Will He be Adding Another Force?

On June 28, the University announced the establishment of a new interdisciplinary Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness (ISC), based at HBS and directed by Prof. Michael E. Porter M.B.A. ’71, Ph.D. ’73.

In keeping with Porter’s broad research agenda, which has influenced scholars and practitioners in governments, companies, and other institutions around the globe, the new institute will serve as a center for research, curriculum development, and executive education concerning the nature of market competition and its impact on company strategy; the economic development of nations, regions, and cities; and the relationship between market competition and social concerns.
Research at the institute will span a wide array of topics, such as regional cluster development, the impact of the Internet on competitive positioning, antitrust policy, and strategies for philanthropic organizations. In pursuing these avenues, the institute aims to collaborate with interested faculty and related programs in different parts of Harvard and beyond.

One of the institute’s fundamental goals is to share its concepts and findings as widely as possible, both with scholars and with practitioners and policymakers in business, government, and non-governmental organizations. In addition to books, articles, working papers, bibliographies, and speeches accessible via its Web site, the institute will disseminate a series of information products developed under Porter’s leadership.

Another important institute priority is the formulation of curricular materials concerned with the microeconomic foundations of economic development. Addressing the challenges of development from a firm-based perspective, these materials will complement more established top-down, macroeconomic approaches. Beyond providing course materials available for use in programs at Harvard and other institutions in the United States, the institute hopes to extend its reach through the use of Web technologies. Pilot programs are already being planned with INCAE and with the Baltic campus of the Stockholm School of Economics.

Commenting on the establishment of the new Institute, Harvard Business School Dean Kim B. Clark said, “Throughout his distinguished career, Michael Porter has been an intellectual pioneer – creating the modern field of business strategy…The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, will quickly become a highly valuable and visible source of important ideas, information, and analysis that will extend the reach and impact of Harvard’s intellectual capital. This is a tremendously exciting undertaking.”

“This institute’s strategy will continue to be defined and developed over the coming years,” Porter observed. “At its core, it aims to cross disciplines and make new connections. This Institute seeks to foster the integration of competition and corporate strategy – traditional Harvard Business School concerns – with economic policy and social development in ways that not only advance theory but also connect with actual practice.”