Representing Today's Visionaries with Tomorrow's Ideas

Amy Edmondson


In a recent Forbes review, Amy’s new book Building The Future was described as “a promising framework to guide leaders” aspiring to take on the complex challenges of the 21st century.

Released new book: Building the Future: Big Teaming for Audacious Innovation – April 2016

Awarded an Honorary doctorate from Maastricht University on the occasion of its 38th Dies Natalis for her “immense contribution to the field of organisational learning.”

Named to Thinkers50 for 2015, the foremost global ranking of management thinkers, also known as the “Oscars of Management Thinking.” This is Dr. Edmondson’s third consecutive appearance on the list.

praise for Amy Edmondson

“Edmondson’s insights that teams are verbs rather than nouns, and that leaders who focus on ‘teaming’ animate a more adaptive work environment, are a major advance in our grasp of leading, organizing, and learning. This is the work of a gifted, hands-on scholar at her best!”

– Karl E. Weick, Professor, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Amy Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School. Recognized by the biannual Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers since 2011, Amy teaches, writes, and speaks widely on teaming, leadership, innovation, decision-making, learning, failure, and psychological safety. Her field research spans the operating room, factory floor, mine shaft, space shuttle, construction pit, and executive suite, and she shares her compelling insights with diverse industry, government, association, and non-profit audiences worldwide. A beloved educator and a globally acclaimed presenter, Amy has earned the reputation as “a gifted, hands-on scholar at her best!”

Her articles have been published in Harvard Business Review and California Management Review, as well as in academic journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly and the Academy of Management Journal. Her books, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy, Teaming to Innovate (Jossey-Bass, 2012, 2013, and Building the Future: Big Teaming for Audacious Innovation, (Berrett-Koehler, 2016) explore teamwork in dynamic, unpredictable work environments.

Amy received her PhD in organizational behavior, AM in psychology, and AB in engineering and design, all from Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and their two sons.

  • Leadership
  • What Is a Learning Organization?
  • Innovation in Teams and Organizations
  • Collaborative Work Environments and Innovation

Content possibilities:

Using the dramatic situation of the 2010 rescue of 33 miners trapped 2000 feet underground in the high desert of Chile, I explore the role of leadership in creating an organization that accomplishes remarkable feats against difficult odds.  Explaining how the Chilean rescue unfolded serves to highlight a particular kind of leadership  that directs and empowers at the same time.  The session also emphasize the power of teaming  coordinating and collaborating across boundaries of many kinds (knowledge, distance, status).  The discussion will emphasize that a top-down, command-and-control approach would have failed utterly, as would pure bottom up (simply encouraging everyone to try anything, which would have produced chaos and harm). Instead, what was required, facing the unprecedented situation and ambiguous context, was coordinated teaming  multiple fluid groups of people working separately on different types of problems, and coordinating across groups, as needed.  Success, as in today’s pharmaceutical marketplace, also required progressive experimentation.   This is a process that requires leadership.

Using video vignettes of various leaders and organizations (e.g., Ed Catmull at Pixar, David Kelley at IDEO, Ferran Adria at El Bulli, or Steve Jobs at Apple, I will introduce and engage executives in a discussion of building a culture of innovation, and the role played by a company’s leadership in accomplishing this.   The core emphasis is the paradoxical culture of innovation which is both playful and rigorous, failure tolerant and ambitious, and the role of leadership in building such a culture.