“Innovation” is difficult, yet the word itself is so overly used that the meaning of it has become hollow. Some people consider being “innovative” as being “lucky.” Yet for Clay Christensen, a business professor at Harvard, innovation is about finding the “jobs that need to be done” in our lives. In this interview with CKGSB Knowledge, he argues that companies should not take the task as akin to gambling. Instead, companies should adopt a more focused, process-oriented approach of finding the “jobs” that customers need to do in their lives, and then create products that make those jobs easier.
Business has changed, specifically the relationship between management and employees. Once upon a time, companies offered careers—long-term, stable employment wherein the employee filled a narrowly-defined role. In past generations, it was common to spend an entire working lifetime at a single company, but now most millennials are ‘less loyal’ to employers, they go where their talents are valued. Edward E. Lawler III, Distinguished Professor of Business at the University of Southern California, expounds on the new model, which he terms “talent management”, a new paradigm focuses on the critical needs of a business, and finding the right people that can fulfill them.
Companies today are less enthusiastic about corporate strategy. Strategy as a way of thinking has become “a lost discipline”, as phrased by Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and where he still teaches. In this interview, he points out that having an “emergent strategy” does not mean “don’t have a strategy” and we should get away from strategy as planning. He also explains “integrative thinking” and “design thinking” and how to use them in daily lives and help decision-making.
We make decisions every day. Most of them are small: Should I buy that shirt? Others demand more thought: Is marriage right for me? The common thread running between all of them is that we are unequipped to make sense of any of it. The world in which the human race came of age—one of ferocious predators and unforgiving nature—is no longer the world we live in. For the risks we face now, we are out of date. Dan Ariely, author of bestsellers like Predictably Irrational, has built a career mapping the peculiarities of our innermost decision-making foibles, and offers insight in guarding against them.
Throughout our careers, we encounter a range of management styles, with mixed results. But what is it that distinguishes a regular boss from a truly great boss? Why is it that some help us to reach new heights, while others make us feel constrained? These are deceptively simple questions with many complex answers, the latest of which comes from Sydney Finkelstein. In his new book Superbosses, Finkelstein takes as his guide figures from disparate industries, including jazz musician Miles Davis and newspaper editor Gene Roberts, and examines the traits of those who have spawned extensive networks of talent, the titular superbosses, and ultimately brought greater success to themselves.
Henry Mintzberg was once called the enfant terrible of management thinking. It’s not hard to see why. The author of books like The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning and Strategy Safari, Mintzberg has always put forth radical ideas that sometimes rub people the wrong way: he wrote Managers Not MBAs, a scathing critique of business schools and MBA programs, while working at a business school. More recently, Mintzberg has trained his guns on an unlikely topic: society and politics. His latest book, Rebalancing Society, talks about how dangerous the lack of balance between the public, private and the plural sector (civil society) really is.
The sharing economy has gone from being a niche idea most familiar to Silicon Valley insiders to one that has reshaped our lives—you’d be hard pressed to find a city dweller who hasn’t at least taken an Uber or stayed in an Airbnb. But for all that expansion, the ideas underpinning it are not so well understood, a fact routinely demonstrated in the often fraught debates concerning what the sharing economy means for workers’ rights, traditional incumbents and the role of regulation. Rachel Botsman, co-author of What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live, explains the intricacies of this still nascent phenomenon.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle that stands between you and your goal is your wayward mind. You often start something new, but end up not finishing it. Think of the number of times you took a gym membership. Or vowed to eat healthy. Or decided on a career choice. What happened? So why do we deviate from our well-chosen and well-thought out goals? Francesca Gino, a behavioral scientist and the author of Sidetracked, researched this problem and found the psychological drivers behind our inability to stick to a plan of action. In this interview, she suggests ways to identify these drivers—and combat them.
Linda Hill, author of Collective Genius, believes leaders should create a context in which people are willing and able to innovate
Jim Collins, author of classics like Built to Last and Good to Great, on great companies, managing in a networked world and leadership