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Taddy Hall      

SVP, Innovation Practice at The Nielsen Company, Co-author of "Competing Against Luck"

Taddy Hall is a recognized authority in the fields of Marketing, Innovation, Branding, and Competitive Strategy. His articles on innovation have appeared in The Harvard Business Review (12/2005 and 1/2009), The Wall Street Journal, Ad Age, and CMO Magazine. Taddy is also co-author of The Online Advertising Playbook, published by J. Wiley in April, 2007.

Over the last decade, Taddy has collaborated with HBS Professor and innovation authority, Clayton M. Christensen, on the publication of The Innovator’s Solution and Marketing Malpractice (HBR) as well as on the growth of a related consulting practice. Taddy and Prof. Christensen are currently working to deliver their unique tools and frameworks to executives in Emerging Markets. In 2011, he has led projects involving more than a dozen diverse companies in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and The Philippines.

Taddy has worked actively with the Endeavor (www.endeavor.org) organization since 1997. A member of the Endeavor Global Advisory Board, Taddy advises Endeavor Entrepreneurs – a network of 600+ leaders – to help them build profitable growth companies.

Taddy began his career in Venture Capital / Private Equity, working for Advent International both in the US (3 yrs.) and Latin America (2 yrs.). He transitioned from finance to operations, managing five venture backed businesses.

Taddy also served as the Chief Strategy Officer for the Advertising Research Foundation (2003-2008) where he leveraged deep expertise in Media, Digital Technologies, and Research Methodologies to help senior executives succeed in challenging competitive contexts.

Currently, Taddy works as SVP and global innovation expert for Nielsen, helping clients meet their goals for growth and innovation.

Taddy holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University. At Harvard Taddy worked as an Independent Researcher with Competitive Strategy authority, Professor Michael. E. Porter.

Specialties: consulting, growth, innovation

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Speech Topics


On the Cusp of Transformation

In transitional times, legacy leaders face a critical challenge: leverage current capabilities to create the future or allow current capabilities to lose the future. How leaders act proves decisive, argues Taddy Hall. With a bedrock in Capabilities (RPP) and Jobs theories, Hall helps leaders see the hazards of expertise and operational excellence when managing in a discontinuous moment. The result is an optimistic, energizing and eminently practical perspective on how leaders can leverage current capabilities rather than fall prey to their strictures.

What Causes Successful Innovation?

It’s surprising how few leaders consider this question – probably because of a belief that innovation is inherently unpredictable, even random. Taddy Hall counters that if you do a quick scan of many successful new offerings, the differences that explain their success are hidden from view – but they’re not unpredictable, nor are they random. Sharing rich illustrations from diverse industries, Hall explores Jobs to be Done theory – revealing the ways in which customers “hire” products or services to make progress and enable desired experiences in their lives. Hall’s blend of storytelling and case studies enables leaders, and all those who play a role in innovation, to internalize and apply the causal mechanism of successful innovation.

Success by Design: The Perfect Innovation Process

Father of the quality movement Edwards Deming taught that “every process is perfectly designed to produce the outputs that it produces.” Just like the U.S. automakers of the mid-1980s, many leading firms are hamstrung by innovation processes that produce highly inconsistent and generally crummy results. Taddy Hall leverages the auto industry parallel as well as other examples to highlight that the current, poor state of innovation performance has both precedent and solution. For leaders eager to cut time, waste and cost from their innovation processes while increasing the contributions to growth generated by successful innovations, Hall helps them draft a compelling blueprint for successful transformation.

Prepare for the Future of the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry

The way consumers find, purchase, prepare and experience food in 2050 will make the early part of this century as quaint as the 1950’s seem to us today. Today’s flagship brands will be tomorrow’s ghost ship brands, believes Taddy Hall, barring a radical reconfiguration of business models – and mental models. He discusses how the capabilities that deliver this year’s profits can serve either as a springboard to create the future of nutrition or function as a sea anchor that slowly drags a company to its demise. He asserts that the courtly era of consumer packaged goods, in which familiar foes tussled over points of market share, will yield to a guerilla battlefield where unfamiliar threats play by unorthodox terms of engagement – creating a competitive dynamic closer to the ones that high tech entrepreneurs face today.

Navigate with Confidence: Innovation in Emerging Markets

Managers in emerging markets enjoy the riches of innovator’s gold: non-consumers. While firms in mature markets are often forced to wage trench warfare over zero sum contests, innovators in emerging markets find many more greenfield opportunities to create industries where only inadequate or nonexistent options existed previously. Success, however, requires the ability to see what is not there, says Taddy Hall. Managers trained to measure consumption will find their data sets and analytical tools unhelpful to the market-creator’s challenge. Having lived in emerging markets for several years and advised executives for more than two decades, Hall blends rich personal experience with robust theory, most notably Jobs to be Done theory and disruption, to enable leaders to navigate uncharted terrain with confidence.

Breakthrough Leadership: How Senior Leaders Enable – and Unwittingly Impede – Innovation

Leadership is a tricky topic, and one all too easily wrapped in platitudes and empty slogans. Yet, in our study of successful innovation initiatives, we find that the role of senior leadership is powerfully present in virtually every instance, says Taddy Hall. In fact, the only exceptions were cases in which a manager made a career-jeopardizing decision to flout the established incentives, process protocols, and direct instructions of superiors. Innovation should not require acts of heroism or genius. There are specific activities that must be rigorously managed – not simply proclaimed and delegated – from the C-suite. Hall helps chief executives who desire consistently successful innovation outcomes understand why mastering and performing these non-transferable duties is essential for sustained profitable growth.

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