Building the Brooklyn Bridge

October 19, 2010

Emily Roebling was a working mother ahead of her time. Her father-in-law—a serious, humorless, severe man—was the visionary who designed the Brooklyn Bridge. Enlisted into service after her father-in-law was killed and her husband injured, she eventually was considered the bridge’s chief engineer. It took 14 years and the pretense that her husband was still in charge. Here’s how she defied naysayers who called the bridge a “wild experiment.”

Facebook co-founder’s global mission

October 18, 2010

What do you do after you’ve already created the world’s largest social network? Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes saw a community of people wanting to help victims of natural disasters. His vision—call it Philanthropy 2.0—was to speed the pace of positive global change. So he created an online conduit for people to identify social causes and build relationships.

P&G at forefront of ‘design thinking’

October 14, 2010

The traditional attitude toward design is that it’s “the last decoration station on the way to market.” The standard approach to new products is to understand the problem, develop ideas and do a final, external check with the customer before launch. Design thinking flips that process.

Leadership Tips: Vol. 1010

September 13, 2010
Lead like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by seeing your mistakes as a growth opportunity … Think ahead. Your career won’t be made or broken by the sudden impact of one event. It’s a series of slow changes over the course of decades, says blogger Seth Godin …. “Avoid being a commodity,” says Eggland CEO Charles Lanktree, if you want to grow in a commodity business.

Innovative leadership: Manage lightly, produce precisely

September 13, 2010

The secret to new product innovation? Keep the boss away. A study by The Nielsen Company of 30 large consumer packaged-goods companies found that those whose managers kept a light touch generated 80% more new-product revenue, compared to those with heavy management involvement.

One word: Deliver

September 13, 2010
We’re not ones to sniff at innovation, but if the concept is new and the execution is not, then it’s not really innovation, is it?

Leadership Tips: Vol. 810

July 9, 2010
Build a name for your company by delivering Zappos-style customer service … Keep agreements with partner companies going strong—and avert contract breaches—by keeping lines of communication open … Make your e-mail messages easy to read and respond to by limiting them to one topic per message … Fill your innovation pipeline by eavesdropping on your customers.

Building on a simple idea

July 9, 2010
In the mid-1950s, accountant Eli Broad and a partner hit upon a simple idea for designing homes: no basements. Based on that single positioning tactic, Broad and his partner founded Kaufman & Broad Home Corp. in 1957. After selling out its entire inventory of homes, at $13,740 apiece, in the first weekend, KB Home was in business.

Playing the game of competition

June 14, 2010

In the late 1950s, as U.S. families turned more and more to television for their entertainment, analysts predicted the end of board games. Milton Bradley Co. President James Shea had other ideas. Deciding to capitalize instead, Shea had the company develop a memory game called Concentration …

Google makes change look simple

June 14, 2010

Google has one of the most successful products on the Internet. Why would its leaders want to alter it? Because even Google has to evolve. That’s the reason for the site’s recent redesign, its eighth. Here’s how Google does it: