What CEOs of the Future Need to Know

Question: What does the CEO of the future need to know?

Blair Sheppard: So the Indra Nooyi just said at the Washington Economic Forum, that the CEO of the future needs to know public policy as well as they know business, needs to know health as well as they know business, and so they're the same thing. Firms need to be creating people who are multi-civilizational [sic] and multi-disciplinary.

The phrase she uses draws on a classic philosopher that says, we need to create foxes not hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are very, very deep in one domain of knowledge. Foxes know a lot about many, many things, and therefore can, in a sense, keep themselves alive in the kind of world we find ourselves in today.

Question: How can leaders thrive in economic crisis?

Blair Sheppard: You have to be engaged in two mindsets, which are mutually contradictory. The first is clean the closet, the second is reinvent your wardrobe.

Put in business terms, get rid of all those things that are no longer making money, that are no longer productive businesses, and engender innovation.

One of the things that worries me a lot that's going on in United States is that we're doing a great job of the former. We're shrinking, we're re-cutting deals, we're laying-off employees, we're doing all sorts of stuffs. But I don't see us investing in innovation. So where is the money that's going into creating new VC [venture capital]? At the same time we've got this huge stimulus package, what portion of the stimulus package is being put against innovation? I don't think it is basically; there's a little bit in energy. But mostly what we were doing is investing in things we know work.

The nation needs to behave like a company in this case, which is, we've got to trim, we've got to take the fat out. That means we're going to have all sorts of social consequences, but the same time, we've got to invent the future. Firms need to do the same things.

So the question of, should I control from the center or should I encourage collaborative innovation from the periphery, the answer is yes.

 

Dean of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University Blair Sheppard cites PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi in this video on progressive thinking for the 21st-century. Hint: You need to be more like a fox and less like a hedgehog.

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Life is hard: Jordan Peterson and the nature of suffering

The Canadian professor's old-school message is why many started listening to him.

Jordan Peterson addresses students at The Cambridge Union on November 02, 2018 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. (Photo by Chris Williamson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • The simplicity of Peterson's message on suffering echoes Buddha and Rabbi Hillel.
  • By bearing your suffering, you learn how to become a better person.
  • Our suffering is often the result of our own actions, so learn to pinpoint the reasons behind it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less