Top 5 HBR Breakthrough Ideas

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by: John Caddell

Harvard Business Review's annual look at hot new ideas is something to cherish, but who has time to digest all twenty ideas? So, here are the five you most need to know about:

  1. "When to Sleep on It," Ap Dijksterhuis. The most effective decisionmaking happens when you take some time and let your unconscious mind weigh in.

  2. "The Accidental Influentials," Duncan Watts. En garde, Malcolm Gladwell! According to Watts and his associates, new trends take root not when small numbers of highly-influential people latch on, but when large numbers of easily-influenced people do.
  3. "In Defense of Ready, Fire, Aim," Clay Shirky. Open-source software projects are not threats because they succeed more often, but because they "outfail" their commercial competitors.
  4. "The Folly of Accountabalism," David Weinberger. We are damaging business and "eating our young" with a focus on measuring everything, seeking conformance and blaming individuals when anything goes wrong.
  5. "Brand Magic: Harry Potter Marketing," Frédéric Dalsace, Coralie Damay, and David Dubois. Rather than create brands that have fixed characteristics for their entire lifetime, it may be better to have them evolve and grow with their target market, from youth to old age, just like a particular children's book hero.

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