Tony Briggs

Full Executive Professor, Alberta School of Business - Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management


Full Executive Professor, Alberta School of Business - Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management
(780) 492-4993
3-40D Business Building
11203 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2R6



Anthony R. Briggs is an Executive Professor, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management at the Alberta School of Business and the Executive Director of the eHUB Entrepreneurship Centre

He has led the following initiatives:

Tony holds a Doctor of Business Administration in Information Systems from Boston University’s Graduate School of Management where he studied how some of the world’s top technology entrepreneurs identify and develop breakthrough innovations. He has published in leading journals like Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research. In 2014 he received the Donald and Margaret MacKenzie Undergraduate Distinguished Teaching Award. 

Prior to his doctorate, Tony received an M.S. from MIT Sloan, where he researched the impact of patent constraints on innovation, and also assisted in the design of the Intellectual Property Owners Association and the Licensing Executives Society surveys. He also holds an MBA in Finance from University of British Columbia, and a B.Sc. Hons. in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta.

Tony was a patent licensing officer in Canada and the US, most recently at Harvard Medical School, and has consulted with numerous U.S. SBIR grant companies on patent licensing and technology strategy. His research examines how highly novel information is shared and assessed in uncertain environments. He conducts related work on problems of uncertain property rights and patents.

Personal Interests

I am married to Claire and have three children: Virginia, Rosalie and Pierce.


Research Interests

  • Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation
  • Knowledge management under incomplete information
  • Technology strategy, novelty, and competitive advantage
  • Inductive methods that identify new metrics and artifacts for statistical analysis

Research Overview

My research examines how entrepreneurship and innovation are influenced by three important factors (a) problems of novel information, (b) problems of uncertain property rights, and (c) problems of knowledge accumulation. My work is motivated by my interest in how novel knowledge and resources are shared and assessed under conditions of high uncertainty. This research aims towards achieving a better ex ante understanding of breakthroughs, entrepreneurial opportunities and development.

Problems of Novel Information

The entrepreneurial creation of new relationships, organizations and markets is driven by the evaluation of information that is incomplete, asymmetric, and uncertain. In practice, entrepreneurs share and assess ex-ante, "beforehand", information. Yet the theories used in the entrepreneurship literature predominantly employ ex-post, "after the fact", logics. In my dissertation I used an ex ante logic to examine why entrepreneurs share information, how the sources of information are evaluated, and how the quality of information is assessed. I argue that entrepreneurs share information to form private entrepreneurial knowledge about complementary asset combinations (Briggs, 2008,FER). These novel complementary asset combinations maintain appropriability conditions and ameliorate hazards of information sharing. Second, I show that entrepreneurial discoveries have a unique informational basis, grounded in artifacts and relationships, which allows dissimilar actors to similarly assess multiple and emergent sources of information. A third area addresses how entrepreneurs minimize the vulnerabilities of using information by relying of different types of trust over the period of relationship assessment and selection.

I am currently developing two additional research projects in this area. Using video and expert data on three years of elevator pitches at MIT (Balachandra and Briggs, BCERC presentation), we examine how differences in information sharing affect the entrepreneur's ability to attract early resources. Second, I am exploring the role of selective learning, an ecological learning model, in the evaluation of novelty and development of entrepreneurial knowledge. (Briggs, BCERC presentation).

Problems of Uncertain Property Rights

In my research I take a relational view of knowledge where the problems of novelty are function of the information, but also of differences in the interests of the actors. While I explore this view in some of my entrepreneurship work, my attention to differences in interests is more explicit at organizational boundaries when examining questions of intellectual property and intellectual capital. I highlight two areas where I am pursuing this research interest. First, I have recently completed a 200 year historical study of interests and technological change in the US patent system (Carlile and Briggs, under review). Second, I am developing two datasets on problems of patenting and technology access strategies on organizational innovation outcomes.

Problems of Knowledge Accumulation

Overtime, investments in information result in knowledge accumulation. These accumulations occur at the level of the individual, organization or institution. Since joining the University of Alberta I have, with Jennifer Jennings, initiated a major project studying the impact of the University on its alumni, alumni founded firms, and institutions. While this project has a number of interesting avenues, broadly it seeks to better understand the role of the University and individual educational experiences on the social, environmental and cultural impacts of entrepreneurship and innovation.


