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Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani: strategies for the new breed of “AI first” organizations

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 31 March 2020

Issue publication date: 29 May 2020




This interview introduces the concept of the “AI first company”, a new breed of organization that is transforming the economy and defining the emergence of a new age.


An interview with Harvard digital strategy experts, Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani, about their new book, Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World. Marco Iansiti is the David Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School (HBS) and heads the school’s Technology and Operations Management Unit and the Digital Initiative. Karim R. Lakhani is the Charles E. Wilson Professor of Business Administration at HBS, and the founder and co-director of the Laboratory for Innovation Science and co-founder of the Digital Initiative at Harvard. 10; 10;The authors were interviewed by Brian Leavy, emeritus professor of strategy at Dublin City University Business School and a Strategy & Leadership contributing editor.


Digital transformation is not about creating a digital function or spinning off a digital unit, it’s about fundamentally restructuring the core of the firm by building a data-centric operating architecture supported by an agile organization that enables on-going change.

Practical implications

Essentially, we are moving away from an era of core competencies that differ from industry to industry to an age shaped by data and analytics and powered by algorithms. The concept of network is superceding the concept of industry in defining strategic options for firms.


The emergence of the “Age of AI” has possibly created the greatest entrepreneurial opportunity in the history of civilization and the world is literally jammed with entrepreneurial activity. Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani suggest ways to maximize that opportunity.


Leavy, B. (2020), "Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani: strategies for the new breed of “AI first” organizations", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 48 No. 3, pp. 11-18.



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