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Geoffrey Parker Named to Thinkers50 2023 Ranking

Nov 13, 2023   |   by Betsy Vereckey

Dartmouth Engineering's Geoffrey Parker, Hutchinson '68A Professor of Engineering Innovation, director of the Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program, and interim faculty director for the Irving Institute for Energy and Society, has been ranked in the Thinkers50—a list of top 50 management thinkers globally—for a third time for continued work on his theory of two-sided markets, used extensively in platform business models. Parker's research partner Marshall Van Alstyne of Boston University was also recognized.

Geoffrey Parker (left), Hutchinson '68A Professor of Engineering Innovation and director of the Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program, and Marshall Van Alstyne of Boston University.

"We were pleased to be nominated and win the award because there are so many impressive people among the awardees, said Parker. "To be recognized among these individuals is a great honor."

Parker and Van Alstyne's research helps firms decide on the best ways to build technology systems that create network effects and new sources of value. "The theory of two-sided markets that we developed back in 2000 is still incredibly powerful in helping firms both predict and design business models and systems," Parker said.

They went on to come up with the concept of the inverted firm, which illustrates how value is created outside a firm, rather than inside it. They won two best-paper awards—for one published in MIS Quarterly and the other in Management Science—and co-wrote the best-selling book Platform Revolution, along with Sangeet Paul Choudary, which continues to be a popular source of guidance on how to adapt and thrive in the era of platform technology.

Looking to the future, having been approached by companies who want to share their data externally but are hesitant for fear of data leaks or pricing anomalies, Parker and Van Alstyne are designing mechanisms to help firms solve these problems. They recently served on a team of economists who offered guidance to the European Union on the Digital Markets Act, and are continuing to work to solve the problem of sharing data without disclosing critical information.

"The new research project we're working on with a number of firms is exciting," Parker said. "It builds on our network effect concept and our understanding of platforms and will offer insight on how to design them and what the governance mechanisms are."

In addition to data sharing, Parker is thinking about how to use data and platforms in the context of the energy transition. Specifically, how to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to a low carbon system. "There are a couple of initiatives that my doctoral students and I are working on in that space," Parker said.

Parker and Van Alstyne were previously named to the Thinkers50 ranking in both 2021 and 2019, when they also received the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award. In addition, Parker holds an INFORMS Information Systems Society (ISS) Practical Impacts Award, and is a visiting scholar and fellow at the MIT Initiative for the Digital Economy.

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