Igor Ansoff

This profile is the first in a series on the world’s most influential management thinkers, past and present. The profiles are adapted from “The Economist Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus”, by Tim Hindle. A new profile will be published online every Friday in Economist.com’sManagement section

Igor Ansoff (1918-2002) was the father of modern strategic thinking. When Gary Hamel referred to the origins of corporate strategy he paid Ansoff an indirect compliment: “Strategy didn’t start with Igor Ansoff, neither did it start with Machiavelli,” he wrote. “It probably did not even start with Sun Tzu. Strategy is as old as human conflict.” In other words, Ansoff came of a great line passing through Machiavelli and Sun Tzu.

Born in Vladivostok of a Russian mother and an American diplomat father, Ansoff spent the first 18 years of his life in Russia before moving to New York, where he studied mechanical engineering and physics. In 1950 he joined the Rand Corporation, an influential think-tank of … continua.


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