674: A Theoretical Physicist (and Entrepreneur) on Why Companies Stop Innovating
Safi Bahcall, a former biotech CEO, began his career as a theoretical physicist before joining the business world. He compares the moment that innovative companies become complacent ones to a glass of water freezing, becoming ice. The elements are the same, but the structure of the company has changed. Bahcall offers ways for growing companies to avoid these inevitable forces and continue to innovate. He's the author of the book "Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries" and the HBR article “The Innovation Equation."
673: Why Are We Still Promoting Incompetent Men?
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a psychologist and chief talent scientist at ManpowerGroup, says we're not picking leaders in the right way. While we should be promoting people based on their competence and potential, it's often the incompetent, overconfident candidates -- most of them men -- who get ahead. Studies show that, by many measures, women are actually better equipped to become strong, successful managers. But the solution to getting more of them into the executive ranks isn't quotas or other initiatives that mandate gender diversity. To improve leadership across the board, we need to focus on the metrics proven to enhance performance and set higher standards for everyone. Chamorro-Premuzic is also a professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University, and the author of the book "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?: (And How to Fix It)" (Harvard Business Review Press, 2019).
672: Make Customers Happier with Operational Transparency
Ryan Buell, associate professor at Harvard Business School, says the never-ending quest for operational efficiency is having unintended consequences. When customers don’t see the work that’s being done in back offices, offshore factories, and algorithms, they’re less satisfied with their purchases. Buell believes organizations should deliberately design windows into and out of operations. He says increasing operational transparency helps customers and employees alike appreciate the value being created. Buell is the author of the HBR article "Operational Transparency."
671: Fixing Tech's Gender Gap
Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, is on a mission to get more young women into computer science. She says the problem isn't lack of interest. Her non-profit organization has trained thousands of girls to code, and the ranks of female science and engineering graduates continue to grow. And yet men still dominate the tech industry. Saujani believes companies can certainly do more to promote diversity. But she also wants girls and women to stop letting perfectionism hold them back from volunteering for the most challenging tasks and jobs. She is the author of the book "Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder."
670: How Innovative Companies Help Frontier Markets Grow
Efosa Ojomo, global prosperity lead at the Clayton Christensen Institute, argues that international aid is not the best way to develop poor countries, nor are investments in natural resource extraction, outsourced labor, or incremental improvements to existing offerings for established customer bases. Instead, entrepreneurs, investors, and global companies should focus on market-creating innovations. Just like Henry Ford in the United States a century ago, they should see opportunity in the struggles of frontier markets, target non-consumption, and create not just products and services but whole ecosystems around them, which then promote stability and economic growth. Ojomo is the co-author of the HBR article "Cracking Frontier Markets" and the book The Prosperity Paradox.