All Posts By

Danny Stern

a hydroponic seedling

Driving Growth Through Scale-up Ecosystems

By | Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Politics & Government

Can you kick-start the economic growth of an entire region? It depends. How many billions do you have to throw around? Daniel Isenberg, entrepreneur and professor of entrepreneurship practice, has a better way. His method partners with stakeholders to help create growth innovation at a small fraction of the region’s businesses, which then drive growth in the entire area. More than theory, he’s worked scaling up success stories with major cities in the USA, Latin America and Northern Europe.

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confused tools

What Job are Your Customers Hiring Your Product to Do?

By | Innovation and Design

Karen Dillon will help you figure out your job. Not your profession – the “job” that your customers are trying to accomplish. “Jobs To Be Done” theory, as described in “Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice” (HarperCollins, October 2016), co-authored by Clay Christensen and Dillon, explains this kind of job: it’s the progress your customer wants to achieve when they’re struggling. It can be small, like bottled iced coffee as a more convenient way to perk up in the morning, or huge, like the almost universal switch from film to digital photography.

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Butterflies emerging from cocoons

Transform Your Business Today to Win Tomorrow

By | Innovation and Design

Disruptive change is accelerating, enabled by the frantic pace of technological advancement. Mark W. Johnson, authority on innovation and co-founder of Innosight, has identified the businesses at greatest risk: “The companies most vulnerable to disruption today are those at the top of their game. In mature industries, incumbent leaders are extremely vulnerable to competitors offering greater simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability.” He projects that over the next decade half the S&P 500 index will have turned over, thanks to disruptive innovation.

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a light bulb on a chalkboard, surrounded by an idea bubble

Sustaining Innovation: Why Higher Education Loves Hybrids

By | Innovation and Design, Education

Conventional wisdom casts online learning as a disruptive force that will revolutionize higher education by lowering costs and expanding access. But a recent survey has found that costs for online learning are no less than, and in some cases more than, costs for traditional instruction. How could this so-called disruptive force have resulted in only an expansion of the status quo?

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a mobile phone and a dollar

Tap Into the Mobile Economy

By | Technology, Marketing and Branding

The mobile economy, projected to reach $1 trillion in the U.S. by 2020, is being almost ignored by retailers and advertisers are only directing about 12% of ad revenues to mobile devices. Also sorely neglected is the the vast stream of data created by every tap on every phone. Companies don’t know how to reach people on their mobile devices, and they don’t know what they would say if they could. Fortunately, Anindya Ghose, the foremost expert on mobile economics, has designed the tools that can help your company thrive as business-to-consumer interactions increasingly shift to mobile platforms.

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apple candle with smoking stem

Apple’s Long War of Attrition

By | Strategy, Marketing and Branding

Apple is fighting a long, grinding campaign. Their goal is the adoption of Apple Pay, their mobile payment system, and the battleground is the billions of financial transactions that happen every day. Horace Dediu, leading mobile industry analyst, writes, “There are no decisive battles won or lost, only the relentless pressure to make progress against a reluctance to change.” In other words, the true enemy isn’t the competition in the mobile payment system space – it’s the nonconsumption of customers who are already comfortable with cash and card swipes. And Dediu thinks that Apple is winning.

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Refugees traveling on a small boat

Transforming a Broken Refugee System

By | Politics & Government

In 2016, the number of global refugees and displaced people hit an all-time high. European countries are struggling to absorb people displaced by conflicts across Africa and the Middle East as record numbers of people flee violence in Central America. The international systems in place for helping and coping with refugees are almost uniformly broken. They handicap both host countries and the displaced, leading to negative outcomes for all. But Alexander Betts, who heads Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre, has real solutions for host countries. His new book, “Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System,” presents the key factor: work.

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U.S. Treasury Building

The Trump Administration and the Future of Automation

By | Politics & Government, The Future

Amy Webb, futurist and bestselling author, is concerned. The recent comments by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about the effect of artificial intelligence and automation on the job market (“…not even on my radar screen… 50-100 more years.”) indicate to her that the administration is not up to speed on the latest developments in the field. In response, Webb looks at the state of artificial intelligence and its potential to replace human jobs in a Los Angeles Times op-ed.

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house of cards

Morale at Startups: Why Growth Matters

By | Management and Talent, Entrepreneurship

Startups live and die by their culture. And not by the ping-pong tables or the all-night coding sessions, but by the cultural infrastructure put into place by the management. According to a new Harvard Business Review article, 70% of startups see their employee morale dive in year three or four, and the size of this decline is directly associated with the company’s level of growth.

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ATM cash slot

Why ATMs Are About to Get More Secure

By | Technology, Service Design and Delivery, The Future

Credit card fraud cost the U.S. retail industry $32 billion in 2014. One of the easiest ways for a scam artist to gain access to credit card information is a “skimmer,” a small device illegally installed on an ATM. Now several banks are going for a technical fix: cardless ATMs. Anindya Ghose, the foremost authority on mobile economics and author of the groundbreaking “Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy” (MIT Press, April 2017), details the ways these new mobile-phone-based systems will make retail banking more secure.

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iced coffee

What Job Does Iced Coffee Do? A Case Study

By | Innovation and Design, Strategy, Marketing and Branding

Taddy Hall and Karen Dillon, partners of Jobs Theory creator Clay Christensen, team up to walk through a compelling real-world application of Jobs Theory in this video. After introducing the theory, Hall applies it to a case study of International Delight’s recently introduced iced coffee line. Hall looks at the jobs performed by iced coffee in general, i.e. why consumers “hire” it every day, and then walks through the innovation process that created an entirely new product category in grocery store refrigerators.

