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Philippe Silberzahn associate professor


Associate Professor

Philippe SILBERZAHN is associate professor at EMLYON Business School and research fellow at Ecole Polytechnique, specialized in strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship. He studies how businesses deal with disruptions and radical uncertainty. He has over twenty years of industry experience in the high-tech sector as entrepreneur and CEO and as a consultant.


  1. 2009 Ph.D. - Ecole Polytechnique, France

- Thesis : "The determination of its products and markets by the entrepreneurial firm: a socio-cognitive model."

- Committee : Christophe Midler (Ecole Polytechnique, Chair, Robert Burgelman (Stanford GSB), Alain Bloch (HEC Paris, CNAM), Alain Fayolle (EMLYON), Blanche Segrestin (Ecole des Mines ParisTech)

  1. MS Business Administration - IAE Paris, Paris I Sorbonne University, France

- Thesis : "Radical innovation and incumbent firms: reasons for failure, factors of success."

  1. 1997 MBA - London Business School, United Kingdom

- Exchange semester with the International University of Japan, Japan

  1. 1991 MSc in Computer Science - University of Caen, France


  1. 1999 - 2009 Co-founder & CEO - Digital Airways, Wireless software company selling to blue chip handset manufacturers, telecom operators, and software vendors worldwide, France
  2. 2004 - 2009 Research Associate - INSEAD, Maag International Centre for Entrepreneurship Centre, France

- "Transition of entrepreneurial firms into long term performing companies: overcoming turbulent environments" with Pr Morten Hansen and Jim Collins, best-selling author of "Built to Last" and "Good to Great", for their book "Great by Choice" published in 2011

- Research projects on Innovation, Growth, and Entrepreneurship with Pr Ludo Van der Heyden, Pr Morten Hansen, Pr Michelle Rogan, and Pr Don Sull (London Business School)

  1. 1998 - 1999 Managing Director - Mindteck Ltd, MBI & Turnaround of IT firm providing off-shore services to US clients, India and USA
  2. 1997 - 1998 Senior consultant, Strategy - Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Singapore & Beijing
  3. 1991 - 1994 Product manager & Consultant - Software - Softcore NV, Venture capital - backed software company, France, Belgium and United Kingdom
  4. 1987 - 1991 Co-founder - Software Developer & Manager - Anthesis, Software company specialized in electronic document management, France



Courses taughtTop

  1. Introduction to entrepreneurship - Core course
  2. Technology venturing elective
  3. Advanced strategy elective - Dealing with uncertainty and complexity
  4. Business model and marketing for MS Entrepreneurship
  5. Master and MBA student projects supervision in various industries

Research InterestTop

His research interests lie at the intersection of strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He studies how organizations deal with uncertain environments. With an entrepreneurship angle, he explores the role and actions of entrepreneurs and innovators in the process of markets and organization creation, specifically in high-tech contexts. With a strategy angle, he studies how large organizations manage strategic surprises, wicked problems and disruptions.