Soren Kaplan

Soren Kaplan is a columnist for Inc. Magazine, an Affiliate at the Center for Effective Organizations at USC’s Marshall School of Business, and author of the bestselling and award-winning books Leapfrogging and The Invisible Advantage. He is a co-founder of upBOARD (the world’s first and largest platform for online business best practices), and has been recognized by the Thinkers50 as one of the world’s top thought leaders in business strategy and innovation.


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Latest Articles

How Amazon Execs use a 4-Step Innovation Process Template to Create Breakthrough Products

Amazon’s unique approach to innovation helps teams “work backwards” to create breakthroughs The best business strategies focus on meeting and exceeding customer needs and expectations. This means envisioning customer problems as well as ideal solutions to those problems before actually developing a product or service–and this is exactly how Amazon innovates. Amazon’s secret to innovation is the…


How Project Charter Tools, Templates, and Frameworks Help to Focus Business Strategy

A Project Plan is Just a List of Ingredients. A Project Charter is the Recipe. Having worked with both startups and big companies for more than 25 years, I’ve seen executives get so enamored of their “disruptive” future visions, they neglect the short-term plans that get things going. I’ve also seen leaders so focused on implementation they lose sight of…


6 Ways to Create Innovation Culture with Virtual Tools

Culture is a key success factor for every team and organization. Shape it to get more innovation, even from your remote workforce. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Box, Slack, and Salesforce all say that employees can keep working remotely well into next year or even forever. We’re seeing a sea change toward remote work and how…

Key Performance Indicators KPI Online Dashboard

This Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Template Drives Business Success

Management guru Peter Drucker once said, “What’s measured improves.” So true. You get what you measure when it comes to business performance. The problem is that most teams don’t have clear key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of their strategies and projects. Sure, they may have goals, but without clear KPIs, they don’t have a way to know quantitatively that they’re…

Covid Consulting: Trends in no-code tech disrupt an industry

How Coronavirus is Disrupting the $250 Billion Consulting Sector

The consulting industry was already being disrupted before the coronavirus. Now the disruption is accelerating. If you work with consultants or have your own consultancy, take note: Things are changing, fast. Right around the corner are threats or opportunities, depending on how you respond. I’ve already written about how the management-consulting industry is being disrupted by various trends like emerging technologies, the commodification…

Is Creativity and Innovation learned? upBOARD

Is it Learned or Hard Wired? The truth about Creativity & Innovation.

One of the longest standing questions in the field of innovation lies in the debate surrounding whether or not “creativity” is an innate trait or whether it’s something that can be learned. The answer has big implications. If you think creativity can be learned, you can then train people to be move innovative. If you…

Manage Remote Distributed Teams

Best Practice Strategies and Tools for Managing Remote Distributed Teams

You Just Found Yourself Leading a Remote Team. What Next? Business is moving virtual fast. Here are best practices for how to lead a productive remote or distributed team.   When I ran the strategy consulting group at HP almost 20  years ago, my team worked remotely. We were on the forefront of virtual work,…


How No-Code and Low-Code Software Platform Tools will Disrupt Every Industry

No-code and low-code software tools will disrupt almost every industry A massive transformation faces the software industry, similar to the disruption we’ve seen hit other industries like health care and manufacturing. We’ve already seen how Google Docs took the world by storm through free cloud-based software, forcing Microsoft to change its Office 365 business model. Cloud-based software is now the norm. Now,…


Identifying Disruptive Digital Trends and Technologies Will Drive Innovation in 2020

Disruption is everywhere. Here are 10 trends that will create opportunities – and threats – in 2020. Twenty years ago, when I started advising startups and Fortune 500 companies on their innovation strategies, a “2020 vision” served as a key staple in most business planning efforts. The future is finally here. Emerging technologies catalyze disruption. But 2020 promises to be…


Customer Experience Differentiation Will Be the Next Big Competitive Advantage

Want to improve your customers’ experience? Try these connected strategies. What’s the secret to a winning business model and long-term competitive advantage? It’s not just about technology, products and services. Your customer experience may just be the ultimate competitive advantage. Strategy and innovation experts Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch just published a new book called Connected Strategy: Building Continuous…


Create a Culture of Innovation with the 10 Laws of Trust

Trust is the currency of business success. Here’s how to build it into your corporate culture. Leading organizational change to create a corporate culture that delivers continuous innovation is one of today’s most strategic business imperatives. But how do you do that? We’ve seen what happens to companies when customers lose trust in their brands – just think Target (data breach),…


Megatrends Shaping the Future of Shopping

Whether digital or physical, shopping itself is being disrupted, and it’s all about creating a completely seamless experience. Here are 11 trends shaping the future of shopping. Imagine sitting down to watch TV and you see a shirt on your favorite actor and think, “I want that shirt for myself!” Good news. You click a button and…


A Sad Fact: Leaders Who Lie Can Still Be Trusted by Their Followers

Being truthful and being trustworthy aren’t the same, which poses a problem for both society and the practice of leadership itself In today’s world, it’s hard to know who to listen to and what to believe. Who’s the best Presidential candidate? Is Brexit good or bad? Which college is best for my child? Usually there’s…


Amazon’s Success Boils Down to Six Building Blocks

Replicate Amazon’s secret formula for winning big in the digital age Having run strategy and leadership development programs across the Fortune 1000 for over the past 25 years, I’ve seen lots of business models. As I highlighted in a prior article on The Future of Seamless Shopping, nothing currently parallels Amazon when it comes to innovation. Amazon’s management system is designed…


Top Strategy and Innovation Books of 2019

The best strategy & innovation books deliver new insights, examples and tools for reinventing business. I’ve recently written about the disruptive change and innovation upending markets like product packaging, travel and hospitality, management consulting, construction, healthcare, and manufacturing. No matter the trends, technologies or transformations, every industry faces similar challenges: What business models must we create for the future? How do we differentiate…


One of the Biggest Keys to Successful Change Management is the Start-Stop-Continue Plan

Real change requires more than just doing something new. It also involves stopping what doesn’t work and continuing what’s already working well. When I work with leaders and organizations looking to create change and innovate, I always tell them the same thing: strategy is as much about what you don’t do, as it is about what you decide to do. It’s natural to look for…

Business Strategy Map Template - Free PowerPoint Tool

Business Plans Are Dead. Build a Strategy Map.

Strategic plans become outdated the moment they’re created. Instead, create a one-page strategy map. Having run the internal strategy consulting group at HP, and then consulting to both startups and big companies like Disney, Visa, Colgate, Medtronic and others, I’ve created hundreds of strategic plans. Business strategy used to be a clear and methodical process. No more. Today’s discontinuous technologies and…


4 Steps to Create a Burning Platform to Motivate Change

Motivating people to change requires a burning platform combined with an inspiring future vision. We’ve seen what happens when companies become complacent and stop innovating. A startup or other innovator disrupts their markets and businesses. We know innovation and change is important, but how do you get people focused and moving in the right direction? Providing people with a compelling vision of the…