George Day

George Day
  • Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor Emeritus and Faculty Emeritus in Residence of the Mack Institute of Innovation Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    767 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    3730 Walnut Street
    University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: competitive strategies in global markets, innovation and organic growth, marketing management, strategic-making processes and methods, foresight capabilities and organizational change.

Links: CV


George S. Day is the Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor Emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  He founded the Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the Wharton School, where he is presently Faculty Emeritus in Residence. He was previously the Executive Director of the Marketing Science Institute and is currently an Academic Trustee.

He has consulted to numerous corporations such as General Electric, IBM, Metropolitan Life, Unilever, E.I. DuPont de Nemours, W.L. Gore and Associates, Coca-Cola, Boeing, LG Corp., Best Buy, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Medtronic.  He is the past chairman of the American Marketing Association and serves on Boards of Directors including the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Zoological Society of Philadelphia and the Lower Merion Conservancy. He is also the co-chair of the Ag Sustainability Center of the Sonoma County Winegrowers and a Trustee of the Marketing Science Institute.

Dr. Day has authored twenty books in the areas of marketing and strategic management, including: Peripheral Vision:  Detecting the Weak Signals that Can Make or Break Your Company (with Paul Schoemaker) 2006, Strategy from the Outside-In: Profiting from Customer Value (with Christine Moorman) 2010, and Innovation Prowess:  Leadership Strategies for Accelerating Growth, 2013.  His most recent book is See Sooner/Act Faster: How Vigilant Leaders Navigate Digital Turbulence (with Paul Schoemaker) 2019.

He has won ten best articles award and one best book award, and two of his articles were among the top 25 most influential articles in marketing science in the past 25 years. He was honored with the Charles Coolidge Parlin Award in 1994, the Paul D. Converse Award in 1996, the Sheth Foundation award in 2003, and the Mahajan Award for career contributions to strategy in 2001. In 2004, he received the AMA/Irwin/McGraw-Hill Distinguished Marketing Educator Award.  In 2015 he was chosen as one of eleven “Legends in Marketing,” and in 2017 he was awarded the William L. Wilkie, “Marketing for a Better World” award. In 2020 he was awarded the Sheth Medal, a bi-annual award for exceptional contributions to marketing scholarship and practice.

November 2020

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  • P. J. H. Schoemaker and George Day (2021), Preparing Organizations for Greater Turbulence, California Management Review.

    Abstract: Vigilant organizations excel at seeing looming threats and embryonic opportunities sooner than rivals, which prepares them to act faster when needed. Four drivers distinguish vigilant from vulnerable organizations, which can be used to design a roadmap to improve organizational acuity and preparedness. The fulcrum of these changes rests with the leadership team by demonstrating a strong commitment to vigilance at all levels, and reinforcing this by making targeted investments in foresight capabilities. These strategic moves also need to be supported by corresponding changes in the strategy-making process and by ensuring accountability and coordination of vigilance activities throughout the enterprise.

  • George Day and Karissa Kruse (2020), How vigilant leaders prepare for a turbulent future, Strategy & Leadership.

  • George Day, P. J. H. Schoemaker, Sue Todd (2020), IS YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN READY FOR WHAT’S NEXT?, Supply Chain Management Review .

  • George Day (2020), The Yin and Yang of Outside-In Thinking, Industrial Marketing Management.

    Abstract: An outside-in approach to making a marketing strategy starts with the leadership team stepping outside the boundaries and constraints of the organization as it is, and looking first to the market for guidance: How and why are he needs and behaviors of current and prospective customers changing? What can we do to solve their problems and help them succeed? What new competitors are poised to meet these needs? What moves by others in the ecosystem could help or hurts us? Conversely, inside-out approaches start with the existing resources and capabilities of the organization and ask how they can best be applied and leveraged. Superior strategies emerge when these two approaches are integrated in an iterative, learning process.

  • George Day (2020), How Vigilant Companies Gain an Edge in Turbulent Times, MIT Sloan Management Review.

    Abstract: When uncertainty increases, top performers stay ahead by knowing where to to look for warning signs and how to explore their environment.

  • George Day and Paul Schoemaker (2020), Navigating Digital Turbulence, Management and Business Review.

    Abstract: When navigating the uncertainties of digital technologies, vigilant firms gain an edge by paying close attention to what is happening on their periphery and fostering organizational agility, so they are ready to act when the time is right. The authors examine three key principles that underpin organizational vigilance and show how Adobe's leaders used them to great effect.

  • George Day and Gregory Shea (2020), Changing the Work of Innovation: A Systems Approach, California Management Review.

