A firm belief in the emergence of a new economic and social geography has prompted an act of faith by a partnership focused on the London Business School.
The LBS, Andersen and Lucent Technologies have agreed to create the Centre for the Network Economy. It aims to be the leading interdisciplinary academic authority for research into, and teaching about, the management, governance and societal impact of commercial enterprises in the network economy.
The centre's research programme will focus on:
- How business models and economic activity are changing in an interconnected world
- The policy and strategy issues that arise as information becomes omnipresent
- The leadership and management challenges of responding to and capitalising on technologies
- The effect of new technologies and the network economy on productivity and performance.
The research agenda will be aided by an advisory board that includes LBS academics and representatives from sponsoring companies.
A consortium of international companies will sponsor the centre. Andersen and Lucent Technologies will act as founding sponsors.
The school is well positioned to gather the best minds and widest cultural cross-pollination. This year, the LBS graduated 600 MBAs, MScs and PhDs from 57 countries.
John Quelch, LBS dean, said: "The internet bubble may have burst but the network economy is here to stay... we will remain on the cutting edge of global research in this area."
Michael Earl, the centre's director, said: "Researching the rapidly evolving network economy is important to policy-makers and business executives alike, in particular understanding the new sources of value creation and the impact on economic and social life."
Chris Osborne, Andersen's global managing partner of strategy solutions, said that Andersen believed that business and society were entering a period of profound change.
"We expect our relationship with the LBS to give us insights into the nature of that change," he said.
Lucent Technologies is already working with the LBS through the Lucent Global Mobility Innovation Initiative, a $10 million (£6.9 million) grants programme for a number of leading institutions to conduct research into the business impact of convergence.