Innovation

CEO’s big risk paid off for Marlin Steel

December 10, 2014
Drew Greenblatt knew that Marlin Steel could not survive Chinese competitors, who were luring away his customers—big bagel chains that bought the company’s wire baskets. The Baltimore firm was struggling to stay afloat in 2003 when a fateful call from a Boeing engineer led to some market research that changed everything.

Steve Jobs’ leadership secrets

December 10, 2014

The essence of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, according to his biographer, is that his personality was integral to his way of doing business. For one thing, he acted as though the normal rules didn’t apply to him, and he poured his passion, intensity and emotion into Apple products. Here are a few of his top lessons.

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.