I’m a storyteller dedicated to discovering the people from all walks of life who are creating the future based on the their original ideas and bold ideals.
I’m passionate about the great outdoors (climbing its heights, diving into its depths, and doing my part to make sure we all keep breathing in its fresh air), health and good food (sweaty yoga, digging in the dirt, experimenting in the kitchen), reading between the lines, and learning something new every day.
I always try to follow the advice Don Juan gave Carlos Castaneda: to do everything as if it were the only thing in the world that mattered, while all the time knowing that it doesn’t matter at all.
So much of the conversation in business is about power: what you control (“I run a $200 million piece of the business”), who you control (“My 350 direct reports”), and how you control (org charts, pay grades, policy manuals). Of course, power and control are spectacularly subpar strategies for unleashing human imagination, initiative, and passion—all those qualities every organization needs in abundance in order to thrive in the Creative Economy.
For all of the billions organizations invest each year in “leadership development,” a criminal amount of human potential is left on the table. Training and development programs almost universally focus factory-like on inputs and outputs: absorb curriculum, check a box; learn a skill, advance a rung; submit an assessment, fix a problem. Flavor-of-the-month remedies, off-the-shelf programs, immersions, and excursions stuff people full of competencies and skills but produce astonishingly few great leaders.
The fact is, truly gifted leaders are rare. Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs—all sui generis . We celebrate them because they are the exception to the rule. That doesn’t stop us from constructing a model of executive perfection that borders on fantasy. The thousands of books, models, and gurus that make up the leadership industry are remarkably in sync when it comes to the qualities of a great leader: confident yet humble, creative yet analytical, flexible yet focused, bold yet prudent, decisive yet reflective, visionary yet practical, demanding yet empathetic.
Who on earth embodies all of these estimable (and contradictory) traits? No single person, of course. And that’s exactly the point. We live in a world where change is too fast, relentless, and surprising and...
Remember that classic New Yorker cartoon with Rover sitting in front of a computer? The caption read, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” Well, on the web, no one knows you’re a senior vice president either. That’s why every leader is going to have to learn how to get things done in a world where authority is the reciprocal of followership.
Today, we’re delighted to announce the ten winners of the Innovating Innovation Challenge, the first leg of this year’s HBR/McKinsey M-Prize for Management Innovation. But first, we’d like to acknowledge, again, the 24 finalists , whose superb stories and hacks made for some wrenching decision making. A huge thank you to all of the challengers with the imagination and daring to take on the status quo—and the generosity to share what they’ve learned in the process.
As human beings, we are born with a creative impulse—with an innate desire to use our imagination to better the world around us. Yet, all too often, our organizations end up being less innovative than the people within them. The dozens of in-the-trenches innovators who responded to our Innovating Innovation Challenge embody the first assertion—and are working relentlessly and fearlessly to overturn the second.