Chief Advisor, Leonard-Barton Group
The continued success of our companies depends upon the critical knowledge of key personnel at all organizational levels. Extensive research on the expertise of experienced, deeply smart individuals, reveals common characteristics and skills across industries and roles. Dr. Leonard explores the nature of this often undocumented know-how and how it can be nurtured and transferred.
Dr. Dorothy Leonard was a professor for 20 years at the Harvard Business School, where she taught courses on innovation, new product development, creativity, and knowledge management; before that, she taught similar topics at the MIT Sloan school for several years. She has consulted for industry (e.g., IBM, 3M) and governments (e.g., the U.S., Sweden) and has written hundreds of cases, articles, and book chapters.
She has written five books about developing and diffusing knowledge, four of them published by Harvard. Wellsprings of Knowledge: Building and Sustaining the Sources of Innovation (1995) is considered seminal in promoting the criticality of knowledge to organizations. The book When Sparks Fly (written with Walter Swap) was awarded "Best Book on Creativity" by the European Association for Creativity and Innovation. Her 2005 book Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom (co-authored with Walter Swap) explores the importance and nature of experience-based knowledge. Responding to requests for practice-based tools and techniques for transferring knowledge, she and co-authors Walter Swap and Gavin Barton published in 2015 Critical Knowledge Transfer: Tools for Managing Your Company's Deep Smarts.
She is Chief Advisor to the Leonard-Barton Group, a consulting, training, and executive coaching company specializing in helping organizations develop and retain the skills, culture, capabilities, and specialized knowledge they need for continued success.
Christopher Parsons interviews Dorothy Leonard of the Leonard-Barton Group at KA Connect 2017.