Author Archives: Greg Satell

Why Organizations Fail

A few weeks ago, my little girl came down with a case of strep throat. From there, things followed a predictable pattern.  My wife soon came down with it as well and then I did too. We took turns lying in bed unproductively, woozy from a high fever and struggling to swallow. It was a silly episode when you think ...

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The Next Frontier: Why innovation needs exploration

  In Sapiens, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari argues that it was the exploratory mindset that led to European dominance over the world. Other empires, such as the Chinese and the Ottomans, had far greater military and economic power in the 18th century. Yet, it was the Europeans quest for understanding that made the difference. To explore, you first need ...

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Innovation Is The Only True Way To Create Value

In The Outsiders, William Thorndike argues that the most essential skill for a manager is capital allocation. To prove his point, he profiles CEOs such as Henry Singleton of Teledyne and John Malone of TCI who, while not household names, achieved outsized returns by wisely deploying their firm’s resources. Thorndike also points out that most CEOs get their jobs not through exhibiting financial ...

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How I Learned To Hack

How I Learned to Hack

The origins of the term “hack” are unusually rich and expansive.  Originally, it was a wholly pejorative term, meaning to work haphazardly.  When people called you a “talentless hack,” it meant that you were wholly unoriginal, cobbling together mediocre performance from the scraps of others’ work. Yet these same attributes, when applied to technology, came to represent the height of ...

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Innovation Starts…OR Ends with Mindset

In her bestselling book Mindset, psychologist Carol Dweck argues that people who see their skills as a fixed set of strengths and weaknesses tend not to achieve much. On the other hand, those that see their skills as dynamic and changeable are able to continually grow their abilities and soar to great heights. Businesses are the same way. Most see their business ...

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How Innovative Companies Get their Best Ideas from Academic Research

Since World War II, the United States has been an innovation superpower. In virtually every advanced field, whether it be information technology, biotechnology, agriculture or renewable energy, America holds a leading position. Other nations may challenge in one field or another, but no one can match its depth and breadth. To account for its success, many point to America’s entrepreneurial ...

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The Shift Economy

The Art Of The Shift

In the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall, both Russia and Poland embarked on remarkably similar journeys. Using the same western advisors, they privatized state-owned companies, implemented free market reforms and transformed their legal systems to compete more effectively in the world economy. Yet despite the nearly identical programs, the results couldn’t have been more different.  Poland today ...

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Stop Chasing The Last Big Thing

Business in the digital age has become a seemingly neverending series of “next big things.” Whether it’s e-commerce, search engine optimization, social media, big data or something else, the pattern of firms struggling to adapt is as predictable as Gartner’s hype cycle. First there is widespread panic, then a rushed effort to get up to ...

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How to Build an Effective Culture

How To Build An Effective Culture

In Team of Teams, General Stanley McChrystal credits his focus on transforming military culture as key to turning the tide in Iraq. He writes that “the role of the leader was no more that of controlling puppet master, but of an empathetic crafter of culture.” He’s not alone.  Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly says, “Culture will beat scheme every day.” Former IBM ...

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