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Massimo Garbuio

Photo of Massimo Garbuio

PhD UWA; MA Penn; MSc Lond; BEcCom(Hons)UNIVE
Senior Lecturer

Rm 4103
H70 - Abercrombie Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Telephone +61 2 9036 5046
Fax +61 2 9036 5378
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Dr. Massimo Garbuio is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney. His approach to research and training involves helping others–whether they’re students or seasoned strategists–imagine, ideate and design new sources of value. Massimo is passionate about the human impact that good ideas can make given the right approaches and skill-sets, whether within start-ups seeking a firm footing or organisations envisioning a new future.

Massimo’s research focuses on three broad areas that he deems necessary to do this. First, design and the creative thinking that yields potentially innovative futures, second, the science of evaluating options and making sound strategic decisions and third, how to turn ideas into real value for a broad range of stakeholders, both short-term and long-term. With this research background, Massimo actively participates in shaping public opinion on innovation and its impact on the economy, writing and speaking for the Australian Financial Review, SBS and The Conversation as well as contributing to ‘The Venture Capital Effect: A Report on the Industry’s Impact on the Australian Economy’ published by The Australian Venture Capital Association. He has also published in global industry journals including the California Management Review, Design Studies, The Academy of Management Learning and Education, Long Range Planning and Journal of Management.

Beyond research, Massimo’s teaching approach is highly practical. He is passionate about helping the next generation of entrepreneurs make their first mark, encouraging students to see the whole picture: from how best to generate ideas to the very real mechanics of running start-ups. A number of his students have built valuable real-world start-ups.

Massimo holds a PhD from the University of Western Australia and has also trained at University College London and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Strategic Management Society, the Design Research Society and the Academy of Management as well as is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Management.

Research Interests

Massimo Garbuio’s research essentially aims to solve the question that most occupies the attention of today’s corporates, venture capitalists and innovators – what does it take to turn abstract ideas into industry, business and most of all, human, impact? His research revolves around three areas of focus that combine to effectively answer this dilemma: Design Thinking and the creative processes behind the imagination of new futures, Strategic Decision Making and the cognitive decision processes that lead to option selection and lastly, Innovation – moving beyond the buzzword to being able to make concepts real through appropriate business structures and human interactions.

Massimo Garbuio’s research on Design involves diving deeply into the perspective of the innovator when moving from thick and fuzzy data to vivid hypotheses about the world should be, whether it’s through products, services or systems. He goes a step further than process oriented design thinkers into Design Cognition – the diverse thinking patterns that occur within our brains and harness previous knowledge to generate ideas, whether it’s the power of analogies or the intricacies of problem framing and abductive thinking. However, he places an equal focus on design ‘doing’, how to take the necessary steps to going to market with the right business models and resources.

Massimo’s research into Strategic Decision Making aims to truly understand how great strategists strike the balance between rationality and emotion to break through information overload and make accurate decisions. He connects learnings from behavioural science and case studies from diverse worlds including project management, start-up communities and even Artificial Intelligence to help provide focus amidst infinite options – the challenge of today’s entrepreneur and strategist. He finds that these decision making methods are often transferable to a range of domains facing immense change, shifting power balances between users and rapid technological development, hence his current research into entrepreneurship in healthcare.

Lastly, research on Innovation involves the practicalities of how to execute promising ideas amidst the demands of the modern corporation’s vast array of stakeholders. Massimo takes a highly practical approach, moving from how innovators reframe real-life problems to how they bring together the financial, human, physical and digital resources to bring true solutions to life. Often this involves understanding how companies approach innovation portfolios and how they might better deliver radical value while meeting short-term business objectives.

Overall Massimo’s research aims to equip students, other researchers and managers with a holistic perspective on how to bring ideas from the realm of the intangible into human impact.

Selected publications


Journal Articles

Flyvbjerg B, Ansar A, Budzier A, Buhl S, Cantarelli C, Garbuio M, Glenting C, Skamris Holm M, Lovallo D, Lunn D, and et al (2018) Five Things You Should Know about Cost Overrun Transportation Research Part A, In Press.

Garbuio M, Dong A, Lin N, Tschang F, and Lovallo D (2018) Demystifying the Genius of Entrepreneurship: How Design Cognition Can Help Create the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs Academy of Management Learning and Education, 17 (1), 41-61. [More Information]


Wilden R, Garbuio M, Angeli F, and Mascia D (2018) Entrepreneurship in Healthcare; Routledge, Abingdon, United Kingdom.

Conference Proceedings

Gheno G, and Garbuio M (2018) An evolution of bicluster for marketing analysis 51st Academy of Marketing Conference (AM2018); Academy of Marketing, London, UK.

