Innovation

Getting the team to that ‘aha moment’

December 8, 2014
A creative brainstorm can strike at any time, perhaps while you’re in the shower or taking a walk. Effective leaders prod their team to innovate by recognizing and capitalizing on such creative connections.

The ‘father of containerization’ mastered the art of the long wait

October 15, 2014

Malcom McLean didn’t like to waste time, but in 1937, he had to spend most of a day waiting for his truckload of cotton to be loaded onto a ship in Hoboken, N.J. It gave him a bold idea. He saw what needed to be done to streamline shipping—but it would take him 20 years to make it happen.

Build a great idea, block by block

October 8, 2014
As a young child in northern Sweden, Yngve Bergqvist spent much of his time shoveling snow. Years later, he was so accustomed to snow and ice that he built a thriving business around it. Bergqvist decided to create a hotel made entirely of ice. It seemed crazy, but the concept worked.

Quirky marketing wins over soccer fans

August 26, 2014
To market his professional soccer club, Merritt Paulson tried something different. The owner of the Portland Timbers, a Major League Soccer team, decided to advertise in an understated, fan-friendly manner.

‘HuffPo’ outsmarts the competition

August 22, 2014

With the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington beat the media establishment by creating a world in which everything is interesting and nothing is durable. The site is built on thousands of blogs, all unpaid. “HuffPo” also is particularly adept at outsmarting competitors.

How Bain changed consulting

August 11, 2014
In the usual model, a consulting firm parachutes a team into a client company. There, consultants analyze tons of data, then share their recommendations with senior management. The team leaves and the relationship ends. Bill Bain flipped that model.

The grit to get it done

July 21, 2014
Leaders don’t shy away from filling a need simply because they don’t know precisely how they’ll do it.  Part of leadership is figuring out how.

Speed kills competitors

July 11, 2014
Spanish clothing retailer Zara pioneered a model in which functions have become quicker and more centralized, while decision-making happens on the front lines.

Stay a step ahead of social media

July 7, 2014
Wary of the power of social media as an outlet for public criticism, savvy leaders are trying to pre-empt negative buzz through careful preparation.

Leaders as zeitgebers

June 18, 2014

The king of France unveiled a spectacular new machine in 1370. It was the first public clock in Paris, and the king saw its potential. He issued a decree that all clocks in the city were to be synchronized with this royal clock. He created what the Germans call a zeitgeber, or time giver for life. Not much has changed, in that external rhythms can dictate how we operate.