Gary Pisano

Innovation and Competitive Strategy Expert; Harvard Business School Professor; Author

Companies compete on the decisions they make. But they need the right knowledge to make the right decisions. Gary Pisano has made it his professional mission to help fulfill their potential by focusing on knowledge-based innovation and strategy.

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About Gary Pisano

As the Harry E. Figgie Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, Professor Pisano has been an integral part of the Harvard faculty for 28 years. Professor Pisano centers his teaching and research on knowledge creation and innovation, and examines each theme – spanning technology strategy and management of innovation, to organizational learning, outsourcing and intellectual property – through multiple lenses and levels of analysis, from the individual to countries. Most recently, through his work with Harvard’s U.S. Competitiveness Project – a research-led effort to understand and improve the competitiveness of America – he’s turned attention to helping spur a manufacturing renaissance. Professor Pisano delves deeper into the issues and implications of “Restoring American Competitiveness,” the subject of his McKinsey Award-winning Harvard Business Review article, in his most recent book, “Producing Prosperity” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), both co-authored with Harvard colleague Willy Shih. “Manufacturing, it turns out, really matters in an innovation-driven economy,” he argues.

Professor Pisano has authored seven books and written more than 70 articles and case studies, including the award-winning “Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Management” (Strategic Management Journal, 1997), the most-cited publication in economics and business from 1995-2005, and his California Management Review article, “How to Capture Value from Innovation: Shaping Intellectual Property and Industry Architecture,” which was a finalist for the 2008 Accenture Award.  His latest – a Harvard Business School working paper, which will ultimately be published by a leading academic journal, explores “Organizational and Geographic Drivers of Absorptive Capacity: An Empirical Analysis of Pharmaceutical R&D Laboratories.”

Professor Pisano has served as an advisor to senior executives at leading companies in the U.S. and Europe across the aerospace, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, computer, software, electronics and financial services industries. He has also served on the board of directors and advisory boards of a number of start-up companies. Professor Pisano is an enthusiastic, engaging presenter who speaks widely at industry conferences and to senior executive audiences.

He holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University.

Speaking Style

Educational and formal

An expert in scientific business administration and strategy, Gary Pisano's knowledge and teaching experience make him an exceptional speaker. 

A respected professor of business administration and an authority in his field, Gary Pisano teaches a variety of management and strategic techniques at masters and executive levels. His teaching, writing and research are primarily involved with scientific industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, aerospace and technologies such as computer software.


Pisano has many accolades to his name, in recognition of his contribution to his subject. These include:

  • 1986-1987 - Regents Fellowship at the University of California
  • 1987-1988 - Bradley Fellow, University of California
  • 1993-1994 - Baxter Foundation Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Business School
  • 2001 - Harvard Business Schools Greenhill Award
  • 2003 - Best Paper Prize, Strategic Management Society
  • 2006 - Best Book on Biotechnology, Strategy and Business Magazine
  • 2008 - Accenture Award, finalist, California Management Review
  • 2009 - McKinsey Award, Best Article in Harvard Business Review

Speaking Topics

  • You Need an Innovation Strategy: 3 Pivotal Questions You Must Ask – Answer
  • Lessons from Hollywood: A New Approach to Funding R&D
  • Location Matters: The Geography of Knowledge
  • Dear Government and Corporate America: Step Up to Restore Our Country’s Competitiveness
  • Growth Spurt: Why Companies Stop Growing and What to Do About It
  • Ensure Seamless, Sustainable Success: From Strategy to Execution


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Books By Gary Pisano

  • Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance
  • Operations, Strategy, and Technology: Pursuing the Competitive Edge
  • Science Business: The Promise, the Reality, and the Future of Biotech
  • The Development Factory: Unlocking the Potential of Process Innovation
  • Instructor's Manual, Strategic Operations: Competing through Capabilities
  • Manufacturing Renaissance
  • Strategic Operations: Competing through Capabilities
  • Harvard Business Review Book Series - Manufacturing Renaissance (with Robert H. Hayes) (1995)
  • Strategic Operations: Competing Through Capabilities (with Robert H. Hayes and David M. Upton) (1996)
  • Science Business (2006)
  • Development Factory: Unlocking the Potential of Process Innovation (1996)
  • The Competitive Edge: Pursuing the Competitive Edge (with Robert H. Hayes, David M. Upton and Steven C. Wheelwright) (2004)

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