Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Nilofer Merchant’s Required Reading

strategy+business, October 12, 2016

by Theodore Kinni

Nilofer Merchant knows something about value creation. By her reckoning, she has had a hand in launching more than 100 products that have netted a combined US$18 billion in sales — first in stints at Apple and Autodesk, and later as an advisor to technology companies such as Logitech, Symantec, and HP.

Rather than focusing on processes and tools, Merchant sees the humanist values of diversity, inclusivity, and collaboration as the keys to creating corporate value. “It’s not that everyone will but that anyone can contribute,” she says.

Her two books reiterate the message. In The New How: Creating Business Solutions through Collaborative Strategy (O’Reilly Media, 2010), Merchant traces the difficulties that many companies encounter in executing strategy to the conventional top-down approach to strategy formulation. She argues for a more inclusive approach to strategy-making that enlists the people responsible for executing it. In 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra (Harvard Business Press, 2012), Merchant contends that social technologies and tools have given rise to a new era in which the basis for value creation is collaboration and co-creation by communities of people who are united by an aspirational purpose.

Named to the Thinkers50 list in 2015, Merchant is also a fellow at the Martin Prosperity Institute, where she is exploring the implications of “onlyness” on the future of democratic capitalism. “Each of us is standing in a spot that no one else occupies,” she says. “This individual onlyness is the fuel of vast creativity, innovations, and adaptability.”

I asked Merchant for a short list of the best reads on value creation. She called out the following three books and a seminal article on organizational learning. Read the rest here.

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