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Rita McGrath      

Expert on Business Strategy in Uncertain Environments; Acclaimed Thinkers50 Thought Leader and Author

Rita Gunther McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School, is an expert on strategy in environments in which competitive advantages are temporary. Her cutting-edge ideas help CEO’s and senior executives hone their innovation, growth and disengagement processes so that they can succeed in rapidly changing environments, turning strategic threats into profitable opportunities.

Rita McGrath is valued for her rare ability to connect research to business problems and speaks regularly at corporate events, such as the Microsoft CEO Summit and the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

Her book, Discovery Driven Growth was named one of BusinessWeek's best design & innovation books. Her methodology for business planning (originally published in a best-selling Harvard Business Review article) was cited by Clayton Christensen as an antidote to “innovation killers.” In 2009, she was inducted as a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society, an honor accorded to those who have had a significant impact on the field. In 2011, Rita McGrath was named to the prestigious Thinkers50 list of top global business thought-leaders.

Discovery Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity was endorsed by Clayton Christensen, Ram Charan and CK Prahalad, among others. Professor McGrath has co-authored two previous books: The Entrepreneurial Mindset and MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves that Drive Exceptional Business Growth. MarketBusters has been translated into ten languages and was named one of the "best business books" by strategy+business. It was also featured by Bill Gates at the 2005 Microsoft CEO Summit, whose theme “New Pathways to Growth” was derived from the book’s main topic.

Rita McGrath appears regularly on television and radio and is often cited in the press, including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Businessweek, and Inc. She maintains an active blog and is featured as a discussion leader at Harvard Business Online. She has written twelve articles published in the Harvard Business Review, including Failing By Design.

Rita McGrath joined the faculty of Columbia Business School in 1993. Prior to life in academia, she was an IT director, worked in the political arena and founded two start-ups.

Dr. McGrath's many academic publications have appeared in leading journals. She has won the Academy of Management Review “best paper” award and numerous other awards for excellence in scholarship. She is currently on the editorial boards of the Strategic Management Journal and The Academy of Management Review.

Rita McGrath received her Ph.D. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. She teaches MBA and Executive MBA courses, and is the Faculty Director for the Columbia Executive Education program Leading Strategic Growth and Change.

Speech Topics


Discovery Driven Planning: Conquering Death by Spreadsheet

How to find the fastest, cheapest way to get the insights you need.

The Magic of 70-20-10

How to manage a portfolio of opportunities for growth.

Failing By Design

Making the most of intelligent failures.

Customers Should Not Be a Mystery

Surprisingly simple ways to create unique customer insights.

Catch a Wave: The New Strategy Playbook

Why you need to rethink your strategy in a post-advantage world.

Beyond Innovation Theater

How to move up the innovation maturity scale.

Beware the Mal-Adjusted Organization

How having a framework for organizational alignment lets you use all the levers at your disposal.

Snow Melts From the Edges: How to See Around Corners

How to see around corners.

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