London Business School Professor Wins 2022 HBR Prize

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

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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.

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