Political Innovation is Ready for Primetime

Annual Symposium

In 2013 Katherine Gehl was refining the competitive strategy for Gehl Foods, a high-tech food-manufacturing company. After more than a century of innovation, the company was facing a precipitous decline, and like most CEOs, Gehl turned to competitive analysis tools to lead the turnaround effort. But unlike most CEOs, she was simultaneously running a parallel competitive analysis — of American politics.

The analysis shed new light on the root causes of dysfunction in our political system and pointed to powerful solutions. So, after selling her company, Gehl used her theory to develop a business case for political innovation — one that targeted structural changes to shift the incentives that dictate decision making in politics. The result was a 2017 Harvard Business School report that has already reshaped the national conversation on political reform and the book, The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save our Democracy — both of which she co-authored with Michael Porter, founder of the Five Forces framework.

Her goal in 2020 is to catalyze a primetime movement for political innovation. For boots on the ground information on what you can do, check out Gehl’s conversation with Nick Troiano, executive director of Unite America.

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