Join Rita's Mailing List!


Innovation and Jobs-to-be-Done discussed in my latest newsletter

My latest newsletter offers observations and ideas that were discussed at two CEO Summits sponsored by Innosight and featuring keynotes by Clayton Christensen and myself.   We discussed Clay’s terrific new book, Competing Against Luck, some of my ideas regarding the management of portfolios of innovation and how to tackle innovation challenges generally. Have a look if you are interested – and I welcome comments and feedback! read more »

Filed in: , , , , ,

‘If you can’t do it, we’ll find somebody who can’ can be disastrous

Recent corporate scandals and mishaps should remind us that what can feel like the creation of a pragmatic sense of urgency in the “C-Suite” can translate into deeply dysfunctional behavior farther down the organization. Just today, Samsung announced with (one presumes) deep embarrassment that rather than being able to fix their exploding Galaxy 7 note phones that they intended to cancel all production of the devices.  Observers blame the intense... read more »

Filed in: ,

Preparing for the 8th Annual Drucker Forum

A few years ago, I started attending the Global Peter Drucker Forum, which has become a real who’s who of management conferences.  It takes place each November in Vienna and features luminaries and thought leaders from academia, business and consulting.  This time out, I’ll be facilitating a panel discussion with Tim Brown of IDEO, Sarah Armbruster of the very innovative Steelcase, colleague Julian Birkinshaw of the London Business School and... read more »

Filed in: , ,

Clearing the space for growth-on disengagement, transformation and reinvestment

With September just ahead of us, in my August newsletter I touch on why disengagement from exhausted advantages is important for renewal, share the story of Target’s transformation from a traditional department store to the “Tar-zhey” many of us enjoy today, and reflect on research that suggests that dividends and share repurchases are essentially slow-motion liquidation moves. Now about those closets I need to clean out ahead of the new school... read more »

Filed in:

Why managing an opportunity portfolio leads to surprising investment decisions

There is no shortage of interesting strategic activity going on in the intertwining worlds of content creation, telecommunications and other forms of distribution.  The recent sales of AOL and Yahoo! to Verizon are representative of a class of strategic moves that make sense in high-uncertainty environments in which anticipating, rather than predicting, is the requirement.  As I point out in a recent article in Fortune, investments like these, even though they... read more »

Filed in: , ,

Insight into unintended consequences-anticipating the effects of low oil prices

Over the years, I’ve cited and used some of the work done by the Futures Strategy Group principals in their development of very robust tools that help organizations anticipate (not predict) what might happen in the future.  It’s interesting, therefore to read a post by one of their Principals, Patrick Marren, written in 2005.  He was summarizing some topics that had come up many times in the course of consulting... read more »

Filed in: , ,

Globalization is like migration, except nobody goes anywhere

This insightful article by my colleague Joseph Stiglitz is short and incredibly thought-provoking.  In it, he argues that globalization essentially pits the lower-skilled workers of the world against each other, having the same effect as though lower-paid workers migrated in mass numbers to wealthier countries.  The economic effect is to reduce wages of unskilled workers to a lowest-common-denominator. It is eye opening, as for decades now we have been taught that globalization... read more »

Filed in:

Advice for corporate innovators from a recent mach49 event

My latest Fortune column addresses the perennial problem that we get ourselves into when we are acting on assumptions, but presume we know what we are doing.  You will find the link here. read more »

Filed in:

Nancy McKinstry, Wolters Kluwer CEO, shares her experiences

It was fantastic to have Nancy McKinstry join us on the Barnard College campus for the inaugural run of our Women in Leadership program.  You can find an overview of her accomplishments at promoting women leaders here. read more »

Filed in:

Agony and ecstasy for young lawyers

For some time, I’ve suggested that law schools provide a cautionary tale for the rest of us.  With many graduates loaded down with big debt and with few prospects for taking jobs that actually require the degree, some schools are beginning to think the unthinkable – should they consider closing?   They may not have a choice – students aren’t stupid, and to go deeply into debt for a degree... read more »

Filed in: ,

Fun interview in the Australian

While I was in Australia earlier this month, I had the opportunity to join The Australian for a neat video interview.  We talked about the end of competitive advantage, the role of power in organizations, and the importance of networking. read more »

Filed in:

Sounds Like the Return of Ron Johnson

Interesting to read that Land’s End – the middle of the market retailer – is now being led by CEO with upscale fashion aspirations.  She prefers New York to the Dodgeville, Wisconsin headquarters, wants to move the brand upscale and refers to some of the company’s traditional offerings as “ugly.” Lands End is up against the same phenomena that have bedeviled J. C. Penney’s and other middle market retailers.  But... read more »

Filed in:

The Time is Ripe to Revisit Women in Leadership

These days, I’m spending a lot of time on matters pertaining to women in leadership.  If you’d like to get an overview of some of the research and the remedies that can be offered, check out this free webinar. read more »

Filed in:

Staring down a disengagement decision at Yahoo!

Yahoo and its CEO of three years, Marissa Mayer, have been in the news a lot lately. While Yahoo’s checkered history and frequent changes in leadership have not done the company’s reputation any favors, it still has assets that could be valuable. With investors becoming impatient, Yahoo is apparently in play in a big way. Fortune reports that Starboard Value Fund’s Jeff Smith has launched a proxy fight against Yahoo and is... read more »

Filed in: ,

The perils of an incomplete change process

Some people really do change the world.  But all around us, we see evidence of change efforts that began with great promise but ended badly.  In a recent New York Times column, Tom Friedman speculated on the effects of digital communications on simultaneously facilitating the ability of social movements to ignite, but hampering participants’ capability to form lasting new structures that replace the old ones.  I recently walked through a... read more »

Filed in: