Faculty Directory

Ron Adner

David T. McLaughlin D’54, T’55 Professor








PhD, MA, University of Pennsylvania, 1998; ME, BME, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, 1993

Areas of Expertise

Strategy, innovation, entrepreneurship


Entrepreneurship and Innovation Strategy; Strategy in Innovation Ecosystems


Professor Adner’s research and teaching focuses on innovation, strategy, and entrepreneurship. His work introduces a new perspective on the relationship between firms, customers, and the broader ‘innovation ecosystems’ in which they interact to create value.

Current Research Topics

  • Innovation ecosystems
  • Organizing collaborative solutions
  • Diversification choices
  • Demand-based approaches to strategy

Professional Activities

Academic positions

  • Tuck School of Business, 2008–present
  • Akzo Nobel Fellow of Strategic Management, 2006–08
  • INSEAD Associate Professor of Strategy, 2002–08, Assistant Professor of Strategy, 1998–2002

Editorial positions (past and present)

  • Senior Editor, Strategy Science
  • Associate Editor, Management Science
  • Editorial Boards
    Academy of Management Review
    Strategic Organization
    Strategic Management Journal


  • Sumantra Ghoshal Award for Rigour and Relevance in the Study of Management, 2015.
  • Finalist, Academy of Management George R. Terry Book Award, 2013. The Wide Lens: What Successful Innovators See that Others Miss.
  • Runner-up, INFORMS-Industry Studies Association Best Paper Prize  (across 12 journals). 2013. “What firms make vs. what they know: How firms’ production and knowledge boundaries affect competitive advantage in the face of technological change.”
  • Management Science Meritorious Service Award. 2013.
  • Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management, 2008. "What firms make vs. what they know: How firms’ production and knowledge boundaries affect competitive advantage in the face of technological change."
  • Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management, 2006. "Diversification and performance: Linking market structure, market relatedness and the decision to diversify."
  • Best Paper Award, 2004 Atlanta Competitive Advantage Conference, for "A demand based view of sustainable competitive advantage."

Working Papers

  • With D. Feiler, “Ecosystems, Interdependence and Investment Choices: An experimental approach”
  • With J. Chen and F. Zhu, “Frenemies in Platform Markets: The case of Apple’s iPad vs. Amazon’s Kindle”

Selected Publications

  • “Ecosystem as Structure: An Actionable Construct for Strategy.” Journal of Management. 43(1): 39-58 (2017).
  • With F. Ruiz- Aliseda and P. Zemsky (2016). “Specialist vs. Generalist Positioning: Demand heterogeneity, technology scalability, and endogenous market segmentation.” Strategy Science. 1(3): 184-206.
  • With R. Kapoor (2016). “Right Tech, Wrong Time.” Harvard Business Review. 94(11): 60-67. Reprinted in HBR's 10 Must Reads 2018: The Definitive Management Ideas of the Year. 
  • With R. Kapoor (2016). “Innovation ecosystems and the pace of substitution: Reexamining technology S-curves.” Strategic Management Journal.  37(4):625-648.
  • "Navigating the Leadership Challenges of Innovation Ecosystems." Sloan Management Review. 58(1):141-146 (2016).
  • With R. Klingebiel (2015). “Real Options Logic Revisited: Disentangling Sequential Investment, Low-Commitment Strategies, and Resource Re-Allocation Reality.” Academy of Management Journal. 58(1): 221-241.
  • With F. Csaszar and P. Zemsky (2014). “Positioning on a Multi-Attribute Landscape.” Management Science.
  • With J. Oxley and B. Silverman (2013).  “Collaboration and Competition in Business Ecosystems.” Advances in Strategic Management 31: 9-18.
  • With R. Kapoor (2012). “What firms make vs. what they know: How firms’ production and knowledge boundaries affect competitive advantage in the face of technological change.” Organization Science, Special issue on Organizational Economics and Organizational Capabilities. 23(5): 1227–1248. Selected for Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management, 2008. Runner-up, INFORMS-ISA Best Industry Studies Paper Award (best paper across all 843 papers published in 2012 across all 12 INFORMS journals).
  • With D. Snow (2010). “Old Technology Responses to New Technology Threats: Demand heterogeneity and technology retreats.” Industrial and Corporate Change. 19(5):1655-1675.
  • With R. Kapoor (2010). “Value creation in innovation ecosystems: How the structure of technological interdependence affects firm performance in new technology generations.” Strategic Management Journal.31(3): 306-333.
  • With D. Snow (2010). “Bold retreat: A new strategy for old technologies.”  Harvard Business Review. 88(3): 76-81. Reprinted in Harvard Business Review on Aligning Technology with Strategy, Harvard Business Press, 2011.
  • With L. Polos, M. D. Ryall, and O. Sorenson (2009). "The case for formal theory." Academy of Management Review. 34(2):201-208.
  • With D. Levinthal (2008). “Doing versus seeing: Acts of exploitation and perceptions of exploration.” Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. 1(2):43-52.
  • “Real options and resource re-allocation processes.”  Advances in Strategic Management. 24: 363-272 (2007).