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Habitat 67

An Urban Community By Design: The Legacy of Safdie’s Habitat ‘67

By | The Future

Fifty years ago, Moshe Safdie was a recent architecture graduate, intent on realizing the ideas explored in his thesis project at McGill University: a three-dimensional model for urban housing. Sandy VanGinkel, one of his professors, recruited him to help design the master plan for the World Exposition in Montreal. Safdie agreed to join the effort, with the caveat that he could continue his exploration into housing as a potential entry for the Canadian pavilion.
(Photo credit: Timothy Hursley)

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floating soap bubbles

Escape the Bubble: Be Wrong, Be Uncomfortable, and Be Quiet

By | Leadership

As a leader, how insulated are you? CEOs and other leaders can easily slip inside a bubble created by their own power and prestige. Outside this bubble are critical ideas and information, including small bellwether changes that signal big market shifts. Hal Gregersen, Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center, has a solution; in his words, “Innovative executives deliberately put themselves into situations where they may be unexpectedly wrong, unusually uncomfortable, and uncharacteristically quiet.”

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mobile phone with waves

The Keys That Unlock the $1 Trillion Mobile Economy

By | Technology, Marketing and Branding

The mobile economy is projected to hit $1 trillion dollars by the year 2020. But while we spend 25 percent of our time using mobile devices, advertisers commit only 12 percent of ad dollars to them. While mobile drives only 2 to 3 percent of direct conversions, it is a factor in 40 percent of final sales. Why such slow adoption by brands? Anindya Ghose, NYU Professor and leading thinker on the mobile economy, describes “context” and “balance” as the possible keys.

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checklist

Why the Best Leaders Are Habitually Wrong

By | Leadership

Leaders are expected to have all the right answers. But getting those answers means asking the right questions. And the higher one climbs, the harder it becomes to ask these questions. How can you overcome this dilemma? Start early – establish bubble-bursting habits now to help surface the information you need tomorrow. Hal Gregersen, Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center, has recently shared tools in the Harvard Business Review that you can use today.

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Cover of The Signals Are Talking by Amy Webb

“The Signals Are Talking”: Winner of the 2017 Axiom Gold Award

By | Strategy, Technology, The Future

Are you preparing today for tomorrow’s global trends? In other words, are you thinking like a futurist? Amy Webb’s “The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe is Tomorrow’s Mainstream” (PublicAffairs, 2016) has revealed her methodology for answering vitally important questions about the future, and earned the 2017 Axiom Business Book Gold Award in the Business Technology category.

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Cracked brick wall

Who Can You Trust?

By | Technology, Politics & Government, The Future

Around the world, trust in our institutions is collapsing. More than a trend, this is a profound shift changing politics, business and social norms. Trust once reserved for respected institutions and brands, we now bestow on complete strangers through digital platforms such as Airbnb and Uber. The shift isn’t just about the failure of institutions; technology is rewriting the rules of trust.

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Gita drone

Pairing Innovation with Design for Personal Mobility

By | Innovation and Design, The Future, Transportation & Infrastructure

The transportation industry is changing. Vehicles are getting smarter and smaller, environments are being designed on a more human scale, and companies are rushing to innovate in the face of these changes. Or as Jeffrey Schnapp, of Harvard’s “idea foundry” metaLAB, describes it: “a sense that the world of mobility is undergoing a significant transformation.”

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Rice Bowl

Little Rice: Innovation Lessons from China

By | Innovation and Design, Technology, Marketing and Branding

The Chinese smartphone market has produced companies, leaders, and, of course, phones. But its most significant output is perhaps more unique: a user-centric innovation by Xiaomi that treats hardware as an afterthought rather than the main driver of sales. Clay Shirky, an NYU professor living in China for this academic year (he returns to teaching at New York University later this year), has been studying the $20 billion start-up and its techniques – the centerpiece of his new book, “Little Rice” (Columbia Global Reports).

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St. Peter's Basilica

The Moral Imperative of Modern Leadership

By | Leadership

We are living in a “moment of crisis for global capitalism,” Fortune Magazine Editor Alan Murray recently told an audience filled with some of the most powerful business leaders in the world. Held at the Vatican, the 2016 Fortune-Time Global Forum was inspired largely by Pope Francis calling on the “noble vocation” of business to help create a more inclusive and humane economy.

Dov Seidman, LRN CEO and author of “HOW,” joined Murray and Virgin CEO Richard Branson to open the day, describing the conditions of our reshaped world and the implications and imperatives for global leadership. While the conference itself offered ideas on everything from job creation and fair wages to education and health care, Seidman was asked to frame the conference and its objectives to how the private sector can be a driving force in creating a more sustainable world for all.

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Cape Town

How Can We Create Global Prosperity? Disruptive Innovation

By | Innovation and Design, Entrepreneurship, The Future

Africa’s economic slowdown, triggered by a plunge in commodity prices, has raised lingering questions about the continent’s future: Is Africa’s population boom more of a curse than a blessing? Can its economies generate the jobs necessary to employ a workforce projected to reach 830 million people by 2050? Will its leaders deliver the education and infrastructure required to unleash the productivity of its people?

The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation hopes to answer these questions and more through the work of its new research division focused on global prosperity. Led by researcher Efosa Ojomo, a champion of creating economic prosperity through disruptive innovation, his team will examine how emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, and Asia can create prosperity by focusing on innovations that build new markets and spur long-term economic growth and employment.

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a row of smiling chocolate Santas

Make Sure Your Seasonal Employees Are a Holiday Bright Spot

By | Innovation and Design, Leadership, Service Design and Delivery

The holiday rush is no reason to stop innovating. Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell have designed a five-step program to help you make the most of your seasonal employees, allowing them to contribute to improvements that will help your business all year round. Temporary employees present an opportunity for you to try new reporting structures, practices, and processes.

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