Ian W. Mackenzie

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Unit: Strategy


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Ian Mackenzie joined the HBS faculty in January 2012. He teaches Strategy to first year MBAs (Required Curriculum) and conducts workshops on consulting skills for the second year MBAs. As Faculty Chair of Independent Projects, he is working to enhance the value derived from these second year projects. His research interests sit at the intersection of strategy and innovation and currently focus on how firms that produce complex technology systems collaborate with external component suppliers to align and sustain innovation.

Following his MBA from HBS in 1979, Dr. Mackenzie’s career has spanned management consulting, entrepreneurial management and academia. He was a consultant and manager with the Boston Consulting Group (1979-1986), Senior Partner and Head of the European Securities Industry Practice, Head of the European Strategy Practice for the Mitchell Madison Group (1995-2001), Director in charge of Financial Services with OC&C Strategy Consultants (2001-2004), and Chief Executive of the Think Play Do Group, an innovation management consultancy (2005-2011).

On the management side he spent seven years as Managing Director (Europe) for Thomson Financial (1986-1994) during which time he grew the business from a start up to one having six business lines spanning software, value-added networks and database products.  In addition to building the business across Europe he was directly involved in supporting the development of these business lines in the Asia-Pacific region.

On the academic side, Dr. Mackenzie was a Fellow at the Imperial College Business School (2005-2011). He taught strategy, organization and innovation management, principally at Executive levels and taught ‘consulting skills’ in the school’s MBA programmes. He designed, directed and taught on several Executive Education programmes. His varied research interests included the impact of information and communication technologies on carbon abatement and an assessment of the factors underpinning the success of the London Olympics construction program.  

Ian Mackenzie holds B.Sc.(Eng.) and Ph.D. degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College London. He obtained his MBA from Harvard Business School where he was a Harkness Fellow and a Baker Scholar.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. 


Publications and Course Material

  1. Amgen Inc.: Pursuing Innovation and Imitation? (A)

    Ian W. Mackenzie

    Set in 2009, the (A) case explores whether Amgen, a leading innovator of biotech-based drugs, should enter the emerging business of biosimilars (BS), which are essentially 'me-too' products. There appear to be sound reasons to explore this related diversification: innovation is getting harder, regulators are intent on encouraging BS, and Amgen needs renewed growth. But the possibility sparked a strong negative reaction within Amgen, not least because it contravened Amgen's mission. Internal debate was exacerbated by the presence of considerable uncertainty over the regulatory requirements for BS development and how difficult it would be to develop a BS. Some felt it played to Amgen's strengths, others felt that Amgen lacked critical capabilities. Many felt there was simply no need for any change in strategy at all. To navigate through this morass, Amgen needed clear strategic thinking. Amgen set out to see if an objective business case for entry could be built. This involved settling on a set of most likely assumptions, quantitatively estimating likely revenue and profitability, testing out sensitivity to assumptions using scenarios, and assessing the main risks of entry and of staying out. The analysis provided strong support for entry subject to the key assumptions. The (A) case also invites students to think through how CEO Kevin Sharer should handle a positive entry decision given the divided opinions across the senior management team.

    Keywords: corporate strategy; pharmaceutical industry; Biotechnology Industry; Corporate Strategy; Pharmaceutical Industry; Biotechnology Industry; United States;


    Mackenzie, Ian W. "Amgen Inc.: Pursuing Innovation and Imitation? (A)." Harvard Business School Case 714-424, January 2014. (Revised January 2014.) View Details
  2. Amgen Inc.: Pursuing Innovation and Imitation? (B)

    Ian MacKenzie

    The (B) case reveals that Sharer decided that Amgen should enter the emerging biosimilars business. However, he took the better part of a year to syndicate the decision across the senior team while in parallel investing in some time-critical process development. The (B) case then focuses on how the new business should be implemented, particularly in terms of integration versus separation of a new business unit, choice of unit leader, and whether Amgen should partner with a third party to gain access to skills or resources.

    Keywords: corporate strategy; pharmaceutical industry; Biotechnology Industry; Corporate Strategy; Pharmaceutical Industry; Biotechnology Industry; United States;


    MacKenzie, Ian. "Amgen Inc.: Pursuing Innovation and Imitation? (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 714-426, January 2014. View Details
  3. Amgen Inc.: Pursuing Innovation and Imitation (A) and (B)

    Ian Mackenzie

    Keywords: strategic change; biosimilars; Medical biotechnology; emerging markets; industry structure; uncertainty; strategy development; Implementation; Corporate Strategy; Pharmaceutical Industry; Biotechnology Industry; United States;


    Mackenzie, Ian. "Amgen Inc.: Pursuing Innovation and Imitation (A) and (B)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 714-425, January 2014. View Details
  4. The New Patterns of Innovation

    Rashik Parmar, Ian Mackenzie, David Cohn and David Gann

    The search for new business ideas—and models—is hit-or-miss at most firms. Tackling the problem systematically, of course, will improve the odds of success. Traditional ways of framing this search examine competencies, customer needs, and shifts in the landscape. This article proposes adding a new IT-based framework. It involves asking the following question: how can data and analytic tools be used to create new value? The authors have explored that question with many clients. In their work, they've seen IT create new value in five patterns: using data from sensors in objects to improve offerings (think smart energy meters); digitizing physical assets (such as health records); combining data within and across industries (to, say, coordinate supply chains); trading data (as mobile providers do with information on users' whereabouts); and codifying best-in-class capabilities (such as online expense management) as services. Drawing on examples from their own experience and their clients', the authors walk readers through each of the five patterns and how to apply them. They also provide advice and questions that will help executives get started on their own searches.

