Ranjay Gulati is the Paul R. Lawrence MBA Class of 1942 Professor and the former Unit Head of the Organisational Behaviour Unit at Harvard Business School. In his new book, Deep Purpose: The Heart and Soul of High-Performance Companies, he argues that companies must embed purpose more deeply than they currently do, treating it as a radically new operating system for enterprise. At a time when many have become cynical about purpose, Gulati documents the vast performance gains that purpose-driven companies achieve as well as the social benefits they deliver. In this interview, I speak to Professor Ranjay Gulati about deep purpose, leadership, and his field research in organisations including Etsy, Lego, Warby Parker, Mahindra, Microsoft and the Seattle Seahawks. Gulati discusses how long-term value and short-term performance need not conflict but rather, when leaders go deep on purpose, high-performance and durable profits typically follow, delighting all stakeholders. Deeper engagement with purpose holds the key, not merely to the well-being of individual companies, but to humanity’s future.

Thought Economics

Renzo Rosso founded the Diesel brand in 1978 and made it an alternative lifestyle icon all over the world. Today he is the president of OTB, the group controlling brands Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Jil Sander, Viktor & Rolf, Amiri and companies Staff International and Brave Kid, with over 6,000 employees worldwide and a 2019 turnover of over 1.5 billion euro. Through his personal company, Red Circle, he invests in companies and sectors that share a strong drive for innovation (Depop, ICONIQ Capital, Cortilia, Masi Agricola, Planet Farms, med-tech companies and more). Red Circle also owns the Pelican Hotel in Miami, the Chiltern Firehouse Hotel in London, and the Hotel Ancora in Cortina D’Ampezzo. Through the OTB Foundation, which he founded in 2008, he has invested in over 250 social projects around the world, from the restoration of the Rialto Bridge in Venice, to the support of communities affected by natural disasters, to programs helping women, young people, and integration. In the Covid emergency, OTB Foundation was among the most concretely active realities in Italy. In this interview, I speak to Renzo Rosso, President of OTB Group, about his life in entrepreneurship, creative vision, what it takes to build iconic, global fashion brands and why philanthropy & sustainability matter.

Thought Economics

Tim Leberecht is a German-American author and entrepreneur, and the co-founder and co-CEO of the House of Beautiful Business, a global think tank and community with the mission to make humans more human and business more beautiful. In this interview, I speak to Tim Leberecht on how we can make business beautiful.

Thought Economics

Mr Noor ul Owase Jeelani is a world-renowned neurosurgeon, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. With a surgical career spanning 20 years, he is currently Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), world leader in craniopagus twin separation, and Founder of Gemini Untwined. In this interview, I speak to Owase Jeelani about what we can learn from the mindset of surgery, how to make decisions in life and death situations, and how to overcome our biases to enable better strategic thinking.

Thought Economics

Digitisation is a massive and massively important trend – one accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. But despite fervent preaching from the Silicon Valley faithful, it’s not the only kind of competency that matters. Silicon Valley veteran and Stanford lecturer Robert E. Siegel argues that amid the incessant drumbeat of digital transformation, too many leaders overlook and under-appreciate the traditional competencies of physical incumbents – things like logistics, manufacturing, customer service, and quality control. The rigid dichotomy between digital and physical is not only over-done, but dangerous to companies trying to succeed. Siegel bridges the gulf in his new book THE BRAINS AND BRAWN COMPANY: How Leading Organisations Blend the Best of Digital and Physical. In this interview, I speak to Robert E. Siegel about how companies that bridge the digital (brain) and physical (brawn) domains will develop huge competitive advantages. We discuss his ten-point framework for the digital and physical realms and look practically at how to put the framework into action by becoming a systems leader, skilled at blending the best of digital and physical, recognising emerging patterns, and making key decisions in a rapidly changing landscape.

