Sheena Iyengar

  • S.T. Lee Professor of Business in the Management Division of the Columbia Business School
  • Author, The Art of Choosing
  • Director, Global Leadership Matrix



Dr. Sheena Iyengar answers a timeless question with enormous implications for problems of all kinds across the world: “How can I get my best ideas?”

A world-renowned expert on the subject of choice, Dr. Iyengar provides essential tools to spark creative thinking and help us make our most meaningful choices. She draws from recent advances in neuro- and cognitive sciences to give audiences a set of practical steps for coming up with powerful new ideas. Her research on how and why we choose, and what we need to do to choose better, has surprising and profound implications for our personal and professional lives. Her insights are invaluable not only to businesses looking to improve strategy, leadership and customer relations, but to every individual trying to make positive and lasting changes to his or her life.

 

 

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Rave Reviews About Sheena Iyengar
Thank you for a terrific session last week with our management team! Everyone absolutely LOVED your speech - and the workshops were a fantastic way to apply the learning to our specific brand needs. Thank you for taking the time to organize insightful questions/topics, and guide our team through a well thought out brainstorming framework.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Sheena Iyengar
  • The North Face
  • Deutsche Bank
  • St. Joseph's Health Centre Foundation
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Publisher's Weekly
  • Booklist
  • Worth magazine
  • Body & Soul Magazine
Keynote - Lead by Choice | University of Hawai'i at Manoa [1:24:24] - Get Sharable Link
Explore Talks By Sheena Iyengar
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Think Bigger

All innovation – in entrepreneurship, corporations, any field or discipline, even our personal lives – begins with a creative spark. Many of us want that next great idea, but we often forget an important part: how? Think Bigger is a six step method for innovation that helps answer this question. Mod ...

All innovation – in entrepreneurship, corporations, any field or discipline, even our personal lives – begins with a creative spark. Many of us want that next great idea, but we often forget an important part: how? Think Bigger is a six step method for innovation that helps answer this question. Modern neuroscience and cognitive psychology now understand how the human brain develops creative ideas, and Think Bigger is the first to apply this new science as an innovation method. A core element of the method – and of the human condition – is that successful innovation, regardless of vocation or profession, depends on an innovator’s desire. Solving a problem that people are passionate about is a way to give them meaning, and makes their company, organization, or community better.

How To Dream

Have you ever been told to grow up, get your head on straight and stop dreaming? Have you been advised to give up what you want for what is good and right? If so, you’ve been misled. Dreaming is not the province of only the young, the romantic and the privileged. Dreaming is not a luxury or frivolit ...

Have you ever been told to grow up, get your head on straight and stop dreaming? Have you been advised to give up what you want for what is good and right? If so, you’ve been misled. Dreaming is not the province of only the young, the romantic and the privileged. Dreaming is not a luxury or frivolity; it is a necessity. We need to dream, individually and collectively, to conceptualize and create better selves in better worlds. The problem is not that we dream but how we dream. When we become too attached to a particular dream, we allow it to limit our imagination and our possibilities. When we dream without defining and analyzing our desires, goals and obstacles, we undermine our ability to act. These are our natural tendencies. Luckily, we can learn to dream in a way that is not only intentional and adaptive but also inventive. Drawing on her extensive research on choice and her unique experience, Sheena Iyengar will guide you through an iterative process that will enable you to dream with greater hope, courage and purpose.

The Art of Choosing

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar addresses such questions and provides answers drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research. Dr. Iyengar explores three main aspects of choice, combining them in different and unexpected ways based on the interest ...

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar addresses such questions and provides answers drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research. Dr. Iyengar explores three main aspects of choice, combining them in different and unexpected ways based on the interests and needs of the audience. Think of them as the 3 Cs: Choice Overload, Culture, and Creativity. You’ll learn about the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn’t always go with the other. You’ll see that too much choice can overwhelm us, leading to unpleasant experiences, and discover how our choices—both mundane and momentous—are shaped by many different forces, visible and invisible. Perhaps most important, you’ll learn how we build our lives: one choice at a time.

