Representing Today's Visionaries with Tomorrow's Ideas

Brook Manville


In his recent Forbes article, Brook reviews Amy Edmondson’s new book on leadership and big-teaming and suggests a number of key takeaways for leaders striving to achieve large scale innovation.

praise for Brook Manville

“Brook Manville is exceptional in tailoring decades of experience in management and in leadership coaching to fit the size and complexity of an organization. There’s a welcome pragmatism to Brook’s approach to getting at root cause. He couples clarity with a compassion for leaders who are struggling to break through tough issues. Brook capably weaves into meetings and presentations his experience and insights, never losing sight of the perspective and preoccupations of the people in the room.”

Diane de Ryss, Director of Grants & Contracts Services, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“As a facilitator Brook Manville has an engaging and perceptive style that draws all participant’s thoughts/ideas into the discussion. He quickly identifies themes in the room and guides the discussion to dig deeper into relevant areas. He deftly facilitated a three-day United Way Worldwide event with representatives from 12 countries which helped create an amazing sense of unity among the participants, despite significant cultural differences.”

Robert Berdelle  /  EVP and CFO/  United Way Worldwide

“I’ve known Brook Manville for almost thirty years, and he remains one of the most thoughtful people I know. You won’t find a more reflective speaker or moderator for your event. Whether the subject is knowledge, learning, communities, or (our joint) work on good decisions in organizations, virtually everyone would benefit from close access to his vast expertise.”

Thomas H. Davenport, Distinguished Professor, Babson College

Brook Manville is Principal of Brook Manville, LLC, a consultancy focused on strategy, organizational development, and executive leadership. Brook has special expertise in knowledge strategy and management, organizational learning, and leadership development. He also serves as an executive coach to for-profit and non-profit leaders. Brook’s recent consulting clients have been major foundations, social innovation organizations, and network-style membership enterprises. He is a regular contributor on leadership for

Brook was previously Executive Vice President of the United Way of America (the largest U.S. charity) where he led transformation of its membership network to a new strategy of “community impact,” and global philanthropy.

Before United Way, Brook was Chief Learning Officer and Customer Evangelist of Saba Software, a leading provider of e-learning and human capital tools. There he directed thought leadership, customer and advisory groups, organizational development, and also supported major account programs.

The major part of Brook’s career was as a partner at McKinsey & Company, specializing in organizational development and knowledge-related strategy. Brook consulted to Fortune 500 companies, and was also a leader of McKinsey’s original knowledge management program. He was McKinsey’s first Director of Knowledge Management, and CIO, 1991-1994.

Brook has been profiled by Tom Peters in Liberation Management (1991), and by Fast Company (various) and Knowledge Management magazines (2000). He has authored pioneering articles on organizational learning and knowledge management in Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, and other industry publications; and two critically-acclaimed business books: A Company of Citizens: What the World’s First Democracy Teaches Leader About Creating Great Organizations (2003, with co-author Josiah Ober); Judgment Calls: Twelve Stories of Big Decisions and the Teams That Got Them Right (Harvard Business School Press, 2011, with co-author Thomas Davenport).

Trained as a historian, Brook began his career at Northwestern University as an award-winning professor and author of several academic publications, including The Origins of Athenian Citizenship (1999). During the 1980s, he also worked as a free-lance journalist, business/technology analyst at CBS, Inc.and helped launch the first online medical information service for physicians (“Colleague”).

Brook holds a Ph.D. in history from Yale and undergraduate degrees in classics from Oxford and Yale.

Your Brain on Decision-Making: Why Your Organization Is Smarter than You

This presentation overviews Brook’s recent book on organizational judgment  and illustrates with case examples how leaders can avoid the pitfalls of “lonely heroic decisions” and better leverage their organizations to improve decision-making.

Leadership in an Age of Networks,  Open Source and Mass Collaboration

This talk focuses on emerging ideas from his forthcoming book “Mobilizers”, highlighting through special case studies and examples the qualities and behaviors that distinguish a new generation of leaders. As organizations continue to morph away from hierarchies and traditional bureaucracies, new forms of leadership are called for—to navigate the new world of virtual value chains, social networking, open source collaboration and cross-boundary innovation.

Knowledge Management Turns Twenty: What We’ve Learned about Organizational Learning – and What the Future Holds for Your Enterprise

As a pioneer thoughtleader and practitioner of knowledge management in the 1990s, and a continuing advisor to organizations working in this realm today,  Brook has developed a wealth of experience and insights about what really works, doesn’t work, and why. This talk looks back on some of the major “lessons learned” and looks ahead to implications for future knowledge based organizations—including discussion of the new war for talent, organizational culture change, the network economy, and social media.

The Citizen Workplace: Building a Democratic Organizational Culture for Performance

In this talk Brook reflects on changes in today’s workplaces and talent markets, and makes the case for a new form of performance-accountable but empowering approaches to managing people.  The discussion focuses on the core concept of “citizenship” as the governing theme, exploring notions of rights and responsibilities, decision-making processes, and cultural values that balance freedom and accountability.  Brook’s presentation includes case examples of successful democratic workplaces, reflections on current and emerging generation of talent and workforce members, and comments on the value of democratic culture for collaboration, productivity and employee motivation.

Philanthropy with Profit, Performance with Mission

This presentation offers a future and visionary perspective on the merging of the for-profit and non-profit sectors, and how corporate strategy and innovation—and the real cases of corporate social responsibility—are being reshaped in an era of growing social consciousness combined with global competitiveness. Brook’s remarks, illustrated with specific examples, then address implications for all players in this emerging new world—corporations, non-profits, funders, investors, governments—and how the savviest organizations of the future will position themselves in the coming societal and economic transformations.