News and Awards

  • Keystone Chairman and HBS Professor Marco Iansiti expands on why digital leaders post higher gross margins, profits, and revenue per employee than digital laggards in a new study entitled, “The Digital Business Divide: Analyzing the operating impact of digital transformation,” featured recently on
    Read the full story and access the study, here: cio-image
  •’s 2017 Top Ranked Consulting Firms: Keystone Strategy has been named to‘s 2017 Top Ranked Consulting Firms in North America with two top 10 placements for both innovation and internal mobility. Read more about Keystone Strategy here: vault-top-ranked
  • The CFO Leadership Council News:  Keystone’s own Director of Finance Julius Gloeckner is featured in the CFO Council News blog detailing why he thrives in Keystone’s entrepreneurial setting.  Read more about Julius Gloeckner and Keystone CFO Council Logo
  • Top 10 Boutique Strategy Consulting firm by IvyExec: Keystone has been ranked a Top 10 Boutique Strategy Consulting firm by IvyExec in their annual consulting firm rankings. Read more about Keystone  ivyexec_logo
  • Consulting Magazine Rising Star: Congratulations to Keystone’s Sam Price who was just named one of Consulting Magazine’s Rising Stars of the Profession for 2016. To read more about Sam and her work at Keystone, go to Consulting MagazineConsulting Mag Rising Star
  • Professor Iansiti releases One Strategy which analyzes how a management team tweaked and optimized the fine line between strategy and executionone-strategy
  • Professor Pisano wins the 2010 McKinsey Award for “Restoring American Competitiveness”

Keystone experts are thought leaders in their fields and are prolific writers on their findings. The experts create leading analytical frameworks for evaluating ecosystem strategy, innovation processes, IP evaluation, antitrust analysis and more. The research of our experts provides Keystone with unique access to large, cross-sectional studies of industry players. Please contact us to learn more about our experts' research.


Dynamics of Open Source Movements

by Susan Athey and Glenn Ellison
September 2010
This paper considers a dynamic model of the evolution of open source software projects,focusing on the evolution of quality, contributing programmers, and users who contributecustomer support to other users. Programmers who have used open source software aremotivated by reciprocal altruism to publish their own improvements. The evolution ofthe open-source project depends on the form of the altruistic benefits: in a base case theproject grows to a steady-state size from any initial condition; whereas adding a need forcustomer support makes zero-quality a locally absorbing state. We also analyze competitionby commercial firms with OSS projects. Optimal pricing policies again vary: in some casesthe commercial firm will set low prices when the open-source project is small; in other casesit mostly waits until the open-source project has matured.
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How to Manage Outside Innovation

by Karim Lakhani
MIT Sloan Management Review 50, no. 4, Summer 2009

Which Kind of Collaboration is Right for You? The New Leaders in Innovation will be those who figure out the best way to leverage a network of outsiders

by Gary P. Pisano and Roberto Verganti
Harvard Business Review, December 2008
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Getting Clear About Communities in Open Innovation

by Joel West and Karim Lakhani
Industry & Innovation 15, no. 2, April 2008

The Principles of Distributed Innovation

by Karim Lakhani and Jill A. Panetta
Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization 2, no. 3, Summer 2007

Getting Unusual Suspects to Solve R&D Puzzles

by Karim Lakhani and Lars Bo Jeppesen
Harvard Business Review, 85, no. 5, May 2007

Exploring the Structure of Complex Software Designs: An Empirical Study of Open Source and Proprietary Code

by Alan MacCormack, John Rusnak and Carliss Y Baldwin
Management Science, October 2005
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Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software

by Karim Lakhani co-editor
The MIT Press, June 2005

Has the creation of software that can be freely used, modified, and redistributed transformed industry and society, as some predicted, or is this transformation still a work in progress? Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software brings together leading analysts and researchers to address this question, examining specific aspects of F/OSS in a way that is both scientifically rigorous and highly relevant to real-life managerial and technical concerns.The book analyzes a number of key topics: the motivation behind F/OSS—why highly skilled software developers devote large amounts of time to the creation of “free” products and services; the objective, empirically grounded evaluation of software—necessary to counter what one chapter author calls the “steamroller” of F/OSS hype; the software engineering processes and tools used in specific projects, including Apache, GNOME, and Mozilla; the economic and business models that reflect the changing relationships between users and firms, technical communities and firms, and between competitors; and legal, cultural, and social issues, including one contribution that suggests parallels between “open code” and “open society” and another that points to the need for understanding the movement’s social causes and consequences.

The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation, and Sustainability

by Marco Iansiti and Roy Levien
Harvard Business School Press, 2004

In biological ecosystems, “keystone” species maintain the healthy functioning of the entire system because their own survival depends on it. In the Keystone Advantage, Marco Iansiti and Roy Levien argue that business ecosystems work in much the same way–one company’s success depends on the success of its partners. Based on more than 10 years of research and practical experience within industries from retail to automotive to software, The Keystone Advantage outlines a framework that goes beyond maximizing internal competencies to leveraging the collective competencies of one’s entire network for competitive advantage.

Strategy As Ecology

by Marco Iansiti and Roy Levien
Harvard Business Review, March 01, 2004

Ecosystem Strategy: Keystones and Dominators

by Marco Iansiti
Due to an increasingly distributed industry structure, the focus of competition is shifting away from the management of internal resources, to the management and influence of assets that are outside the direct ownership and control of the firm. In this paper, we introduce a framework for studying and understanding the management of innovation and operations in business ecosystems.
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The Incumbent’s Advantage

by Marco Iansiti, F. Warren. McFarlan, and George Westerman
Sloan Management Review, 2003