Open brainstorming is the way to go
Prof Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School offers some advice on the future for Ireland’s economy
The process of innovation is almost invariably a positive one as it generally creates a reservoir of knowledge that can be recycled even if early initiatives were not successful, she adds.
She is a big fan of rapid prototyping.
“I’m all for radical innovation but you go about conservatively,” she says, explaining that companies should push their new products and services out to a sample of the market, get quick reactions, then respond appropriately by changing the formula, if necessary, based on how customers react or trying something completely different if it is simply not working.
She remains an optimist and noting the sluggishness of the western economic bloc feels nonetheless that there are huge opportunities in the world, especially for those who focus on emerging markets, where there are enormous needs for products and services.
Now 70, Kanter has seen many changes in the world of management and says that things have generally improved.
Her 1977 book Men and Women of the Corporation, based on a five-year study, is regarded as a seminal book on corporate power and exposed the culture of gender inequality rife in the corporate world in that era.
It’s a theme she returns to from time to time. In a Harvard Business Review blog she wonders if we would have had quite the same devastating financial crisis five years ago if Lehman Bros had been Lehman Sisters,
Would closing the gender gap to increase the number of women financial leaders improve financial institutions and prevent further damage to the global financial system?
She is a cautious advocate of this notion, noting that good stereotypes of women can be just as confining and inaccurate as bad stereotypes and increasing numbers of women won’t by itself change institutions in itself.
“But getting more women on the inside with greater power and influence could be a useful step. When elites become more diverse, certain crony strangle-hoods are loosened,” she notes.