Representing Today's Visionaries with Tomorrow's Ideas

Amy Edmondson


Read Amy Edmondson’s newest book: The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth – released November 2018.

Listen to Amy’s latest TED Talk: How to turn a group of strangers into a team

Cursed by Knowledge — Building a Culture of Psychological Safety – The New England Journal of Medicine 

In a recent Forbes review, Amy Edmondson’s  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

“After our speakers present, we ask clients to rank their performance on a 1-5 scale. Amy has never received a score lower than “5.” In fact, clients frequently ask if they can assign her a rating of 5000 or five million! They also repeatedly invite her back to deliver keynotes or workshops for new audiences.”

– Joan Powell, President, Leading Thoughts

Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, a chair established to support the study of human interactions that lead to the creation of successful enterprises that contribute to the betterment of society. Both professionally and personally, Professor Edmondson personifies these values.

Edmondson was recognized by the biannual Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 and was honored with the Talent Award in 2017.  She studies teaming, psychological safety, and leadership, and has written over 70 articles and case studies on leadership, teams, innovation, and organizational learning. She has received numerous awards, including the Accenture Award for significant contribution to improving the practice of management, the Cummings Award for mid-career achievement from the Academy of Management, and one of the 20 Most Influential International Thinkers in Human Resources award by HR Magazine.

Her books – Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy, Teaming to Innovate, and Extreme Teaming explore teamwork in dynamic organizational environments. In Building the Future: Big Teaming for Audacious innovation, she examines the challenges and opportunities of teaming across industries to build smart cities. Her latest book, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth, offers a practical guide for organizations serious about success in the modern economy. This book explores the culture of psychological safety and provides a blueprint for bringing it to life.

A beloved professor at HBS as well as a respected and compelling speaker and consultant to corporations, government entities, and nonprofit organizations worldwide, Amy Edmondson typically receives the highest audience evaluations with clients often adding that she changed their thinking and was the best speaker they had ever engaged.

Professor Edmondson received her PhD in organizational behavior, AM in psychology, and AB in engineering and design, all from Harvard University.

  • 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.


The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

fearless organizationConquer the most essential adaptation to the knowledge economy

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth offers practical guidance for teams and organizations who are serious about success in the modern economy. With so much riding on innovation, creativity, and spark, it is essential to attract and retain quality talent—but what good does this talent do if no one is able to speak their mind? The traditional culture of “fitting in” and “going along” spells doom in the knowledge economy. Success requires a continuous influx of new ideas, new challenges, and critical thought, and the interpersonal climate must not suppress, silence, ridicule or intimidate. Not every idea is good, and yes there are stupid questions, and yes dissent can slow things down, but talking through these things is an essential part of the creative process. People must be allowed to voice half-finished thoughts, ask questions from left field, and brainstorm out loud; it creates a culture in which a minor flub or momentary lapse is no big deal, and where actual mistakes are owned and corrected, and where the next left-field idea could be the next big thing.

Shed the “yes-men” approach and step into real performance. Fertilize creativity, clarify goals, achieve accountability, redefine leadership, and much more. Psychological Safety at Work: How to Ensure Learning and Innovation in the Knowledge Economy helps you bring about this most critical transformation.

Building the Future: Big Teaming for Audacious Innovation


Teaming to Innovate


Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy

Articles & Videos

Cursed by Knowledge — Building a Culture of Psychological Safety – The New England Journal of Medicine

How to turn a group of strangers into a team – TED Talk, October 2017

Strategies for Learning from Failure, Harvard Business Review, April, 2011.

Amy describes how to manage intellectually diverse and geographically dispersed groups

Amy discusses effective teaming

Amy explores ways to build teams that learn

In the News