    Keywords: Value Creation; Information Technology; Innovation and Invention;


    Parmar, Rashik, Ian Mackenzie, David Cohn, and David Gann. "The New Patterns of Innovation." Harvard Business Review 92, nos. 1-2 (January–February 2014): 86–95. View Details
  5. Project Complexity and Systems Integration: Constructing the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games

    Andrew Davies and Ian Mackenzie

    Our study of the London Olympics 2012 construction programme showed that systems integration is one of the major challenges involved in delivery of a complex "system of systems"—or array—project. Organizations cope with complexity by decomposing a project into different levels of systems integration with clearly defined interfaces and buffers between levels and individual component subsystems. At the "meta systems integration" level, an organization has to be established with the capabilities to understand the total system of systems, manage external interfaces with the multiple stakeholders, and coordinate the integration of its component parts. At the "systems integration" level, efforts are made to manage each individual system as a loosely coupled, relatively self-contained subsystem with defined interfaces to coordinate interdependencies with other parts of the overall array. Establishing processes to maintain stability whilst responding dynamically to uncertain and changing conditions is one of the most challenging aspects of systems integration.

    Keywords: Integration; Construction; Complexity; Sports; Projects; Construction Industry; Sports Industry; London;


    Davies, Andrew, and Ian Mackenzie. "Project Complexity and Systems Integration: Constructing the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games." International Journal of Project Management 32, no. 5 (July 2014): 773–790. View Details
  6. Making a Success of your EC Independent Project: Good Practices for Students

    Ian W. Mackenzie

    Independent project (IP) work in the EC poses challenges over and above those encountered in the project components of RC FIELD. Based on the belief that the success of IPs can be greatly influenced by how well students select and scope their projects and then go about executing them, this note sets out seven detailed areas of good practice. These cover (i) the defining phase, (ii) the planning phase, (iii) the executing phase, (iv) the reporting phase, (v) the reflecting phase, (vi) team work, and (vii) stakeholder management. While most of these good practices leverage experience from the management consulting industry, they have broad applicability to the many different forms of IPs. Indeed they could well be viewed as a generic 'business problem solving toolkit.'

    Keywords: Independent Projects; BEST practices; learning by doing; practical project work; Teamwork; project management; stakeholder management; stakeholder engagement; Projects; Groups and Teams;


    Mackenzie, Ian W. "Making a Success of your EC Independent Project: Good Practices for Students." Harvard Business School Course Overview Note 713-468, December 2012. View Details
  7. Good Practices for Supervising an EC Independent Project

    Ian W. Mackenzie

    Spurred by the notion that Faculty Supervisors (FSs) can make a significant contribution to the educational value and overall success of Independent Projects (IPs) to students, this note offers a set of good practices which can be used to guide the policies and practices of FSs in relation to IPs. It is hoped that this note will encourage FSs to be more pro-active in influencing student performance in IPs and be particularly useful for those FSs who have less direct experience in performing or overseeing business-focused project work. The note covers (i) the challenges presented by IPs, (ii) the role of the FS, (iii) a brief overview of 'good practices for students undertaking IPs' and (iv) good practices in supervising IPs. The last named includes the assessment of IPs and includes suggested assessment criteria.

    Keywords: Independent Projects; Faculty Supervisor; Project manager; Student evaluation; Projects; Groups and Teams;


    Mackenzie, Ian W. "Good Practices for Supervising an EC Independent Project." Harvard Business School Course Overview Note 713-469, December 2012. View Details
  8. Sustaining Innovation When Outsourcing Components in Multi-technology, Multi-component Systems

    Ian Mackenzie and Casimer DeCusatis

    Firms producing multi-technology, multi-component systems are increasingly outsourcing selected components to achieve both reduced cost and enhanced innovation benefits. Given typical inter-dependence between innovation at the system and component levels, an important challenge for the system firm is to align innovation trajectories, priorities, and pacing between the system and component firms and sustain overall system-level innovation over the longer term. We present two longitudinal case studies, drawn from the IT industry, which provide contrasting examples of outsourcing strategies in terms of the number of suppliers per component and the inter-firm arrangements that a system firm put in place to align innovation. These cases help us to identify the range of outsourcing strategies that system firms could pursue and the factors that appear to influence which one is most appropriate.

    Keywords: innovation; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Alignment; Innovation and Invention; Information Technology Industry;


    Mackenzie, Ian, and Casimer DeCusatis. "Sustaining Innovation When Outsourcing Components in Multi-technology, Multi-component Systems." Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice 15, no. 1 (February 2013). View Details