Guenther A, Garbuio M, Eisenbart B, and Dong A (2018) Assessment of Abductive Reasoning in Strategy Strategic Management Society (SMS) Special Conference 2018; Strategic Management Society, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Vazquez Hernandez C, Garbuio M, and Szkudlarek B (2018) Intuition in Innovation Management XXIX ISPIM Innovation Conference; ISPIM Innovation Conference, Manchester, UK.


Journal Article

Garbuio M, and Lovallo D (2017) Does organizational politics kill company growth? Review of International Business and Strategy, 27 (4), 410-433. [More Information]


Journal Articles

Dong A, Garbuio M, and Lovallo D (2016) Generative Sensing: A design perspective on the microfoundations of sensing capabilities California Management Review, 58 (4), 97-117. [More Information]

Dong A, Garbuio M, and Lovallo D (2016) Generative sensing in design evaluation Design Studies, 45, 68-91. [More Information]

Eisenbart B, Garbuio M, Mascia D, and Morandi F (2016) Does scheduling matter? When unscheduled decision making results in more effective meetings Journal of Strategy and Management, 9 (1), 15-38. [More Information]

Conference Proceeding

Gheno G, and Garbuio M (2016) ECrfBimax Algorithm: Using Bicluster Analysis to Improve Reference Class Forecasting Royal Statistical Society (RSS) 2016 International Conference; Royal Statistical Society, London, United Kingdom.

Book Chapter

Dong A, Garbuio M, and Lovallo D (2016) Robust Design Review Conversations Analyzing Design Review Conversations; Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, 77-95.


Journal Articles

Garbuio M, Lovallo D, and Sibony O (2015) Evidence Doesn't Argue for Itself: The Value of Disinterested Dialogue in Strategic Decision-Making Long Range Planning, 48 (6), 361-380. [More Information]

Garbuio M, Lovallo D, Porac J, and Dong A (2015) A Design Cognition Perspective on Strategic Option Generation Advances in Strategic Management, 32, 437-465. [More Information]

Book Chapters

Garbuio M (2015) Experimental Evidence The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management; Palgrave Macmillan, London, United Kingdom. [More Information]

Garbuio M, and Lovallo D (2015) Design Thinking The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management; Palgrave Macmillan, Melbourne. [More Information]


Book Chapter

Garbuio M, and Lovallo D (2014) Delusion and Deception in Large Infrastructure Projects: Two Models for Explaining and Preventing Executive Disaster Megaproject Planning and Management: Essential Readings; Edward Elgar Publishing, London, United Kingdom.

Newspaper Article

Flyvbjerg B, Lovallo D, and Garbuio M (2014) Better forecasting for large capital projects McKinsey on Finance Number 52, Autumn 2014.


Book Chapter

Garbuio M, Lovallo D, and Ketencioglu E (2013) Behavioral Economics and Strategic Decision Making The Oxford Handbook of Managerial Economics; Oxford University Press, New York, United States, 179-200. [More Information]


Journal Article

Garbuio M, Wilcox King A, and Lovallo D (2011) Looking Inside: Psychological Influences on Structuring a Firm's Portfolio of Resources Journal of Management, 37 (5), 1444-1463. [More Information]


Book Chapter

Garbuio M, Lovallo D, and Horn J (2010) Overcoming biases in M&A: A process perspective Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions-Volume 9; Emerald Group Publishing, Bingley United Kingdom, 83-104. [More Information]


Journal Articles

Flyvbjerg B, Garbuio M, and Lovallo D (2009) Delusion and Deception in Large Infrastructure Projects: Two Models for Explaining and Preventing Executive Disaster California Management Review, 51 (2), 170-193.

Garbuio M, Lovallo D, and Viguerie P (2009) How companies make good decisions: McKinsey Global Survey Results The McKinsey Quarterly, January.

Garbuio M, Lovallo D, and Viguerie P (2009) How companies make good decisions The McKinsey Quarterly.

Conference Proceeding

Garbuio M, Lovallo D, and King A (2009) A beliefs-preferences-attributions model of strategic decision making Strategic Management Society SMS 29th Annual International Conference 2009; Strategic Management Society.


Journal Article

Garbuio M, Lovallo D, and Viguerie P (2007) How Companies Spend their Money: McKinsey Global Survey Results The McKinsey Quarterly, June.

Selected grants



Recent Units Taught

  • BUSS4502 International Business Honours A

  • BUSS4503 International Business Honours B

  • IBUS2104 Entrepreneurship and Innovation

  • IBUS3103 Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Newsroom articles

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In a recent study, Massimo Garbuio and a team of researchers look at four strategies of design cognition – framing, analogical reasoning, abduction and mental simulation – to train students in opportunity creation.

1:49 mins Play video   Watch on YouTube

When developing a strategy for engaging with start-ups, Dr Massimo Garbuio states that big companies need to have the right mindset to successfully capture the start-up attitude to expose untapped assets and fuel innovation.

1:55 mins Play video   Watch on YouTube

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