previous books include Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Platforms (2017); Platforms, Markets and Innovation (2009) and Platform Leadership: How Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco Drive Industry Innovation (2002).

A sought-after expert, Prof Gawer has been featured in The Financial Times,  BBC World Service, The Economist, The New York Times, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Economic Times of India, MIT Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, Harvard Deusto Business Review, and Harvard Business Review.

Gawer’s books and articles have been translated in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Bulgarian, Korean, and she is regular keynote speaker in international conferences such as for example at Davos World Economic Forum (2019).

Gawer, a dual British and French citizen and a mother of three, was awarded an MSc in Industrial Engineering (Stanford, 1992) and a PhD in Management of Technological Innovation (MIT, 2000). Her first degrees include a Diplôme d’Ingénieur Civil des Mines (Ecole des Mines de Nancy) and an MSc in Applied Mathematics (Université Paris 6). Professional experience included corporate experience in military mobile telecom networks and post-PhD, she has been on the faculty at INSEAD and Imperial College London.


  • Digital business strategy
  • Digital economy
  • Platforms
  • Ecosystems


Gawer is highly engaged with business and the world of practice. She advises business leaders and entrepreneurs on digital strategy, platform strategy, and ecosystem strategy – in other words, on how to innovate, compete, and win in the digital economy. Annabelle consults as a strategy coach for top management in major international corporations in the US, Europe, and Asia. Examples include the BBC (UK), Santander (Spain), BASF (Germany), Nike (USA), Adidas (Germany), EDF (UK), ARUP (UK), Bouygues (France), and Unilever (UK).

Gawer also advises policy makers on whether and how to regulate digital markets and digital platform firms. She is an adviser the European Commission as an expert in the European Commission’s Observatory of the Online Platform Economy Expert Group; she has advised the UK Parliament House of Lords, the UK Government, and the OECD on regulation of online platforms. She is the author of a report on the economic and social impact of digital platforms for the European Parliament.

Gawer is actively engaged in the international research community. She regularly presents new research at international conferences and has organised numerous symposia and workshops. She has organised innovative conferences with the Academy of Management (2018), at the University of Surrey (2019), and with the Strategic Management Society in collaboration with Oxford Saïd (2020). She is regularly invited to be a guest editor for special issues as for example for the European Management Review (2019), for Industrial and Corporate Change (2020). She has a broad network of collaborators in the US, Europe, and the UK. She also works regularly with junior scholars.

Gawer is a member of the Council of Trustees of the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies, and a member of the Scientific Council of Mines-ParisTech.


She taught to thousands of executives, MBA, and Executive MBA students at MIT, INSEAD, Imperial College, and the University of Surrey. She has extensive 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, and digital strategy at INSEAD, Imperial College Business School, and Surrey Business School.

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