Researching news clippings for teaching creative strategic thinking

“In strategic thinking, we have learned that there is no such thing as a mature industry: there is only an industry to which imagination has yet to be applied”
– Steven Denning

I’m researching material for my upcoming strategy class. This spring I also run several executive education programs where strategic management is part of the program. The goal: teach students at all levels more creative strategic thinking.I have excellent books and great case studies, but I am looking for recent, up-to-date material they will recognize. Apple, Amazon, Facebook are easy pickings for good case studies. As are Nokia, Kodak and Sony for the worse stories.The search for the best material is still on-going. So far, I’m reading through this selection… (still on-going)

David Brooks: Competitiveness Vs Creativity: GE vs Apple

How To Succeed Like Apple and Amazon

Strategy Is The Antidote To Complexity, Killer Of Today’s Best Companies

Apple’s inevitable path to a post-PC era

Apple=Sony: Brace For The Coming Post-Steve Jobs Decline

Apple = Sony? Don’t You Believe It

Here’s Why Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years

Also worth looking into are these posts on the creative economy and how to teach it.

The Creative Monopoly

Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup—Stanford, Spring 2012 (PayPal founder, early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, now teaching at Stanford)

Five Days to Change the World – The Columbia Lean LaunchPad Class

And a few on Nokia…

Nokia: Demand Still Falling, The Worst Is Still To Come

Nokia loses mobile top spot. What does it have left?

Footnote, also adding this one…
Be Your Own Bank: Bitcoin Wallet for Apple


HBR: The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs

In 2011 Walter Isaacson wrote a superbly great book on Steve Jobs. Now, he’s bakc with a Harvard Business Review article with special focus on Steve Jobs’ leadership style. Read it.

We’ll be working to update on of our keynote speeches based on this most recent article.

While much has been said about Jobs’ leadership style, few writers has ever had the insight and access Walter Isaacson has had. This makes his article “The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs” truly stand out.

Early in the article Isaacson writes, “So I think the real lessons from Steve Jobs have to be drawn from looking at what he actually accomplished. I once asked him what he thought was his most important creation, thinking he would answer the iPad or the Macintosh. Instead he said it was Apple the company. Making an enduring company, he said, was both far harder and more important than making a great product. How did he do it? Business schools will be studying that question a century from now.”

This, of course, is the BIG question executives and students worldwide should be asking themselves. What can we learn from Apple? If Apple has managed to disrupt several industries, which ones could we disrupt?

Isaacson sums up his key lessons in these 14 points. Enjoy the entire article here.

1) Focus;
2) Simplify;
3) Take Responsibility End to End;
4) When Behind, Leapfrog;
5) Put Products Before Profits;
6) Don’t Be a Slave To Focus Groups;
7) Bend Reality;
8) Impute;
9) Push for Perfection;
10) Tolerate Only “A” Players;
11) Engage Face-to-Face;
12) Know Both the Big Picture and the Details;
13) Combine the Humanities with the Sciences;
14) Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

This week’s Economist has a truly brilliant piece on Apple’s booming share price. It makes a great supplement to the HBR leadership article.

(source: iRational?, the Economist,


What a great week; thanks everyone

An incredibly exciting week is drawing to an end. I’m on the ferry, heading back home, reflecting on the past five days and the number of engaged and passionate people I’ve met – people that all desire to drive change, create innovation and build a better future. What an awesome week.

Monday saw me teach “Facebook IPO” to our third year Bachelor students. The morning session started off with “understanding Facebook’s Business Model”. Using the Business Model Canvas, the students attempted to map out the key drivers of Facebook’s revenue structure and overall business model. Challenging exercise, but thanks to the recent IPO filings, more light is shed on this extremely successful company. Imagine, started eight years ago, and today it has one of the highest profits per employee of any company in the world.

Our afternoon session took us through “understanding Facebook’s IPO communication process”. Using recent press clippings, news reports and YouTube-videos, we were able to build a picture of the ongoing battle between Facebook stakeholders with massive incentives to drive a success story, while a critical press and skeptical analysts attempted to balance the picture. My personal favorite was WSJ’s “Five Concerns about Facebook IPO”, concluding that the company would require an “adult CEO” to grow as a public company. Hahaha. That’s Apple and John Sculley all over again. Zuck; stay CEO, stay true to the Hacker’s Way.

Tuesday brought a full class of first year students in Organization and leadership. There truly are the leaders of tomorrow, and our Business School owes them the best it can give. We started off with a slideset concluding “This Course is About You and Your Leadership Development”. Divided into teams of five, the students will work on various learning and development challenges throughout the semester.

Wednesday morning brought kick-off for a ten day, nine months, leadership development program of a global oil and gas company. Opening day focused on bringing innovation thinking into the leadership role. Using extensive material from strategic innovation and The Management Innovation Exchange, the 23 executive students got a solid mental challenge to stretch their existing mental models of their own leadership roles.

Wednesday afternoon (some would say evening) I had the pleasure of teaching our course on ‘’Innovation and Entrepreneurship’’ for 25 Bachelor students. After an initial set of student presentations (major room for improvement), we set off trying to understand how Norwegian firms can learn from Apple’s innovation processes. Using the movie “Pirates of Sillicon Valley”, the student got a good grasp of the founding days of both Apple and Microsoft. Great movie and highly inspirational for tomorrow’s innovators.

Thursday morning it was back to the oil & gas executives, this time together with a BI teaching colleague. Our second day focused on personal reflection, communication styles and coaching training. It was a great start to our year-long program, and I am truly looking forward to working with these executives for our ten day leadership training program.

Thursday afternoon was an event I had been looking forward to for some time; the Innovation seminar at Young in Statoil. These guys are the next generation leadership at Statoil, and getting invited to give a keynote presentation on innovation is a great honor. My two hour talk covered “Dream Bigger”, “The Dinosaur and the Pirate” and how you can create management innovation in your own team or department. Read more about the Innovation Seminar here.

Friday morning I was on the ferry to Haugesund for Haugesund Næringforening ‘s lunch seminar. I was invited to give a keynote on Apple and what Norwegian firms can learn from Apple’s innovation success. You can read more about the keynote here.

Now, sitting on the ferry back home, allows for reflection on great learning, great conversations and truly inspiring encounters with people of all ages and all backgrounds trying to change their business models, and their organizations for the better.

My best advice, “Dream Bigger” and “Just do it”.
To quote Walt Disney, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. Remember, it all started with a dream”.