11 Apr 2023

Harvard Business Review Announces 2022 HBR Prize Winner

Article by Julian Birkinshaw debunking digital disruption myths selected for top Harvard Business Review honor

BOSTON—An article debunking common myths about digital disruption has won the 2022 HBR Prize, which honors the best Harvard Business Review article of the year.

In “How Incumbents Survive and Thrive,” London Business School professor Julian Birkinshaw challenges the prevailing narrative around technological disruption — namely, that no industry is immune, digital disruption happens quickly, and most established firms are unable to adapt. His analysis of the Fortune 500 and the Global 500 shows that most sectors have been surprisingly stable over the past 25 years and most incumbents have transitioned into the digital age quite well. Birkinshaw goes on to reveal four strategies these firms have used to successfully fight competitive threats.

“‘How Incumbents Survive and Thrive’ offers compelling evidence that digital disruption may not be as destructive as once thought, if navigated smartly,” said Adi Ignatius, Editor in Chief of Harvard Business Review. “The judges praised the article’s excellent research base, relevance to today’s companies, and insightful framework for leaders.”

Julian Birkinshaw is Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and the Vice Dean of London Business School.

The HBR Prize, judged by an independent panel of business and academic leaders with input from members of HBR’s Advisory Board, spotlights the most outstanding article published each year in Harvard Business Review. Previously called the HBR McKinsey Award, it was established in 1959 to recognize groundbreaking management thinking. This year’s announcement appears in the May-June issue of the magazine.

The judging panel recognized two other articles as HBR Prize finalists:

  • Leadership in a Politically Charged Age,” by Nour Kteily and Eli J. Finkel
  • The Essential Link Between ESG Targets & Financial Performance,” by Mark R. Kramer and Marc W. Pfitzer
  • The 2022 HBR Prize judges were: Kathleen Eisenhardt, professor, Stanford School of Engineering; Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, former partner, Egon Zehnder; Sunil Gupta, professor, Harvard Business School; Linda Hill, professor, Harvard Business School; Hubert Joly, former CEO and chairman, Best Buy; Stefan Thomke, professor, Harvard Business School; and Ella Washington, professor, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.


    Amy Poftak
    Director of Communications


    Harvard Business Review is the leading destination for smart management thinking. Through its flagship magazine, 9 international licensed editions, books from Harvard Business Review Press, and digital content and tools published on HBR.org. Harvard Business Review provides professionals around the world with rigorous insights and best practices to lead themselves and their organizations more effectively and to make a positive impact.


    Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PHD degrees, as well as more than 70 open enrollment Executive Education programs and 55 custom programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, shaping the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.