Academic Keynote Speakers

Frank Piller
Vice Dean of RWTH School of Business & Economics
Professor and Chair of Technology & Innovation Management

Academic Director, RWTH Aachen & Fraunhofer Executive MBA

Frank Piller is a professor of technology and innovation management at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and TUM School of Management, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Prof. Piller is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His group at RWTH became one of the globally leading research centers for open and distributed innovation. His current research focuses on the need of established corporations to deal with disruptive business model innovation and supporting organizational structures and cultures. He is the Chairman of a cross-industry group hosted by VDI (Verein Deutsche Ingenieure) to develop standards for platform-based digital business models, and is also member of the Academic Advisory Board of Germany’s National “Platform Industrie 4.0”. Frank Piller is the recipient of the RWTH Teaching Award of 2010 and 2015. He also received an award for teaching innovation within the German Exzellenzinitiative for introducing the first European MOOC with ECTS points, a potentially disruptive innovation to the business model of established universities.


Melissa Schilling
John Herzog Family Professor of Management and Organizations
New York University – Stern School of Business

Melissa A. Schilling is the John Herzog Chair Professor of Management at New York University Stern School of Business. Her research focuses on innovation and strategy in high technology industries such as smartphones, videogames, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electric vehicles, and renewable energies. She is particularly interested in platform dynamics, networks, creativity, and breakthrough innovation. Her research in innovation and strategy has earned her awards such as the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, and the Best Paper in Management Science and Organization Science for 2007 Award. Her research has also appeared in leading academic journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Management Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, and Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Research Policy, and Harvard Business Review. She is on the advisory board of the American Antitrust Association, and she sits on the editorial review boards of Organization Science, Strategic Organization, Strategy Science, and Academy of Management Discoveries. Her textbook, Strategic Management of Technological Innovation (now in its fifth edition), is the number one innovation strategy text in the world. She is also coauthor of Strategic Management: An integrated approach (now in its twelfth edition), and has a book forthcoming on serial breakthrough innovators called “Quirky: The remarkable story of the traits, foibles, and genius of breakthrough innovators who changed the world.”


Annabelle Gawer
Professor of Digital Economy
Co-Director of the University of Surrey Centre for the Digital Economy
Co-Chair of the AOM Specialized Conference on Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy

Award-winning researcher, author and educator, Professor Annabelle Gawer is an expert on digital platforms such as Google and Facebook, and on platform-based innovative business ecosystems. Highly-cited author of two books (Platform Leadership, and Platform, Markets and Innovation) and over a dozen articles in top international journals, Prof. Gawer’s seminal research on platform leadership and innovation ecosystems explains how innovation and competition interact to shape platform-based markets and the digital economy. Annabelle’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The London Times, The Financial Times (here and here), The Economist (here and here) and The Wall Street Journal. A pioneer of international stature in the field of digital platforms, Annabelle is a leading voice in advancing research (Google Scholar indicates over 4770 citations as of Sept 2017), as well as managerial practice and European policy. Prof. Gawer advises the European Commission, the UK Parliament House of Lords, and the OECD on issues related to the future of ICT research directions in Europe and on the question of regulation of online platforms.


Gianvito Lanzolla
Head of Faculty of Management, Professor of Strategy
Cass Business School, London

Professor Lanzolla’s research revolves around the strategic and organizational implications of rapid (digital) technological change. He has made research contribution to topics including pioneering strategies, digital technology adoption, innovation and imitation strategies and competition in digital marketplaces. Professor Lanzolla’s research has been published in the leading outlets including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Management, Production and Operations Management and Harvard Business Review. He advises board members, senior executives and policy makers around the world. Latest engagement includes the UK Financial Ombudsman, the UAE’s Prime Minister Office, the BBC, IBM, Microsoft, and Beazley. At Cass Business School, he is the Founding Director of the Digital Leadership Research Centre and serves as the Head of the Faculty of Management. Professor Lanzolla has held visiting position at the London Business School, Berlin’s ESMT and Hyderabad’s Indian School of Business.