Summary of Serial Innovators

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Businesses, like people, follow a natural life cycle: They’re born, they grow, they live and they die. Only 15% of all firms reach 30 years and only 5% make it to their 50th anniversaries. Yet some organizations defy the odds, continue to produce and contribute many decades beyond an expected life span. These “serial innovators” go through a constant series of changes, perpetually reinventing and adapting themselves to shifting markets and environments. McKinsey executive Claudio Feser delves into economics, sociology, neuroscience and psychology – one chunk at a time using the connective framework of an engaging business novella. He sets out to help you understand what drives long-lived companies to outperform and outlast their competitors. Feser’s personable story of Carl Berger, a bright CEO who reshapes his firm, illustrates how leaders can apply the latest findings – explained here – in management, personnel practices, cognitive science and corporate longevity. getAbstract recommends this imaginative, wide-ranging book to executives seeking a strategy for discovering the corporate fountain of youth.

About the Author

Claudio Feser is a director of McKinsey & Company. He heads the company’s CEO Network, focusing on executive training and coaching.



Extending the Corporate Life Span

When new CEO Carl Berger arrived at American Health Devices (AHD), an international corporation, he found a fragmented management team, lagging innovation, declining earnings and pending lawsuits. His wife, Gwen, led him to a friend who was researching corporate longevity.

If you compare a list of America’s top 50 corporations in 1960 and the top 50 in 2010, you will see that two-thirds of the firms ranked in 1960 don’t appear on the 2010 list. Stronger, more agile newcomers overcame several of the vanquished firms – Mobil, RCA, General Foods. Like humans, most companies follow a natural life span of birth, growth, maturity and death. Half of all publicly listed companies die within a decade; only 15% of all firms reach 30 years and only 5% make it to their 50th anniversary. Those firms are “serial innovators.” This picture of corporate mortality aligns with Joseph Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” theory of economic evolution. Yet corporate death isn’t necessarily inevitable. The remains of declining firms often hold the seeds of new growth and new businesses. If you understand what causes deterioration, you can develop reasonable...

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    P. J. 7 years ago
    the author Mr Claudio Feser has excellently narrated how an Organisation\ Firm not only flourishes but also enjoys its existence with growing capacities by its Personnel who take consistent, and persevering care, who resort to constant and never-ending innovative ideas for a healthy and up to date living of the organisation. Burning Desire to excel, passionate pursuit of excellence, adapting relavant changes really bring long life to the organisation. A good Culture fosters the spirit os all concerned to take the Firm to a greater height. I appreciate the work of the author.
    with Regards and Gratitude. P.Jaipuria, Sr Divisional Manager, LIC of India, Karimnagar.
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    A. 7 years ago
    good summary
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      P Jaipuria 7 years ago
      Sir I will be thankful to u for sending me more and more such reviews.