The 2008 financial crisis, Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the Covid-19 epidemic, the invasion of Ukraine, the return of inflation, and what next? The list of surprises keeps growing. Against this backdrop, a new perspective on forecasting is imperative. How can we thrive in a world we can’t predict? This is the question I address in my new book “Welcome to uncertainty” out today.(more…)
What distinguishes us from animals? The philosopher Thomas Hobbes casts an interesting light on this old question, arguing that curiosity is one of the few capacities that distinguishes humans from animals. It is this natural curiosity that explains why innovation is the hallmark of human beings.(more…)
In the quest for innovation, the encouragement of risk-taking by employees is often ineffective because of entrenched, counterproductive mental models. One example is a successful manufacturing company whose commitment to quality has morphed into a stifling perfectionism that impedes progress. While the organization advocates risk-taking for transformation, it struggles to create change. This article explores the core of this challenge-the ingrained mental models that foster resistance-and advocates a balanced approach that reconciles innovation and stability.(more…)
It’s a tough time for tech companies. Amazon, Meta (Facebook’s parent company) and Twitter are laying off people en masse. After Meta’s difficult week, which saw its market capitalization drop considerably, Twitter found itself in the spotlight after its takeover by Elon Musk. Both bring back the never-ending question of what good corporate leadership is. Is Musk the villainous leader portrayed in the media, an overbearing entrepreneur with an inflated ego, who is destroying Twitter? Not so sure. Because behind the apparent madness, there is a method, even if it is a debatable one.(more…)
The pursuit of employee engagement and meaning often centers on the idea of a grand vision, akin to building a cathedral of ambition. However, this narrative oversimplifies the complexity of meaningful work. A fuller understanding recognizes that meaning isn’t derived solely from external goals, but can come from the intrinsic fulfillment found in daily tasks, collaborative efforts, and the intrinsic value of contributions.(more…)
The Covid-19 epidemics constitutes a major event that completely disrupted world life, rendering all forecasts and plans based on them obsolete within a few weeks. The very nature of a surprise is to bring to light an element of our mental models and invalidate it. In short, crises disrupt our mental models. Because a disruption is a process, the effects unfold progressively, on many dimensions, and over a long period.(more…)
Why study? The question seems incongruous when asked by Andrew Abbott, professor of sociology, in his welcome address to students at the University of Chicago in 2002. From the outset, Abbott dispels any illusions: what determines success is much more about getting into college than what you do or learn there. Very little of what one learns there is actually useful for a future profession, and non-academic skills, such as the ability to write or think clearly, are rarely the ones that determine professional success. As for the specific knowledge of a trade, apart from the very technical ones, it is most often acquired on the job. It wasn’t until I started running a business that I realized that very little of what I had learned during my MBA was directly useful.(more…)
My latest post on Forbes, written with Milo Jones, is a reflection on difficulty of transformation by incumbent companies in the face of digital disruption. It’s available here.