Key Takeaways from Dr. Iyengar’s speech:

  • Find out what effective leaders need to know about choice and how to choose your way to success. 
  • Understanding the differences in how people perceive choice, and its effect on what people want and how they act. 
  • Learn the effect that the ability to choose has on job performance. For example, Iyengar cited Google’s policy of allowing employees to work on their own projects for 20 percent of the time. Fifty percent of Google’s new products, including Gmail and Google Voice, have come out of employee projects. 
  • Discover how to give people the kinds of choices that will motivate them.
  • Recognize how choice is viewed in different cultural contexts. 

Art of Choosing abstract:

“A Mac store customer asks for the latest iPhone in black, but he sees everyone else buying black and suddenly changes his preference to white. When a resident of a former Communist country is offered a fizzy drink from a wide selection, he picks at random; soda is soda, he says. Though the child knows she shouldn’t press the big red button (absolutely not!), she finds her hand inching forward. A young man and woman decide to marry—knowing that the first time they meet will be on their wedding day. How did these people make their choices? How do any of us make ours? We use choice as a powerful tool to define ourselves and mold our lives, but what do we know about the wants, motivations, biases, and influences that aid or hinder our endeavors?” 

Too Much Choice

The absolute number of products available to consumers is constantly increasing, as is the percentage of these products that any given consumer can actually purchase in physical and virtual stores. As a result, ensuring that your products stand out from the competition has never been more important. ...

The absolute number of products available to consumers is constantly increasing, as is the percentage of these products that any given consumer can actually purchase in physical and virtual stores. As a result, ensuring that your products stand out from the competition has never been more important. In this presentation, Sheena S. Iyengar, the S. T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and author of The Art of Choosing, explores how to optimize extensive product assortments. She will answer questions such as: How many options should you offer? Is it possible to give consumers too much choice? How should options be displayed? And finally, how do contextual features affect optimal assortment? 

Lead By Choice

You want to make good choices for yourself, your family, your organization. You want to be a kind of superhero when you choose, leaping over or smashing through the wall of options to get to the best one. You want to be so skilled at the art of choosing that people gather in crowds to hear about you ...

You want to make good choices for yourself, your family, your organization. You want to be a kind of superhero when you choose, leaping over or smashing through the wall of options to get to the best one. You want to be so skilled at the art of choosing that people gather in crowds to hear about your exploits in the vast universe—and parallel universes—of choice. Sheena Iyengar can’t grant you special powers, but she can help you understand the inner workings of choice so that you can develop those powers on your own. In particular, she can help you Lead by Choice as she reveals what effective leaders need to know about choice and shows you how to choose your way to success. Sheena believes that all of us can develop and benefit from leadership skills, no matter what title or position we hold, but in order to do that, we have to learn to choose with wisdom, compassion and humility.

Learn more about Sheena Iyengar
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Sheena S. Iyenga ris the inaugural S.T. Lee Professor of Business in the Management Division at Columbia Business School, and a world expert on choice and decision-making. Her book The Art of Choosing received the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year 2010 award, and was ranked #3 on the Amazon.com Best Business and Investing Books of 2010. Her research is regularly cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist as well as in popular books, such as Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance. Dr. Iyengar has also appeared on television, including the Today Show, The Daily Show, and Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on CNN. Her TED Talks have collectively received almost four million views and her research continues to inform markets, businesses, and individuals around the world.

Growing up in New York City as a blind Indian American and the daughter of immigrants, Dr. Iyengar began to look at the choices she and others had, and how to get the most from choice. She first started researching choice as an undergrad at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated with a B.S. in Economics. She received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University where her dissertation, “Choice and its Discontents,” received the Best Dissertation Award. Dr. Iyengar received the Presidential Early Career Award in 2002, and in 2011 and 2019, she was named a member of the Thinkers50, a global ranking of the top 50 management thinkers. She won the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Core Teaching from Columbia Business School in 2012 and was named one of the World’s Best B-School Professors by Poets and Quants. She has also given keynotes, and consulted for companies as wide ranging as Deloitte, Google, Bloomberg, Blizzard Entertainment, J.P. Morgan & Chase, and The North Face.

Her new book Think Bigger will be released in 2023.