R. Moss Kanter: How to become a company that transforms the world

May 20 2009

Grand declarations about innovation are followed by mediocre execution that produces anemic results

Rosabeth Moss Kanter is the first speaker of the Innovation Plenary Congress, the meeting summit where internationally renowned speakers will share key opinions on the effective innovation strategies.

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Internationally recognized business leader, author and consultant in business and government transformation, her strategic and practical insights have guided leaders of large and small organizations worldwide for over 25 years, through teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations and governments. Moss Kanter  especially highlights, as you can read in the interview published in Working Knowledge, what companies can do to avoid the innovation traps that snare so many:

Innovation seems to be rediscovered in each managerial generation (about every six years) as a fundamental way to enable new growth. But each generation seems to have forgotten or never learned the mistakes of the past, so we see classic traps repeated over and over again.

Errors such as  “burying innovation teams under too much bureaucracy, treating the innovators as more valued corporate citizens than those who work in the current business, and hiring leaders who don’t have the relationship and communications skills necessary to foster innovation. And too often executives lack courage—they call for innovation but then pull the plug on every idea brought their way. Companies need a culture and way of working that emphasizes flexibility and attention to relationships across areas.”
“Managers at companies like IBM, Seagate, Williams-Sonoma, P&G and Gillete, have learned the innovation lessons of the past. They strike the right balance between getting the highest returns from current activities and investing in new growth, they create organizational flexibility, and they foster communication and relationships.”

New business opportunities

Currently, Rosabeth Moss Kanter is working closely with a number of global companies that set high standards for themselves.  She is looking to see how they develop those standards, how they apply them to every business function, and how they use them to raise the standards of the countries in which they operate. She is also currently the chair of a Harvard University group that aims to help successful leaders at the top of their professions apply their skills to addressing challenging national and global problems.

Professor Kanter is the author or co-author of 17 books, which have been translated into 17 languages.  Her 18th book will appear in August 2009, under the tentative title, The Vanguard: How Principle-Led Companies are Changing the World of Business (and Maybe the World).

Professor Kanter has been named to lists of the “50 most powerful women in the world” (Times of London), and the “50 most influential business thinkers in the world” (Accenture and Thinkers 50 research). In 2001, she received the Academy of Management’s Distinguished Career Award for her scholarly contributions to management knowledge, and in 2002 was named “Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year” by the World Teleport Association.
Rosabeth Kantor goes into leading-edge corporations, learns from them and then serves up what she’s learnt in nicely digestible messages for the rest of us.