"Most firms do not live for very long. Only one in twenty lives longer than fifty years. Most struggle to keep up with the challenges of today′s dynamic markets. When they don′t, they die—they are taken over or go bankrupt. However, some firms beat the odds. They survive for long periods and create lasting value. Serial Innovators builds on a wide range of research and practical insights to show how firms can re–invent themselves and thrive for the long term. An essential guide for anyone leading organizations in today′s fast–paced global markets."
—Joseph Jimenez, Chief Executive Officer, Novartis AG
"How does a company thrive and last? It can try to extend its life cycle (as unpromising a strategy for organizations as it is for humans), or it can have many life cycles, by learning the secrets of regeneration and renewal. In this engaging narrative—Claudio Feser is as much a storyteller as a strategy consultant—we are given the means to unraveling these secrets. Get ready for a rich and rewarding ride!"
—Robert Kegan, Meehan Professor of Adult Learning, Harvard University, and Coauthor, Immunity to Change
"A rich source of insights for business leaders who are transforming their organizations into firms that can thrive and win in today′s dynamic markets. Well worth reading."
—Martin Senn, Chief Executive Officer, Zurich Financial Services Ltd
"Serial Innovators delivers profound and practical insights on innovation and company adaptation with remarkable simplicity. It draws from a wide range of research to provide business leaders with a practical guide for building organizations that can innovate continuously and thus capture value creation opportunities in the complexity of today′s global and dynamic markets."
—Ernst Fehr, Professor and Chairman, Department of Economics, University of Zurich
"Long–lasting, successful institutions are driven by the desire to make a difference. This book makes a difference. The story of Carl is illuminating, transforming facts and academic findings into business life′s reality. When you compare your situation, your experience, and your behavior with Carl′s approach, you can reflect on your personal challenges, and you can find out—well beyond business—what really matters!"
—Rolf Dörig, Chairman, Adecco SA and Swiss Life Holding Ltd
PART I THE EPHEMERAL NATURE OF FIRMS
CHAPTER 1 Meet Carl Berger 3
CHAPTER 2 Corporate Life Cycle 11
PART II INDIVIDUAL RIGIDITIES
CHAPTER 3 To Err Is Human 25
CHAPTER 4 The Greatest of All Time 39
CHAPTER 5 Rewiring Brains 55
PART III ORGANIZATIONAL RIGIDITIES
CHAPTER 6 Long Live Bureaucracy! 75
CHAPTER 7 In Brain We Trust 97
CHAPTER 8 What We Value 111
CHAPTER 9 What Not to Pay For 121
CHAPTER 10 Fast Learners 131
PART IV SERIAL INNOVATORS
CHAPTER 11 The Secrets of Serial Innovators 139
CHAPTER 12 Beyond Business: The Medici, Oxford, and the Catholic Church 155
CHAPTER 13 Legacy through Leadership 161
Appendix A: Analysis of the Top 50 U.S. Firms of 1960 171
Appendix B: Corporate Aging and Survival 177
Appendix C: Key Questions for Transforming Your Firm 181
About the Author 195