Gary P. Pisano

Harry E. Figgie, Jr. Professor of Business Administration

Gary Pisano is the Harry E. Figgie Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He has been on the Harvard faculty since 1988. Pisano’s research, teaching, and consulting have focused on technology strategy, the management of innovation and intellectual property, competitive strategy, and manufacturing and outsourcing strategy. His work on these issues spans a range of science and technology based industries including aerospace, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, health care, nutrition, computers, software, telecommunications, and semiconductors.

Pisano is the author of over 70 articles and case studies. His "Restoring American Competitiveness" (co-authored with Willy Shih) won the McKinsey Award for best article published in Harvard Business Review in 2009. He is also co-author of the award winning article, "Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Management" (Strategic Management Journal, 1997), one of the most widely cited publications in economics and business since 1995.  His article "How to Capture Value from Innovation: Shaping Intellectual Property and Industry Architecture" (California Management Review) was a finalist for the 2008 Accenture Award. He has also written case studies on such companies as Amazon, BMW, Fiat-Chrysler, IBM, Intel, Jet Blue, Merck, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Vertex, Teradyne, Flextronics, Virgin Group, and VF Brands. He is an author of six books including The Development Factory; Operations, Strategy, and Technology; Science Business: The Promise, The Reality and The Future of Biotech and, most recently, Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance.

Professor Pisano serves as an advisor to senior executives at leading companies throughout the world and has served on the Board of Directors and Advisory Boards of a number of start-up companies. He is a co-founder along with chemistry Nobel Laureate Richard Schrock and others of XiMo AG, a developer of specialty catalysts for the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industries ( He also recently co-founded an importer of fine European textiles for the home decoration market ( He speaks widely at industry conferences and to senior executive audiences. Professor Pisano holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and B.A. in economics from Yale University.

  1. International Competitiveness in High Technology and Science Based Sectors

    by Gary P. Pisano

    This research project examines shifts in competitive capabilities of companies and countries in high technology and science based businesses.  It is particularly concerned with the potential loss of such capabilities in various industrial sectors in the US.  This research conducted in collaboration with Professor Willy Shih of Harvard Business School seeks to understand how management behavior and decisions and institutional factors shape investments in scientific and technological capability.  This project builds upon our earlier work ("Restoring American Competitiveness" Harvad Business Review, July-August 2009) where we argued that the US economy was losing its competitive edge innovation due to the growth in outsourcing of manufacturing and increasingly of R&D.  The current research project is aimed at deepening our understanding of such issues as:

    1. How does location, and in particular, geographic proximity to suppliers or customers, matter to innovative capabilities?  

    2. What role does manufacturing competence play in a firm's capacity for innovation?  When does outsourcing of manufacturing damage a firm's ability to innovate?

    3.  How do institutional factors (e.g. capital market, corporate governance,  immigration policies, government funding of R&D, etc.) influence innovation performance? 

    This results from this research will be published in a book (expectation 2011).  

  2. Understanding the Drivers and Limits of Corporate Growth

    by Gary P. Pisano

    Perhaps no issues garners more attention of senior executives and Boards of Directors than growth.  Yet, the underlying factors shaping and limiting corporate growth are poorly understood.  Empirically, we know that some corporations grow much faster than others over long periods of time. Some appear to have done a better jobg managing growth than others.  But there is little consensus, and even less evidence, concerning the strategies companies can adopt to maintain desired growth rates.  This research examines the underlying economics of corporate growth, and seeks to shed light on some issues as:

    1. Are their limits to the growth of organizations, and, if so, what governs those limits?

    2. Why do some firms grow faster (and longer) than others?   

    3. Are some growth strategies more effective than others?  Are some organizational and governance structures more conducive to sustained growth than others? 


    This research is currently undertaken through a series of case studies on specific companies. The case study research will be supplemented with larger scale empirical analysis from growth patterns of US and European companies.