Blog post

Celebrating disruptive innovation with renowned journalist Tom Friedman

min read

As part of the Augeo Luminaries Speaker Series in conjunction with the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, Augeo CMO Ken Greer recently interviewed one of his childhood friends—renowned New York Times columnist and three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Friedman. Tom’s career spans four decades and has carried him from the Arctic to the Amazon. He’s covered wars, famines, the COVID-19 pandemic—everything that brings him to the edge of stories.

The key to flourishing innovation

This fascinating discussion begins with an exploration of rural America in which Tom recounts his deep dive into Willmar—a town in west-central Minnesota where his family started a steel distribution company in 1949. Why is it that some small towns thrive while others fail? Tom credits a simple, powerful concept: inclusion. He also credits leaders without authority in building healthy interdependencies and complex adaptive coalitions that maximize propulsion.

“Necessity isn’t just the mother of invention,” says Tom Friedman, “it’s the mother of inclusion.”

Getting it right in the face of uncertainty

The two go on to discuss a range of topics that include what it takes to be a good journalist and what role journalism should play in today’s society. Tom also shares his thoughts on what business leaders should focus on as we emerge from the pandemic, a natural systems event that changed the game for industries accustomed to market-driven events. In his view, those who emerge triumphant will have built a comprehensive adaptation strategy—something Augeo is keenly attuned to.

Looking ahead

Make sure you stick around for the Q&A session led by Sri Zaheer, Dean of the Carlson School of Management. From deteriorating US-China relations and lack of accountability for Saudi Arabia’s role in the Khashoggi killing to the future of the Republican Party in the face of a diverse, pluralistic America—no subject is off limits for Tom Friedman.

Watch the Augeo Luminaries Speaker Series video today

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