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Engaging, fun and fast-paced, Rita’s keynote speeches  are often described as a highlight which sets the foundation of discussions throughout the event. Rita customizes her talks to the audience’s specific interests making sure that attendees leave with actionable insights. As one participant said, “I’ve been coming to this conference for 20 years, and I’ve never seen a speaker prepare so well for the challenges facing our industry.”

Browse through Rita’s past engagements. Search on focus, industry or event type.

Download an overview of Rita’s speaking topics.

Download a full list of speaking topics here.

Rita’s Bio is here.

Rita’s YouTube channel is here. An overview video with live engagements is here.

The End of Competitive Advantage and the New Strategy Playbook

In this popular talk, summarized briefly here, Rita McGrath outlines the essence of a new strategy playbook which recognizes that competitive advantages are often fleeting and that companies need to adopt an entirely different set of practices than those they used when advantages were more easily protected.   This talk can be customized to reflect the particular circumstances of your company or sector. We also offer a pre-event diagnostic exercises which can measure how ready you and your organization are for the transient advantage economy. The results of this diagnostic survey are shared with the participants.

Discovery Driven Planning

Rita McGrath’s main argument is that most established companies have everything they need to take advantage of high-growth opportunities, with one exception: the right disciplines. Her entertaining and provocative sessions will help you and your people understand the disciplines that work to drive innovation and growth.

Discovery Driven Planning is a Harvard Business Review best-seller and has been adopted by companies all over the world as a key innovation tool.  It has received heavy endorsements from Clayton Christensen, who proclaimed it an antidote to “innovation killers” and also used it in his best-selling book What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?


An Overview of other topics (please see the topic guide for detailed versions).


Key Message

Discovery Driven Planning Stop using the same planning techniques for new businesses that you use for existing ones; instead, plan to learn
MarketBusting You too can identify huge growth opportunities by using five key lenses with discipline
Entrepreneurial Leadership Understand the five key practices that create an entrepreneurial mindset and culture in your company
Real Options Reasoning Contain risk while accessing opportunities to maximize the benefit to your organization
Designing a portfolio for growth How you can balance the long-term and short-term investment horizons while simultaneously integrating strategy, projects, budgeting and people development
The middle managers’ role in growth programs The much-maligned middle manager is often the secret weapon in a drive to create growth.
Learning to live with complexity Complex systems require an entirely different thought process than merely complicated ones.  How you can master techniques for coping.
Failing By Design In uncertain environments, failure is inevitable. It can also be extraordinarily useful. Learn about intelligent failure and how to make the most of it.


Rita is an exceptional instructor. She takes complex topics and makes them understandable and applicable. Her presentations are so informative, full of examples, case studies and questions the prompt lively discussions. Her handouts, tools, and slides enhance her classes so much that time flies, literally!

Krys Moskal Amdurer, Pearson, VP Pearson People Development, August 2010

Rita, I want to express our appreciation and warm-felt thank you for your outstanding presentations and support. We have had numerous requests for your return as well as having provided your info to many associations for further engagement. Early feedback has been very positive. Some written comments: “One of the definite must-attend conferences. I left feeling that my time was well spent and with ideas that I could implement or adjust to my organization.” “This is my 9th DigitalNow and, after having seen so many rock star quality speakers, I have high expectations — so when I say you blew me away in 2010… Well done.” “This was definitely one of your top conferences from a content standpoint. You know it was good when you can’t wait to get back to work and make some changes.”

Don Dea, Co-founder, Fusion Productions, DigitalNow Conference, April 2010

Rita was a brilliant and engaging speaker – lots of value to senior executives from large companies, and always a pleasure to work with.

Dr. Peter S. Temes, Founder and President, I L O Institute

Dear Rita, I really would like to express my thanks and admiration for the extraordinary two-day strategy and leadership workshop. With all your enthusiasm, professionalism, energy level, fast reactions to all concerns and relevant examples, we have achieved what I thought was maybe a too ambitious objective: a relevant, action–oriented, transformational event.

Doris Bigio, Managing Director, Doris Bigio Management Development

Dear Rita, On behalf of the Chief Executives Organization and the 2009 Financial Seminar participants, we want to thank you for your outstanding contribution to the education program. The Financial Seminar proved to be a great success, and you certainly were a critical part of that outcome. Your panel…on Government Intervention in the Economy: What to Expect, was insightful, and we felt privileged to have your “insider’s” knowledge shared with the membership.

Andrew Kahn, CEO Financial Seminar Chairman

The Outstanding Directors Exchange (ODX) session you moderated on the board’s role in strategy was a real highlight of our conference. We love the way you tie academic research to actionable takeaways. Thank you for your time, leadership and enthusiasm.

Heather Wolf, Outstanding Directors Program Director

I am the Executive Director of The International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM). We invited Rita McGrath to give a keynote address to our 2nd Innovation Symposium in New York City from 6-9 December 2009. Rita’s speech on “Growth in Uncertain Times” was extremely well received by our delegates who were particularly impressed with her style of presentation and the insights they gained during her 40 minutes. Rita has a very relaxed and engaging presentation manner and she includes interesting stories that people can relate to, rather than lots of charts and graphs. I would have no hesitation in recommending Rita as a keynote speaker for any innovation related event.

Iain Bitran, Executive Director
The International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM)

Professor McGrath was a guest on our radio Program New Construction Strategies. She was fantastic because she not only knew the material, but delivered it in a concise and articulate way that was easy to understand. She was focused and to the point. The reason we invited her on the program was because I had the pleasure of sitting in a webinar she did for HBR and she delivered that in the same concise way. You can’t go wrong hiring Prof. McGrath to speak at your event.

Ted Garrison, Certified Speaking Professional
Industry Expert and Construction Business Visionary
Host of Internet Radio Program: New Construction Strategies

Rita, it has been a real pleasure to work with you. You really listened to “your customer,” and adapted extremely well to the framework we had in mind. As a result, you made a very consistent and powerful tandem with Tony, just as if you had been working together since ever! The audience really appreciated the result and the comments afterwards were excellent. Your key messages have been very-well received by GDF SUEZ Senior Executives.

             Nadine LeMaitre, President
GDF SUEZ University

Rita is a delight to work with. Incredibly sharp, very thoughtful, personable and highly organized – I have yet to meet another speaker who carries their own clicker, a spare clicker, spare batteries for the spare clicker… She is genuinely interested in her audience, her material is absolutely world-class and she enjoys and excels at Q&A. Rita’s opening talk was a great way to set up this year’s Business of Software Conference, her material both stimulating and directed at the needs and interests of the group. Brilliant minds aren’t always the easiest ones to work with, Rita is a shining exception.   I would add her voice is so calm and authoritative that Rita should think about a second career doing satellite navigation voices.

Mark Littlewood
Business of Software, produced by the Business Leaders Network