Costas Markides

Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School

Costas Markides speaker, keynote speech, conferences

Repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 50 business thinkers by the Thinkers50, Professor Costas Markides is recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on strategy and innovation. An internationally acclaimed teacher and conference speaker, Costas Markides has researched the topics of strategic innovation, business model innovation, diversification and international acquisitions.

His work explores how established companies could pursue radical or disruptive innovation and how they can compete with two business models in the same industry. He also examines how companies can create a culture of continuous innovation and the role that individual managers play in making a company more innovative.

In recent years, Costas Markides has increasingly turned his attention to social issues and studies how management ideas can be used to address social problems such as drug related crime, poverty and malnutrition. His forthcoming book Architects of Change explores how individuals could design innovative solutions to social problems in ways that make them easily scalable. He also examines how a decentralized change process could be used to scale up social innovations and diffuse them globally.

Markides’ book All the Right Moves: A Guide to Crafting Breakthrough Strategy was shortlisted for the Igor Ansoff “Strategic Management Award” in 2000. Similarly, his book Fast Second: How Smart Companies Bypass Radical Innovation to Enter and Dominate New Markets (with the late Paul Geroski), was on the shortlist for the Financial Times-Goldman Sachs Management “Book of the Year” in 2005. In Game-Changing Strategies (2008), Markides explores how established firms can use business model innovation to break the rules in their markets and how to respond when a disruptive business model invades their markets.

A native of Cyprus, Costas Markides received his Bachelor of Arts degree (Distinction) and Master of Arts degree in Economics from Boston University, and his Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He is now professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and holds the Robert P. Bauman chair of Strategic Leadership at London Business School


Beyond the Aha Moment: How Innovation Really Happens

The biggest mistake that people make when it comes to innovation is to think that the bottleneck is the lack of good ideas. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real problem in innovation is the implementation of new ideas to create value. Even the best of ideas will fail unless someone “pushes” them in the organisation to get them properly implemented. But who should be doing the pushing? And how? There is a lot of academic evidence that suggests answers to these questions. Markides will explore how innovations diffuse in organizations (and societies) and what that implies for managers. Real examples will be provided to highlight the points made.

Every Crisis Has an Opportunity

The companies that survive in difficult times are not the ones that look at the crisis as a threat; and are not the ones that look at it as an opportunity. They are the ones that look at it as BOTH a threat AND an opportunity.

Delighting Clients in a World of Temporary Advantage

To delight clients, the first requirement is to offer them a unique value proposition. In other words, when the client asks: “why should I come to you rather than go to any one of your competitors?” you should be able to say: “because I can offer you everything that my competitors are offering you plus these additional benefits that nobody else can offer.” This means that you cannot be everything to everybody! You need to select your clients strategically so that what you can uniquely offer fits exactly the selected clients’ needs. This unique value proposition must be embodied in the organization’s brand.

How to Make Your Organizations More Innovative

In today’s hypercompetitive world, innovation is the only source of competitive advantage. Organizations must continuously innovate to stay one step ahead of competition. But innovation is not just creativity; and it is not just the province of top management. For innovation to become a source of competitive advantage, it must be institutionalised so that it takes place anywhere and at anytime in the organization. How to institutionalise innovation is a real challenge for companies and this presentation will provide insights on how to do it. Top management has a key role to play in this and we will also explore how the top people can set the right example in the organization. Real life examples will be provided to support the generalizations made.

The Traps of Innovation

There is no question that Innovation is a core driver of growth, performance and valuation. It is, therefore, the responsibility of every leader to encourage it and promote it. Yet, company after company, leader after leader, fall into the some predictable traps in trying to do so.

Strategic Innovation: How to Win by Breaking the Rules

In recent years, there have been many calls for companies to break the rules and become industry revolutionaries. But what exactly is breaking the rules? And how can a company do it successfully, especially if it already has a successful business to run? Is it viable to play two games at the same time? How? Furthermore, does it always make sense for a company to break the rules or should other considerations come into play? And what if somebody else breaks the rules first in one’s industry? How then can a company respond to the innovator? These are all questions that I shall attempt to answer in this speech.

So, You Think You Have a Strategy?

The main objective of this speech is to argue that behind every successful strategy, there are a few simple but fundamental principles.

From Strategy Formulation to Strategy Execution: Why Clever People Make Silly Mistakes

Most managers spend the majority of their time developing a strategy for their organization. Unfortunately, even the best of strategies will fail unless they are implemented properly. And it is exactly at the implementation stage that bad things start happening! People don’t execute what you already agreed upon; others start doing things that will get you in trouble; yet others pretend to support what you want to achieve but actually undermine you behind the scenes. Why do such things happen and how can you prevent them (or overcome them)?

Strategy, Innovation, and Change: Challenges for Management 1st Edition

Any organization must ask three interrelated questions in order to develop its strategy: where are we, where do we want to be, and how will we get there? While the questions do not change over time, the realities and environments that companies face do. Given today's realities, how should companies answer these questions as they face the challenges of the 21st century?

In this book, leading business school educators use their academic, yet managerially-relevant, research to explore these questions. They divide the book into three sections - Understand Your Situation, Develop Your Options, and Lead the Change - and take the reader through some of the latest thinking that helps answer these questions. All the authors have extensive international experience of working with senior managers and are well known academic researchers in their field. They present their ideas in a straightforward, lively, and purposeful way. Their goal is to inform, challenge, and provide practical advice and tools.

The book serves as a guide to a range of contemporary business challenges, such as managing uncertainty, creating new markets through innovation, energizing people, leading clever people in organizations with limited hierarchy, and introducing radical change. The central focus is on the core concerns and responsibilities of senior management - strategy and leadership.

Clear, crisp, and to the point, this book provides an invaluable and coherent summary of some of the best current business school thinking on contemporary challenges facing organizations. It will be an ideal guide for both MBAs and practicing managers.

Strategy, Innovation, and Change: Challenges for Management 1st Edition