20/20 Vision: The Antidote to Willful Blindness
Big mistakes, the failure to spot trends early, difficulty innovating: even the smartest companies miss things. But why? Your workforce should be the greatest information-gathering network—so why does it so often happen that all those smart people miss things? How can teams and companies be run to maximize the information, knowledge and insight all those people carry in their heads? What are the impediments to insight—and how can we do better?
One Company: The Art and Science of Building Collaborative Cultures
After years of making companies more efficient, the most pressing question now is: how do I get all of this talent, experience and knowhow to collaborate? We know that innovation demands the collision of disciplines and knowledge—but how can that happen when most information is trapped in silos and fiefdoms? What are the mechanisms that keep potential trapped—and what can companies do to liberate it? Although most work is done in teams, many team members don’t know why or how to extract value from their collaboration. What are the trends and changes around the world that mark a new model for leadership and collaboration?
A Bigger Prize: A New Measure of Competition and Collaboration
Margaret Heffernan suggests that existing business models for competition have unintended consequences. They often keep the best from rising to the top, crushing creativity, disengaging us from responsibility, undermining trust, and enhancing waste. In A Bigger Prize, her eye-opening book on competition, she offers a new construct for creative collaboration and innovation. Based on conversations with scientists, musicians, athletes, entrepreneurs and executives, Margaret demonstrates a new ethos of cooperation within and outside organizations. It is a process grounded in generosity and the future, and it is a process that leads to measurably better bottom line results for your business and HR practices. It is also the focus of her conversation with us at the retreat. Margaret suggests that this new way of looking at competition and collaboration will be some of the hardest work we do, but that it is indeed work that will help us share a bigger prize.
Does Competition Work?
Solo cyclists can peddle fast - but if you get them to race against one another, they race faster. That early research finding has permeated management, instilling the belief that a competitive culture will build excellence. But what's the evidence that it works? What are the unforeseen consequences? And why are some of the most creative and productive companies in the world doing all they can to eradicate internal contests? When does competition work for you—and when might it prove corrosive?
What is Diversity For, and What Does It Mean?
Diversity and inclusion have been management buzz words for decades. So why has progress proved so slow? Many companies have made great progress in improving numbers around diversity but have found little has changed. Was diversity just a fad, or is there a second chapter? What are the relevant reasons to pursue a diversity agenda and what is the nature, challenge and importance of inclusion?
Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive and author. She was born in Texas, raised in Holland and educated at Cambridge University. She worked in BBC Radio for five years where she wrote, directed, produced and commissioned dozens of documentaries and dramas.
As a television producer, she made documentary films for Timewatch, Arena, and Newsnight. She was one of the producers of Out of the Doll's House, the prize-winning documentary series about the history of women in the twentieth century.
She designed and executive produced a thirteen part series on The French Revolution for the BBC and A&E. The series featured, among others, Alan Rickman, Alfred Molina, Janet Suzman, Simon Callow and Jim Broadbent and introduced both historian Simon Schama and playwright Peter Barnes to British television. She also produced music videos with Virgin Records and the London Chamber Orchestra to raise attention and funds for Unicef's Lebanese fund.
Leaving the BBC, she ran the trade association IPPA, which represented the interests of independent film and television producers and was once described by the Financial Times as "the most formidable lobbying organization in England."
In 1994, she returned to the United States where she worked on public affair campaigns in Massachusetts and with software companies trying to break into multimedia. She developed interactive multimedia products with Peter Lynch, Tom Peters, Standard & Poors and The Learning Company.
She then joined CMGI where she ran, bought and sold leading Internet businesses, serving as Chief Executive Officer for InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and iCAST Corporation.
She was named one of the Internet's Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999, one of the Top 25 by Streaming Media magazine and one of the Top 100 Media Executives by The Hollywood Reporter. Her "Tear Down the Wall" campaign against AOL won the 2001 Silver SABRE award for public relations.
Her third book, Wilful Blindness (Simon&Schuster in the UK, Bloomsbury in the US, Doubleday in Canada) was a finalist for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Best Business Book award. In 2014, the Financial Times named it one of its "best business books of the decade.” Her next book A Bigger Prize (Simon&Schuster in the UK, Public Affairs in the US and Doubleday in Canada) won the Transmission Prize. Her most recent book Beyond Measure : The Big Impact of Small Changes was published in 2015. Her TED talks have been seen by over 3 million people. She is a Trustee of the London Library and sits on the Council of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art as well as one the boards of several private companies. Margaret blogs for the Huffington Post in the US and the UK and for Inc.com. and mentors senior and Chief Executives.