    Abstract: To achieve faster organic growth, firms need to change their prevailing narrative about innovation from growth denying to growth enabling. This requires changing the system through which the work of innovation gets done. This article describes the work systems model of organizational change and shows how a leadership team can select the most influential elements of the system to make a desired narrative a reality. Four elements of the work system are especially effective at encouraging a growth-affirming narrative: leadership commitment to innovation talent, prudent risk-taking, customer-centric innovation, and aligning metrics and incentives.

  • George Day (2020), Metrics for Managing Innovation: Lessons From Growth Leaders, Mack Institute for Innovation Management.

  • P. J. H. Schoemaker, George Day, Govi Rao (2020), Converting strategic ambiguity to competitive advantage: How Philips Lighting solved the challenge of LED technology disruption, Strategy & Leadership, 48 (2), pp. 10-17.

  • P. J. H. Schoemaker and George Day (2019), Determinants of organizational vigilance: Leadership, foresight, and adaptation in three sectors, Futures Foresight Science, 2 (1). 10.1002/ffo2.24

    Abstract: Why are vigilant organizations better at developing foresight than their rivals and acting faster on the insights and alerts? Four attributes were hypothesized to explain the difference between vigilant and vulnerable organizations: (a) a leadership commitment to sensing and acting early on signals of change, (b) strategic investments in foresight abilities, (c) a flexible approach to incorporating uncertainty in their strategy processes, and (d) clear accountability and coordination for sharing information and acting on weak signals. This conceptual model was tested with survey responses from 345 organizational leaders representing three sectors of the economy: international companies, US credit unions, and American foundations. The survey assessed key components of the above constructs and our regression models explained close to half of the variance in organizational vigilance scores relative to competitors. The most important of the four factors above was investment in foresight (for each sector), followed by leadership commitment. The relative importance of strategy and accountability factors varied by sector as well as organizational size.


Past Courses


    Business success is increasingly driven by a firm's ability to create and capture value through innovation. Thus, the processes used by firms to develop innovations, the choices they make regarding how to commercialize their innovations, the changes they make to their business models to adapt to the dynamic environment, and the strategies they use to position and build a dominate competitive position are important issues facing firms. In MGMT. 892, you will learn to address these issues through an action learning approach. MGMT. 892 is a 1.0-credit course conducted in the spirit of an independent study. By working on consulting projects for leading global companies, you will develop and then apply your knowledge about innovation management and help these firms better understand the challenges and opportunities posed by emerging technologies and markets.


    This course views marketing as both a general management responsibility and an orientation of an organization that helps one to create, capture and sustain customer value. The focus is on the business unit and its network of channels, customer relationships, and alliances. Specifically, the course attempts to help develop knowledge and skills in the application of advanced marketing frameworks, concepts, and methods for making strategic choices at the business level.


    RETAIL ECOSYSTEM ACTION LEARNING PROJECTS: This course offers graduate students from Wharton and other Penn schools an opportunity to work on real-world projects for companies in the retail industry and in the wider retail ecosystem. It requires the exploration and analysis of actual business issues or opportunities identified by sponsoring/client companies, as well as the formulation of recommendations. It combines 1) academic principles, 2) application of prior business knowledge to the project at hand, and 3) a solutions-oriented mentality. In addition to supervised project work and regular updates to the corporate client/project sponsor, the course involves classroom meetings and discussions on topics pertaining to the projects. While this course focuses on "marketing" topics, projects might also incorporate topics from related disciplines such as operations, management of innovation & technology, data analytics, international management, design, and real estate. Indeed, the goal will be to constitute interdisciplinary teams from Wharton and other relevant Penn graduate schools. ADVANCED STUDY PROJECT (GENERAL): The principal objectives of this course are to provide opportunities for undertaking an in-depth study of a marketing problem and to develop the students' skills in evaluating research and designing marketing strategies for a variety of management situations. Selected projects can touch on any aspect of marketing as long as this entails the elements of problem structuring, data collection, data analysis, and report preparation. The course entails a considerable amount of independent work. (Strict library-type research is not appropriate) Class sessions are used to monitor progress on the project and provide suggestions for the research design and data analysis. The last portion of the course often includes an oral presentation by each group to the rest of the class and project sponsors. Along with marketing, the projects integrate other elements of management such as finance, production, research and development, and human resources.


    A student contemplating an independent study project must first find a faculty member who agrees to supervise and approve the student's written proposal as an independent study (MKTG 899). If a student wishes the proposed work to be used to meet the ASP requirement, he/she should then submit the approved proposal to the MBA adviser who will determine if it is an appropriate substitute. Such substitutions will only be approved prior to the beginning of the semester.


Awards and Honors

  • William L. Wilkie “Marketing for a Better World” Award, 2017
  • Selected as one of the eleven Legends in Marketing, 2015
  • AMA/Berry Prize for the Best Book on Marketing, 2012 Description

    Winner (with Christine Moorman) for Strategy from the Outside-In (McGraw-Hill 2010)

  • IBM Award for Best Article published in the Journal of Service Research, 2007 Description

    "The Path to Customer Centricity" with Denise Shah, Roland Rust, A. Parasuraman and Richard Staelin.

  • Robert D. Buzzell Marketing Science Institute Best Paper Award, 2007 Description

    Award for Aligning the Organization with the Market (MSI Report 05-110).

  • JM/Sheth Foundation Award, 2004 Description

    For the best article published in the Journal of Marketing that has made a long term contribution to the field of Marketing

  • AMA/McGraw-Hill Irwin Distinguished Marketing Educator, 2004 Description

    AMA/McGraw-Hill Irwin Distinguished Marketing Educator

  • Erskine Fellow, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2002 Description

    Erskine Fellow, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Vijay Mahajan Award, 2001 Description

    For career contributions to marketing strategy, awarded by the American Marketing Association

  • Excellence in Teaching Award, 1998 Description

    From the Wharton Graduate Association

  • Finalist, Anvil Award, 1992 Description

    For teaching excellence at The Wharton School, 1992, 1997, 1998

  • Honored with the establishment of the George S. Day Doctoral Dissertation Award, 1997 Description

    For research on interfunctional issues

  • Paul D. Converse Award, 1996 Description

    For outstanding contributions to the development of the science of
    marketing, awarded by the American Marketing Association.

  • Marketing Science Institute Award, 1995 Description

    For best working paper “The Capabilities of Market-Driven Organizations”

  • Harold H. Maynard Award, 1994 Description

    For most significant contribution to marketing theory and thought for the article “The Capabilities of Market-Driven Organizations.” This article was also the runner-up for the Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation Award.

  • Charles Coolidge Parlin Award, 1994 Description

    In recognition of outstanding contributions to marketing and marketing education

  • Top 20 articles that have most affected the practice of marketing science, 1994 Description

    INFORMS Society for Marketing Science picked my article "The Capabilities of Market-Driven Organizations" which appeared in the Journal of Marketing in 1994 as one of the Top 20 articles that have most affected the practice of marketing science.

  • Master of Arts (Honorary), University of Pennsylvania, 1992
  • Harold H. Maynard Award, 1989 Description

    For most significant contribution to marketing theory and thought, Jointly with Mary Lambkin for article on “Evolutionary Processes in Competitive Markets: Beyond the Life Cycle.”

  • Runner-up for Alpha Kappa Psi Award, 1980 Description

    In 1980 and 1988

  • Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation Award, 1988 Description

    For most significant contribution to marketing practice, Jointly with Robin Wensley for article on “Assessing Advantage: A Framework for Diagnosing Competitive Superiority.”

  • Recognition Award for 10 years of contributions to management education in the General Electric Company, 1988
  • Hewlett-Packard Award, 1987 Description

    For outstanding contributions to the use of computers in the field
    of business education

  • Runner-up for Harold H. Maynard Award, 1980
  • Runner-up for Alpha Kappa Psi Award, 1980 Description

    For ACustomer-Oriented Approaches to Identifying Product Markets,” with Allan D. Shocker and Ray Srivastava

  • Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation Award, 1978 Description

    For most significant contribution to marketing practice, 1978, for article on “Diagnosing the Product Portfolio”

  • Beta Gamma Sigma Dissertation prize, 1969 Description

    With publication of Buyer Attitudes and Brand Choice Behavior in 1970 by Free Press

  • Ford Foundation Dissertation Research Award, Columbia University, 1966
  • Ford Foundation Doctoral Study Awards, Columbia University, 1964-1965 Description

    1964 and 1965

  • Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Merit Award, University of Western Ontario, 1960

In the News

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Latest Research

P. J. H. Schoemaker and George Day (2021), Preparing Organizations for Greater Turbulence, California Management Review.
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In the News

Navigating Digital Turbulence

Wharton’s George Day and Paul Schoemaker examine three key principles that underpin organizational vigilance and show how Adobe’s leaders used them to great effect.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 11/16/2020
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Wharton Magazine

Building a 21st Century Institute

The Mack Institute for Innovation Management has become a hub for innovation-related research at the Wharton School and beyond.

Wharton Magazine - 07/29/2013