Costas Markides

Costas Markides

PROFESSOR OF STRATEGY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Costas Markides is Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and holds the Robert P. Bauman Chair of Strategic Leadership at the London Business School.
A native of Cyprus, he received his BA (Distinction, 1983) and MA (1984) in Economics from Boston University, and his MBA (1985) and DBA (1990) from the Harvard Business School.

He serves on the Editorial Boards of several academic journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, the Strategic Management Journal and the Sloan Management Review. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Strategic Management Society (SMS) and was a fellow at the World Economic Forum in Davos during 1999-2003 and in 2012-2013.

Repeatedly ranked among the worlds top 50 business thinkers by the Thinkers50, Professor Costas Markides is recognised as one of the worlds foremost experts on strategy and innovation. An internationally acclaimed teacher and conference speaker, Professor Markides has researched the topics of strategic innovation, business model innovation, diversification and responding to disruptions.

His work explores how established companies could pursue radical or disruptive innovation and how they can compete with two business models in the same industry. He also examines how companies can create a culture of continuous innovation and the role that individual managers play in making a company more innovative. His more recent work explores how managers can overcome the Knowing-Doing Gap.

In recent years, Professor Markides has increasingly turned his attention to social issues and studies how management ideas can be used to address social problems such as drug related crime, poverty and malnutrition. His forthcoming book, Architects of Change, explores how individuals could design innovative solutions to social problems in ways that make them easily scalable. He also examines how a decentralised change process could be used to scale up social innovations and diffuse them globally.

He has published several books on the topics of strategy and innovation including the best-selling books: All the Right Moves: A Guide to Crafting Breakthrough Strategy (HBS Press, 2000); Fast Second (Wiley, 2004) and Game-Changing Strategies: How to Create new Market Space in Established Industries by Breaking the Rules (Wiley 2008).
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Keynotes

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So, You Think You Have a Strategy?

The main objective of this speech is to argue that behind every successful strategy, there are a few simple but fundamental principles.

The first principle of strategy is that strategy is all about making difficult choices of what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. These choices must be clear, explicit and consistent with the overall strategy of the firm.

The choices must be clear and explicit because they act as the parameters within which people in an organization operate with autonomy. You cannot give people freedom and autonomy unless you first make clear the parameters within which people could operate.

The second principle of strategy is that these choices must be creative enough to allow a firm to differentiate itself from its competitors. A strategy that lacks creativity is useless.

The third principle of strategy is that even the best of strategies will fail unless they are supported by the appropriate organization environment. This consists of the incentives, the structures and processes and the culture that the organization puts in place.

The fourth principle of strategy is that strategy must not only be communicated to everybody in a company but more importantly, it must be sold to people so as to win their emotional commitment towards this strategy.

Finally, the fifth principle of strategy is that strategy must remain flexible enough so as to adjust to the never-ending changes in the outside environment. Flexibility cannot be dictatedit must become part of the fabric of the organization
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From Strategy Formulation to Strategy Execution: Why Clever People Make Silly Mistakes

In this session, we will explore why bad things happen to good people during the execution stage of strategy. Factors to consider include:

1) Time pressures (that shift our priorities).
2) The incentives in the system that distort behaviors.
3) Personal attitudes.
4) Our (biased) thinking that is governed by assumptions and pre-conceived notions that we are not even aware of.
5) Judgements that are clouded by reasoning and cognitive biases.
6) Team dynamics that go terribly wrong!
7) Employees that are not committed to what we aspire to achieve.
8) Inter-dependencies in the company which means that doing the right thing for our unit or department does not mean it is the right thing for the whole organization.
9) Time delays that prevent us from seeing that we are to blame for our mistakes.
10) All kinds of non-rational and non-economic reasons such as politics, bad feelings, etc. that influence our decisions.
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Strategic Innovation: How to Win by Breaking the Rules

In recent years, there have been many calls for companies to break the rules and become industry revolutionaries. But what exactly is breaking the rules? And how can a company do it successfully, especially if it already has a successful business to run? Is it viable to play two games at the same time? How? Furthermore, does it always make sense for a company to break the rules or should other considerations come into play? And what if somebody else breaks the rules first in ones industry? How then can a company respond to the innovator? These are all questions that I shall attempt to answer in this speech.
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From Knowing to Doing: How to get the right behaviors out of people

It is now well established in psychology that just because an individual knows something (and agrees with it) doesnt mean that he/she will do it. This 'knowing-doing' gap is one of the biggest 'diseases' in organizations. This presentation will explore the main reasons for this disease and propose ways to overcome it. The emphasis will be on what information security professionals (as individuals) need to do to get everybody in their organization to behave in ways that enhances information security.
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Selling Ideas: Getting your Board to Adopt your Ideas

People often complain that despite coming up with wonderful ideas, their organization is too bureaucratic or too slow to adopt them. It rarely crosses their mind that the reason for the lack of adoption may not be the organization but them! Often, ideas do not get implemented because the person with the idea failed to sell it to their superiors. Even the best of ideas will fail unless someone pushes them in the organization to get them properly implemented. But who should be doing the pushing? And how? There is a lot of academic evidence that suggests answers to these questions. This presentation will explore how ideas diffuse in organizations (and societies) and what that implies for managers. Real examples will be provided to highlight the points made.
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Every Crisis Has An Opportunity

KEY POINT: The companies that survive in difficult times are not the ones that look at the crisis as a threat; and are not the ones that look at it as an opportunity. They are the ones that look at it as BOTH a threat AND an opportunity [I will explain what this means and why it is so important].
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How to make your Organisations more Innovative

In todays hypercompetitive world, innovation is the only source of competitive advantage. Organisations must continuously innovate to stay one step ahead of competition. But innovation is not just creativity; and it is not just the province of top management. For innovation to become a source of competitive advantage, it must be institutionalised so that it takes place anywhere and at anytime in the organisation. How to institutionalise innovation is a real challenge for companies and this presentation will provide insights on how to do it. Top management has a key role to play in this and we will also explore how the top people can set the right example in the organisation. Real life examples will be provided to support the generalisations made.

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