John Sviokla

Five Attributes of Paradigm Breaking Innovations

Recently, a team consisting of MIT students, along with Pratt & Whitney and Aurora Flight Science Corporation announced a radical new design for a jetliner which would take about 1/4 the amount of fuel consumed by today’s planes.


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Gifting as Branding: How Coke & Pepsi Use Social Media

Coke & Pepsi are very active in social media and I think their hard work is helping to build up a “trust bank” with their audience. As has been widely reported, Pepsi took their Superbowl ad budget and instead of creating a set of iconic commercials they launched their “Refresh Everything” campaign, in which they asked their audience to come up with ideas to “refresh the world”, in the categories of health, the planet, art & culture, food & shelter, neighborhoods and education. 

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Four Implications of the Internet of Things for Business

I believe we will see a 10,000 to 100,000 increase in the number of computers, phones, devices and living things attached to the internet in the next 5-10 years — what many are calling “the internet of things“. We have probably already passed the point when there are more things to attached to the internet than people. All cars, many toys, most sick patients, lab equipment, cows with senors on their hoofs, you name it, will have the option to be connected to the network. 

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Do Your Knowledge Workers Have a “Bitsmith”?

Along with my colleagues Jeff Hesse and Terry Holliday, I have been trying to understand what makes some teams of knowledge workers more productive than others. In particular, we have focused on people who work in firms that create lots of value as measured by earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation (EBITDA) per employee.

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Create “Choosing” (Not “Shopping”) Experiences

On a recent, gorgeous day in New York City I walked from Bergdorf Goodman at 59th Street & 5th Avenue past Cartier on 52nd street and continued down 5th Avenue for over a mile. Because I was preparing for a speech I was scheduled to deliver to the Global Retail Marketing Association, I was paying particular attention to the stores and the shopping experiences they created — from the posh ambiance of Bergdorf’s with its $4,000 blue blazers to Diesel’s inexplicable ad line: “Smart has the brains, but stupid has the balls.”

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How the iPad Is Like the Tesla Roadster

Courtesy of my dear friend Peer Munck (Founder of MunckMix, a music distributor), I just had my first ride in a Tesla Roadster, the $129,000 electric sports car. It blew me away, because I was reminded what can happen when innovators lovingly create something that has design integrity — by which I mean the solution (e.g., the Roadster’s total reliance on battery power) does not compromise on critical dimensions (e.g., speed, handling and range).

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Will the CIO Lose the C?

co-authored with Chris Curran

There is some disturbing new data for the role of the CIO. Thomas Wailgum of says, “Given the… warning signs, it’s easy to speculate that the CIO’s role and the department’s sovereign power might be slip-sliding away.” Half of our Diamond Digital IQ Survey respondents said that more than 30% of the dollars spent on IT is done outside of IT. Power in any organization usually follows those who can create new revenue and value, but our survey shows that 75% of the CIO’s innovation role is internally facing.

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Real Time Brand Management

On March 13, a Virgin America flight from Los Angeles to New York was diverted from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Stewart airport in Newburgh, N.Y., due to severe weather, and the passengers and crew waited in the plane on the tarmac for over four hours. The crew was anxious, babies were crying, mothers were anxious, and the passengers were unruly — to the point that one woman was taken off the plane by police. The entire ordeal was documented by David Martin, the CEO of, on his company’s iPhone social-media application.
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Thought Experiment: What if Facebook, Skype and PayPal Merged?

Many people don’t know that Bostonian William Crapo (Billy) Durant founded General Motors, and if you ever go to the old General Motors Building in Detroit, you will see his initials emblazoned on the coat of arms in the eaves of the building. Durant was the visionary who crashed together the Buick, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, and Cadillac companies, just to name a few. Due to his financial aggressiveness he controlled but then lost GM twice and it was finally taken over by Alfred Sloan, who built it into the world’s most successful enterprise of its day.
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How Behavioral Economics Can Help Cure the Health Care Crisis

This post was co-authored with Bret Schroeder and Tom Weakland and is also posted at HBR at

Noncompliance with medical advice is one reason the U.S. health care is so costly. Yet it has received only cursory attention in the national health care debate — undoubtedly because politicians don’t want to risk offending their constituents.

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