Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World

Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World

Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World

Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World

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"a provocative new book" — The New York Times

AI-centric organizations exhibit a new operating architecture, redefining how they create, capture, share, and deliver value.

Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani show how reinventing the firm around data, analytics, and AI removes traditional constraints on scale, scope, and learning that have restricted business growth for hundreds of years. From Airbnb to Ant Financial, Microsoft to Amazon, research shows how AI-driven processes are vastly more scalable than traditional processes, allow massive scope increase, enabling companies to straddle industry boundaries, and create powerful opportunities for learning—to drive ever more accurate, complex, and sophisticated predictions.

When traditional operating constraints are removed, strategy becomes a whole new game, one whose rules and likely outcomes this book will make clear. Iansiti and Lakhani:

  • Present a framework for rethinking business and operating models
  • Explain how "collisions" between AI-driven/digital and traditional/analog firms are reshaping competition, altering the structure of our economy, and forcing traditional companies to rearchitect their operating models
  • Explain the opportunities and risks created by digital firms
  • Describe the new challenges and responsibilities for the leaders of both digital and traditional firms

Packed with examples—including many from the most powerful and innovative global, AI-driven competitors—and based on research in hundreds of firms across many sectors, this is your essential guide for rethinking how your firm competes and operates in the era of AI.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633697621
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 01/07/2020
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 641,180
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Marco Iansiti, the David Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, also heads the school's Technology and Operations Management Unit and the Digital Initiative. Iansiti is an expert on digital innovation, with a special focus on strategy and business and operating model transformation. He advises Global 1000 companies on digital strategy and transformation and has conducted research on a variety of organizations, including Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, Amazon, Alibaba, and Google, among many others. He is the author of several books, including, with Roy Levien, The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation, and Sustainability and One Strategy: Organization, Planning, and Decision Making, with Steven Sinofsky. He has authored more than 100 articles, cases, and notes, including "The Ecology of Strategy" (with Roy Levien) and "Digital Ubiquity," "Managing Our Hub Economy," and "The Truth About Blockchain" (with Karim Lakhani). Each was published in Harvard Business Review and selected as one of the top ten articles of the year.

Karim R. Lakhani is the Charles E. Wilson Professor of Business Administration and the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Fellow at Harvard Business School. He is the founder and codirector of the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard, the principal investigator of the NASA Tournament Laboratory at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and the faculty cofounder of the Digital Initiative at HBS. He is also Chair of the Harvard Business Analytics Program. He specializes in technology management and innovation. He is a coeditor of the books Revolutionizing Innovation: Users, Communities, and Open Innovation and Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software and the author of over 100 articles and case studies on the emerging digital economy and the changing nature of work and companies. His research has been featured in BusinessWeek, the Boston Globe, the Economist, Fast Company, Inc. magazine, the New York Times, the New York Academy of Sciences Magazine, Science, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Wired.

You can visit the authors at:
Marco Iansiti:,
Karim R. Lakhani:,

Table of Contents

1 The Age of AI 1

Artificial intelligence is transforming the way firms function and is restructuring the economy

2 Rethinking the Firm 25

Software, networks, and AI are changing the fundamental nature of companies-the way they operate and compete

3 The AI Factory 53

The core of the new firm is a scalable decision factory, powered by software, data, and algorithms

4 Rearchitecting the Firm 79

To use the full power of digital networks and AI, firms need a fundamentally different operating architecture

5 Becoming an AI Company 99

AI-enabled firms will transform and rearchitect to leverage the power of data, networks, and artificial intelligence

6 Strategy for a New Age 125

Digital firms enable and require a new approach to strategy

7 Strategic Collisions 157

What happens when digital firms compete and collide with traditional firms

8 The Ethics of Digital Scale, Scope, and Learning 177

Ethical challenges are generated by the transformation of the nature of firms

9 The New Meta 201

The age of AI is changing the rules of the game, with fundamental implications for all of us

10 A Leadership Mandate 215

The age of AI is defining a new set of challenges for leaders of digital firms, traditional organizations, startups, regulatory institutions, and communities

Notes 231

Index 243

Disclosures 257

Acknowledgments 259

About the Authors 265

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