Teaching Interests

  • Courses in Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation
  • Electives in Technology Strategy and Knowledge/ Information Management

Teaching Experience

Executive MBA

BUS880 - Business Project Capstone (2015 - current)

BUS860 - Management of Technology and Innovation (2014 - current)


SMO659 - Strategic Management of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, I&E Specialization required course (2010 - current)

SMO600 - From Science to Business, Translational and Entrepreneurial Challenges, I&E Specialization elective (2016)

SMO502 - Introduction to Strategy, MBA elective (2015)


SMO441 - Business Strategy, Capstone  (2010 - 2015 )

Teaching Assistant, Corporate Entrepreneurship (15.369), with Prof. Edward Roberts (MIT-Sloan), Spring 2001, Fall 2001, Fall 2003

Teaching Assistant, Managing the Innovation Process (15.351), with Prof. Jonathon Cummings (MIT-Sloan), Fall 2002 (2 sections)


SEM 330 - Exploring Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This is an interdisciplinary, introductory online course for students interested in understanding innovation and entrepreneurial processes. The course focuses on how people, ideas, resources can be brought together to generate economic, social or cultural impact and change. Topics include entrepreneurial processes, barriers to new venture creation, how to navigate entrepreneurial ecosystems, and social and communicative skills required for resource acquisition. Through approaching entrepreneurial practice with multiple lenses, we will enhance the notion that creativity and innovation can be applied across many spheres of life - including in academic research, nonprofits, government, big companies, and small start-ups. Open to students in any Faculty. Not open to students in first year.

SEM 488 - Selected Topics in Organization Theory

Normally restricted to third- and fourth-year Business students. Prerequisites: SEM 201, 301 or 310 or consent of Department. Additional prerequisites may be required.

SEM 686 - Selected Topics in Behavioral Sciences

Topics may vary from year to year. Students should check with the MBA Office for pre/corequisites of specific sections.

Browse more courses taught by Tony Briggs

Scholarly Activities

Research - (2013) Exploring the Role of Trust in the Deal–Making Process for Early–Stage Technology Ventures

Started: 2013-09-30

The deal–making process requires entrepreneurial actors to create and maintain wide networks of weak ties while simultaneously developing stronger collaborative ties that will enable opportunities to be realized. We currently lack an adequate account of how these activities are integrated by deal–makers under conditions of risk and uncertainty. In an empirical study of deal making in early–stage technology ventures, we find that deal–makers rely on different forms of trust in the early and later phases. Based on this study, we develop a process model and propositions on the role of trust in integrating strong and weak ties in deal making.

Trust and Technology Ventures

Research - (2019 ) Don’t Pitch Like a Girl!: How Gender Stereotypes Influence Investor Decisions

We consider the role that gender-stereotyped behaviors play in investors’ evaluations of men- and women-owned ventures. Contrary to research suggesting that investors exhibit bias against women, we find that being a woman entrepreneur does not diminish interest by investors. Rather, our findings reveal that investors are biased against the display of feminine-stereotyped behaviors by entrepreneurs, men and women alike. Our study finds that investor decisions are driven in part by observations of gender-stereotyped behaviors and the implicit associations with the entrepreneur’s business competency, rather than the entrepreneur’s sex.

Early Venture Investing

Research - (2021) A new tool for policymakers: Mapping cultural possibilities in an emerging AI entrepreneurial ecosystem

We conceptualize emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEEs) using both cultural and material approaches. Then we develop a comparative typology of the cultural and material dimension of an EEE and apply it to an emerging regional ecosystem around artificial intelligence (AI).The implications of the cultural approach and cultural mapping of EEEs are discussed for policy analytics and for EEE policy.

Emerging AI Ecosystem

Research - Briggs & Jennings (2012) The economic impact of the University of Alberta: A comparative approach

Research on the UofA's Impact

I am a co-author (with Dr. Jennifer Jennings) of two studies assessing the University of Alberta's impact

More Information

Research - Briggs & Jennings (2013) Uplifting the whole people: The impact of University of Alberta Alumni through innovation and entrepreneurship

Research on the UofA's Impact

I am a co-author (with Dr. Jennifer Jennings) of two studies assessing the University of Alberta's impact

More Information