where to test hypotheses and
NET WORK MINDS. Creators recognize
that harnessing cognitive diversity
can be a boon to any organization.
To do this, they design shared
spaces, foster flash teams, hold
prize competitions, and build work-
GIF T SMALL GOODS. As simple as it
might sound, creators trade in
generosity by sharing information,
helping with tasks, and opening
opportunities to others.
“The six essential skills are not discrete,
standalone practices; each feeds the next,
creating synergy and momentum,” she
says. “When a creator brings together all
six skills, employees, customers, investors,
and collaborators of all kinds take notice.
Customers become evangelists. Employees
turn into loyalists. Investors back the
company with support that transcends
financial returns. It’s something magical.
And it can happen anywhere.” Δ
refers to these change agents as “creators”
and identifies (and shares) six skills
that senior leaders can learn, practice,
and pass on to others:
FIND THE GAP. Creators keep their
eyes open for new opportunities
and unmet needs. They then meet
these needs by transplanting ideas
across divides, designing a new
way forward, or merging disparate
DRIVE FOR DAYLIGH T. Creators
focus on the future and set the pace
for others inside a company.
FLY THE OODA LOOP. Creators master
fast-cycle iteration by observing,
orienting, deciding, and acting
(hence the acronym OODA) on key
issues. This enables them to gain an
advantage and keep moving.
FAIL WISELY. Creators realize that
small failures are necessary to avoid
major mistakes. As part of this
learning process, they discover
HOW MAJOR PLAYERS MOVED THE NEEDLE
CASE STUDY 1
The Importance of
CASE STUDY 2
General Motors is the largest American automobile manufacturer and one of the
largest car companies in the world. From a business perspective, however, the
company historically has been glacially slow to innovate — that is, until recently.
Following a bankruptcy in 2009, the company has diversified operations in a big way,
moving from a car company to a mobility company.
One of the guest speakers in the Beyond Disruption course last fall was Mike
Abelson, GM’s vice president of global strategy. Abelson came to talk more about
how the company has expanded operations in a push to spark innovation. Instead of
managing only internal-combustion cars, GM is pushing for ward into autonomous
vehicles, connectivity and connected cars, electrification, and ride sharing.
Charles O’Reilly III, the Frank E. Buck Professor of Management, says the GM
strategy is to create “ambidexterity” — to stay the course with proven products and
simultaneously innovate with the hopes of growing new product lines and scaling
them accordingly. Already, GM is piloting autonomous cars with the help of Cruise
Automation. It also just announced a new e-bike product and launched a rideshare
service named Maven in 2018.
“Will they be successful? I don’t know,” O’Reilly says. “They sure have organized
themselves in a successful way.”
When Walmart wanted to experiment
in the competitive world of retail,
it turned to its customers for
guidance, and they said they wanted
more convenient access to health
care. Data supported this move —
demographics indicate that nearly
90% of the United States population
lives within 10 miles of a Walmart.
These were the driving forces
behind the chain’s push to expand
and amplify in-store health and
wellness options with health care
providers and medical clinics.
In many ways, the move is a no-
brainer. Walmart has had pharmacy,
ophthalmology, and some pediatric
services for years. Bringing in
more doctors and health care
providers means the brand simply is
being consistent with the company
mission: to provide access to
consumers for services they need.
Lori Flees, Walmart’s senior
vice president and general
merchandising manager, says that
by moving into health care, Walmart
gets to leverage assets and
capabilities to convert long-standing
merchandise customers to become
long-term medical customers, too.
“Companies like Walmart know
they have to move faster and smarter
every single day — and that means
repurposing huge assets to mitigate
risk and open new opportunities to
serve customer needs,” says Amy
Wilkinson, a lecturer in management
at Stanford GSB. “The fact that
they’re innovating like this is pretty