Prof Alan Pilkington

Prof Alan Pilkington

Alan is an internationally recognised Professor of Technology Management. He joined WBS from Copenhagen Business School in 2013. He has many publications including highly cited articles in top journals such as Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management and California Management Review. He is an acknowledged expert on innovation in lean management, the application of bibliometric techniques, and new product development. 

He is also an experienced international teacher and executive coach, and co-author of a major international textbook published by McGraw-Hill. Alan is also a professional engineer and is engaged in developing the profession as well as consulting for international firms.


PhD, Aston University; BEng (Hons), Leicester Polytechnic

Professional Registration

Chartered Engineer (C.Eng, UK Engineering Council), European Engineer (Eur Ing, FEANI)


IET, IEEE (Senior Member), British Academy of Management, European Operations Management Association, Production and Operations Management Society (USA)

Alan’s work encompasses the application of lean knowledge, principles, and disciplines related to the analysis, design, implementation and operation of all elements associated with an enterprise. The view is one of continuous improvement and continued adaptation as firms, processes and markets develop along their life cycles. 

This total systems approach follows lean principles and encompasses the traditional areas of research and development, product design, operations and manufacturing as well as information systems and strategic management. 

In addition, he has become a leading expert on the use of bibliometric techniques to study both the development of academic disciplines and also network impacts on innovation. By examining the co-citation networks, a subject can be explored to understand the constituent elements and how these change over time. In terms of innovation and technology management, using network data on collaboration and patent technology linkages allows a true understanding of how technologies are developed amongst a group of firms or disparate fields.

These projects involve international coordination and cooperation with other researchers at:

  • CBS, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • NUS, Singapore
  • ETH Zurich
  • Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Alan’s current and past projects can be grouped under the following headings:

Technology and Innovation Management

Innovation is the product of individual, organisational and knowledge trajectories. By modelling the relationships between observed typologies within each of these spheres, conditions for successful innovation can be identified and failures explained. This work is leading to tools which will help managers define successful and achievable technology strategies. This includes the key inventor project to study the select group of simultaneously highly productive and influential innovators.

Operations Management

A major continuing dimension of my work is exploring the relationship between corporate and manufacturing strategies in the lean journey. I have published many articles on the emergence and adoption of lean/best practice manufacturing approaches and their application to new product development and mass customisation. The main message for managers coming from this work is to prioritise the alignment of operations and corporate strategies in their lean journey. Current work concerns the complex decisions around outsourcing design and manufacture.

Full project details and lists of associated publication and report outputs can be found at: 

  • Centre for Digital Business Research
  • IDEaS