Thought Economics

In 2009, a St. Louis glassblowing artist and recovering computer scientist named Jim McKelvey lost a sale because he couldn’t accept American Express cards. Frustrated by the high costs and difficulty of accepting credit card payments, McKelvey joined his friend Jack Dorsey (the cofounder of Twitter) to launch Square, a start-up that would enable small merchants to accept credit card payments on their mobile phones. With no expertise or experience in the world of payments, they approached the problem of credit cards with a new perspective, questioning the industry’s assumptions, experimenting and innovating their way through early challenges, and achieving widespread adoption from merchants small and large. But just as Square was taking off, Amazon launched a similar product, marketed it aggressively, and undercut Square on price. For most ordinary start-ups, this would have spelled the end. Instead, less than a year later, Amazon was in retreat and soon discontinued its service. How did Square beat the most dangerous company on the planet? Was it just luck? These questions motivated McKelvey to study what Square had done differently from all the other companies Amazon had killed. He eventually found the key: a strategy he calls the Innovation Stack. In this interview I speak to Jim McKelvey, Co-Founder of Square and author of The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time. We talk about how to build a pattern of ground-breaking, competition-proof entrepreneurship that is rare but repeatable. And how we can find the entrepreneur within ourselves and identify and fix unsolved problems–one crazy idea at a time.

Thought Economics

Federico Marchetti is a remarkable entrepreneur defined by the New York Times as “the man who put fashion on the net”, has revolutionised the fashion industry. Marchetti founded YOOX, the world’s first lifestyle e-commerce destination, in 2000, way before the launch of Facebook and the iPhone. YOOX was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange in 2009; today, it remains Italy’s sole “unicorn”. In 2015, Marchetti drove the game-changing merger of YOOX and NET-A-PORTER to create the world leader in online luxury and fashion. Today, the Group is a unique eco-system connecting more than 1 billion people every year with the joy of luxury and fashion that lasts a lifetime and beyond. Back in 2009 he launched YOOXYGEN, the sustainability platform with collaborations including Katherine Hamnett, Amber Valletta, Vivienne Westwood, Edun and Stella Jean. Around that time, Marchetti’s team developed YOOX’s “ECOBOX”, which is fully recyclable and plastic-free, and is now the standard across NET- A-PORTER, MR PORTER and THE OUTNET. In 2021 His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales invited Marchetti to take on the role of Champion of HRH’s Sustainable Markets Initiative Task Force on Fashion. This follows the success of The Modern Artisan project between The Prince’s Foundation and YOOX NET-A-PORTER, a first of its kind training programme invented by Marchetti, promoting sustainable luxury design and craftsmanship through the use of data and technology. Alongside sustainability, inclusion and diversity have been central to the ethical approach that Marchetti has adopted over the last twenty years. He runs a mentorship programme for aspiring entrepreneurs from backgrounds that are typically underrepresented in the industry and is a founding member of the Champions of Change Coalition Global Technology Group, which works to advance gender equality in the tech sector. In 2020 Marchetti became the first non-family member to join the Giorgio Armani S.p.A Board of Directors as Independent Non-Executive Director. In 2017 Marchetti has been recognized by the President of the Italian Republic who knighted him as a Cavaliere. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Federico Marchetti remarkable entrepreneur defined by the New York Times as “the man who put fashion on the net,” on entrepreneurship, fashion, sustainability and luxury.

Thought Economics

In Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement, Nobel Prize Winner, Daniel Kahneman together with co-authors Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein show how noise helps produce errors in many fields, including medicine, law, public health, economic forecasting, food safety, forensic science, bail verdicts, child protection, strategy, performance reviews and personnel selection. And although noise can be found wherever people make judgments and decisions, individuals and organizations alike commonly ignore to its role in their judgments and in their actions. They show “noise neglect.” With a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias, and so make far better decisions. In these interviews, I speak to Daniel Kahneman (winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and the National Medal of Freedom in 2013) and Cass R. Sunstein (Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard, where he is founder and director of the Program on Behavioural Economics and Public Policy). We talk about how noise impacts our decision making, how judgements are made, and why we need think about making decisions, much like washing our hands.

Thought Economics

In his book Shoemaker, Joe Foster tells the powerful tale of triumph against all the odds, revealing the challenges and sacrifices that go into creating a world-beating brand; it is also the story of how a small local business can transform itself, with the right products and the right vision, into something much, much bigger. In this interview, I spoke to Joe Foster about the remarkable story of how he turned a small factory in Bolton into one of the world’s most famous sports brands, Reebok.

Thought Economics

In this interview, I speak to Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. Dr. Goleman is an internationally known psychologist who lectures frequently to professional groups, business audiences, and on college campuses. Working as a science journalist, Goleman reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times for many years. His 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books) was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year-and-a-half; it is available around the world in 40 languages, and has been a best seller in many countries. I speak to Daniel Goleman about the purpose of emotions, the importance of emotional intelligence and why leaders need to understand emotions & emotional intelligence.

Thought Economics

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