The Altruistic Corporation
Start-up companies tend to be a lot more democratic. Even the ones who have grown still have a feeling of adventure, experimentation and freedom. Indeed many authors now talk about reinventing organisations with more soul, purpose, and humanity.
Isaac Getz, a professor at the ESCP Europe School of Business in Paris, is the co-author of Freedom, Inc. (Crown Business, 2010) and author of L’entreprise Altruiste (Albin Michel, 2019). He has conceptualised the notions of the freedom-based company, and the liberating leader – one who believes that a workplace based on respect and freedom is a more natural environment for employees than one based on mistrust and control. His latest thinking champions what he describes as “the altruistic corporation”.
The Big Nine
Every other article you read is talking about AI. And mostly about the relationships between technology and humans. Not just about whether humans be replaced and what will we do, but how they work positively together. Yet so much is in the hands of companies like Alibaba and Amazon, Apple and Google, Facebook and Tencent.
Amy Webb is professor of strategic foresight at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and describes herself as a quantitative futurist. Her latest book The Big Nine: How The Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity (PublicAffairs, 2019) fires a warning shot about the implications of artificial intelligence, and the overwhelming power of the “big nine” corporations in the US and China that are turning the human-machine relationship on its head.
Starting up is easy, scaling up is hard. So many entrepreneurs talk about the challenges of turning a cool idea into a successful commercial business. Scaling can be painful. Do it faster.
Reid Hoffman is co-founder of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock, Hoffman is the author (with Chris Yeh) Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies (Crown, 2018), which argues that a speed-to-scale strategy – “blitzscaling” – is the secret to capturing the market. Hoffman offers a specific set of practices for startups to create and manage dizzying growth, by prioritizing speed over efficiency in an environment of uncertainty. He is also co-author of The Start-up of You (with Ben Casnocha, Random House, 2013) and The Alliance (with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, HBR Press, 2014).
Healthcare is one of the most exciting sectors right now. From Devi Shetty’s incredible reinvention of healthcare in India to Anne Wojcicki’s data-driven future in Silicon Valley, new health thinking is everywhere.
Jos de Blok is the founder of Buurtzog, a pioneering healthcare organization in the Netherlands that has expanded into over 20 countries. The Buurtzorg model is based on revolutionary nurse-empowered holistic care that has the highest client satisfaction in its segment, and employee engagement that far outstrips any Dutch organization of its size. Cost savings to the Dutch health care system have been estimated at 40 percent. Buurtzog scaled quickly, from one to 850 teams in just 10 years, and collaboration has been key to its global success. The self-managed model has applications beyond healthcare.
Creative destruction has been a popular theme in recent years, building on the disruption bandwagon. Just like Alex Osterwalder and others now focus on the need to sustain progress, the real challenge is how to sustain innovation longer term.
Gary Pisano is the author of Creative Construction: The DNA of Sustained Innovation (Public Affairs, 2019), which examines how larger enterprises can nurture capabilities fortransformative innovation. While innovation is traditionally associated with disruptive startups, Pisano, a Harvard Business School professor, argues, there are ways for larger, established firms to gain advantage by innovation, too.
Having explored constructionism we are back to destructing, but this time with a focus on those things we love to worship called best practices. So many people cringe at the idea of best. Surely you can do better, or different?
Too many organizations have developed bad habits, contend Deloitte Consulting duo Steve Goldbach and Geoff Tuff in their incendiary book, Detonate: Why – And How – Corporations Must Blow Up Best Practices (and bring a beginner’s mind) To Survive (Wiley, 2018). They propose concepts such as Shunryu Suzuki’s “beginner’s mind” to create four strategic “detonate” principles, and challenge seven existing best practice beliefs.
Driving Innovation from Within
Innovation is inspired by the future and by customers, it is enabled by technology and partnerships, but its kernel is within the organisation, be it in using assets in new ways, or new ideas and experiments.
Kaihan Krippendorff is the author of Driving Innovation from Within: A Guide for Internal Entrepreneurs (Columbia University Press, 2019), and founder of the consulting firm, Outthinker. Outthinker boasts that the growth strategies and innovations it has created have energized countless organizations, teams, and individuals and generated over $2.5 billion in revenue for Fortune 500 companies.
The Fearless Organization
So many business leaders are paralysed by fear. Worse are the subservient C suiters around them, and eventually it spreads to everyone. The fear of screwing up, of standing out, of not being liked. To make progress, we need to be fearless.
Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson is best known for her pioneering work on teaming, innovation and organisation safety. Her latest book The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth (Wiley, 2018), explores the link between psychological safety and high performance, and demonstrates the importance of engagement and candour in today’s knowledge economy. Edmondson won the 2017 Thinkers50 Talent Award.
Giving Voice to Values
Business has finally realised that it is about more than making stuff and making money. Purpose, meaning, ethics, beliefs, culture … these are the big value-driven words of today’s organisations.
Mary Gentile, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, is the founder and director of Giving Voice to Values, which has been piloted in over 995 business schools and organizations worldwide. The curriculum offers practical tools for putting values into practice in the workplace. She is also author of the award-winning book Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right (YUP, 2010).
Growth is obvious. It’s the number one priority of most businesses. You want it to be profitable, but you can rarely shrink your way to greatness. Yet so many executives lose site of growth. It’s the only frame to lead.
Tiffani Bova is the growth and innovation evangelist at the US cloud-based software company Salesforce. Her breakthrough concept (and debut book), Growth IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices that Will Make or Break Your Business (Portfolio, 2018), contends there are ten simple paths to growth. She demonstrates the opportunities and pitfalls of each one, and shows that a successful growth strategy relies on choosing the right sequence and combination
Back to that theme of people and technology again, this time putting the human first, and how to create better organisations, better jobs, and better solutions.
Paul Daugherty and James Wilson for are at the cutting edge of AI research and development at the global consulting firm Accenture. In Human+Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI (HBR Press, 2018), they demonstrate that the essence of the AI paradigm shift is the transformation of all business processes within an organization, and they provide a leader’s guide to success in the new age of AI.
Icon showed us how to print a new house for $4000 in 24 hours, be they as disaster relief shelters or just because you fancy a change. 3D printing will rapidly transform every business, on demand, personal, and fast.
A professor at the Tuck Business School, Richard D’Aveni won the 2017 Thinkers50 Strategy Award. He coined the term “hypercompetition” and is the author of a series of books which have shaped modern strategy. D’Aveni’s 2018 book, The Pan-Industrial Revolution: How New Manufacturing Titans Will Transform the World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018), describes the rise of 3D printing technology, and the dramatic effect it will have on business, the world economy, and the way we live.
Innovation needs to quantified to matter. Ideas are the starting point, creativity to the fuel, but innovations by definition need to solve a problem at a profit. A relevant problem, and with relevant value.
Jeff Dyer, Nathan Furr and Curtis Lefrandt are the authors of Innovation Capital: How to Compete – and Win – Like the World’s Most Innovative Leaders (HBR Press, 2019). Dyer, a Wharton and Brigham Young professor, Furr, a professor at INSEAD, and Lefrandt, co-founder of the innovation consulting firm Innovators’ DNA, contend that successful innovation is about more than creativity – an idea needs to be “commercialized” – and outline the techniques and tools for developing “innovation capital”.
The Leader’s Mindset
The mindset is much more than a direction, an attitude, a belief. It gives business an alignment of purpose and approach, to achieve progress together.
Terence Mauri is entrepreneur in residence at London Business School, and is the author of The Leader’s Mindset: How To Win in The Age of Disruption (Morgan James Publishing, 2016). An expert on the future of leadership, he coined the term Mindset 2.0, which he describes as “a future-proof leadership mindset and set of behaviours, that turn disruptors into opportunities”. Future leadership, he says, is the ability to reinvent the future today, and embrace early trends and weak signals as opportunities.
Copying is so often seen as bad. We like to be original, different, and inventive. But if something already exists somewhere, then why not embrace, enhance and adopt it in a relative, authentic way?
Howard Yu is professor of strategic management and innovation at IMD in Switzerland, where he specializes in technological innovation, with a focus on how established firms can transform themselves to sustain new growth. He is the author of Leap: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied (Hatchette, 2018). In it, Yu explains how companies can and should avoid copycat competition.
The Long-Term Stock Exchange
Many people in business are confused by the pursuit of value. Shareholders or stakeholders, profit or purpose, value or values. Of course its not one or the other, they can all align and co-exist in a long-term pursuit.
Eric Ries is best known for his highly influential lean startup methodology, Ries has continued his mission to help companies thrive in the 21st century by creating the Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE). Designed to provide modern companies with the tools and investment for long-term success, the LTSE aims to disrupt US stock exchanges, and blaze a new trail for companies to build their businesses and generate value for decades to come.