Lessons I’ve Learned from Conversations with Global Leaders

It’s estimated that nearly 4.1 billion people will be connected to the Internet by 2020, accounting for more than 52 percent of the world’s population[1]. This massive connectivity will not only transform the way we interact with each other, but also with the government. We are in the midst of what I call the “country digitization transition” – where countries are getting ahead and harnessing the power of connectivity by implementing a digital agenda. I’ve had the honor of meeting many... Read more →

Seriously? You’re starting a tech company in DC?

I get this question about once a week – usually from founders in San Francisco, New York or Silicon Valley. A few years ago when we launched the Startup America Partnership with the Case Foundation and Kauffman Foundation, the conversation around startups was very different – in fact, there really wasn’t one. We hustled around the country and talked to founders about how they can fire up their communities on the importance of startups in every city. It’s good for the economy, it’s good... Read more →

Mistakes only harm us if we don’t learn from them

Mistakes. We all make them. Before the automobile, Americans thought they wanted faster horses. Fortunately, Henry Ford saw what many did not. Healthcare has had its share of mistakes too. Trying to incent healthcare to go electronic when all other things make the transition so naturally. Trying to make information flow despite having reimbursement models that reward information stasis. Layering on laws and rules of protection only to inadvertently create medical monopolies that rarely best serve... Read more →

Delivering the elevator pitch to European entrepreneurs with UberPITCH

I often hear people complain about how hard it must be to be an entrepreneur in Europe. They tell me about real and perceived barriers, a lack of support or trust. At times people say “the only way is Silicon Valley”; I disagree. Having spent most of my life in Europe — I grew up in Paris and worked there, London and Amsterdam — I can honestly say that, although there might be some issues, I have high hopes for Europe and its fantastic talent. Europe is home to some incredible companies... Read more →

Nestlé’s Risky But Noble Approach to a Worldwide Problem

Imagine this scenario: your firm, which operates in 189 countries and is worth over 240 Billion dollars, manufactures a product with a core ingredient proven to be the culprit for major health concerns worldwide. This scenario has occurred in the past with tobacco and alcohol products, and it’s happening again with brands who sell products high in sugar like Coca-Cola and Nestlé. In such circumstances, how does your business react? How do you answer the critics? How do you inspire employees to... Read more →

The American Undergraduate Experience (circa 2016)

The American undergraduate experience is not what you see in newspapers and movies. What does it look like today? About a third of college students live with parents or other relatives. One in five is at least 30 years old. Thirty-seven percent go to school part-time. Almost 2 of 5 attend two-year community colleges. Only 60% of students who started a four-year college in 2007 graduated from the same school by 2013. (When statisticians measure graduation rates at four-year colleges, they now look... Read more →

Corporate Innovation Management – Unstructured Time

Google became a pioneer in the domain of corporate innovation some years ago by introducing the notion of 20% unstructured time in which employees could work on whatever they wanted. Other large enterprises followed along, and started experimenting with their own interpretations of unstructured time. Most came to the conclusion, including Google itself, that completely unstructured time is not productive, and does not yield innovative ideas or projects. On this subject, I want to call out another... Read more →

Automation: A new frontier of Human-Machine partnership

Think future of Automation. What do you visualize? Humanoids in our offices? Robots running our factories? Driverless cars on the roads? Watson, Deep Blue, AlphaGo? I have often been asked about my views on this fascinating subject as an insider in this world. But, before I delve into that, let me specify: As I see it, the future of automation is here and now. Only, it is far from an edge of the seat sci-fi thriller that you might imagine. Automation is no longer an option in the 21st century enterprise.... Read more →

Happy Customers: How To Get Them!

We all want to be happy. But how do you consistently make your customers happy? Experts from companies like Disney and SoulCycle offered good advice on this subject during a panel discussion on designing happiness at SXSW. As customer experience consultants, we know that happiness is one of the key emotions that drives short term purchases and longer term brand loyalty. By designing an experience with the customer’s happiness in mind, brands can turn casual customers into enthusiastic fans. Anticipation,... Read more →

Five Ways Having a Kid Raised My Consciousness About How Gender Operates in the Workplace

Pandora Women’s Leadership Month is a big deal at Pandora. It’s a month we set aside to celebrate and empower the women who work here, led by our Pandora Women employee community group – an engaged, 250-strong member group that grew up organically in the organization well over 5 years ago. There is a very strong women’s culture at Pandora, a fact visibly reflected in the 50-50 gender split in our employee base, a rarity in the tech industry. When Pandora launched over 10 years ago,... Read more →
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