Nilofer Merchant is on a mission to reimagine a future of work that actually works… for all of us.
She literally wrote the book of “new rules” for business in our Social Era in 2012. As those prescient insights evolved into accepted truths about our connected world, Merchant again lit the path to the next frontier in her latest book, The Power of Onlyness. What is coming next, she explains, is commoditization and automation like we have never seen before. Few industries or brands will survive unless they understand what Merchant calls “Onlyness” – the experience, talent, perspective, and purpose lying untapped in our own people. Since the publication of “Onlyness” in 2017, she has received dozens of invitations from leaders around the world who want to learn how to use Onlyness to unlock the fresh ideas and vast innovation too often overlooked and left undiscovered in their teams.
During her 25 years in technology, Merchant personally launched more than 100 products, netting $18B in sales. She helped launch the first Internet Server at Apple, grew division performance at Autodesk by 50 percent, and created product and pricing strategies for Adobe that grew the company from $2B to $5B. In 2009-2010, she waged a competitive battle with Microsoft and triumphed, saving Symantec’s Anti-Virus $2.1B annual business. Her experience as an operating leader is why Boards and CEOs of IBM, JP Morgan, and Walmart seek her advice; her ideas about redesigning work … actually, work.
The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World (Viking, 2017), is a field guide for anyone to use networked leadership to scale their ideas, especially when they don’t have traditional power and status. Her book, The New Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era (Harvard Business Review, 2012) forecasts the future of work when connected people can now do what once only large organizations could. Her first book, The New How (O’Reilly, 2010), shows organizational leaders how to solve the persistent gap between strategy and execution by taking an inclusive and collaborative approach to solving tough problems. Her cover story for Harvard Business Review (HBR) Magazine is a case study in the crucial role trust plays in creating scale.
Thinkers50 said Merchant was the “#1 person most likely to influence the future of management in both theory and practice” when they awarded her the Future Thinker award in 2013. They ranked her #22 top thinker in the world (nestled between Clay Christensen and Jim Collins) in 2017. CNBC called Nilofer a visionary. Her TEDtalk ranks in the top 10% in the world. She’s been invited to hundreds of leadership events by prestigious organizations, including Google, Gartner, and Salesforce. She’s been named one of the twenty-five smartest women on Twitter and is regularly quoted or published in Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, Time Magazine, Fast Company, and the WSJ. She has served on corporate boards for Nasdaq-traded and private companies, as well as on public governance boards. Merchant has lived on three continents, thus shaping her global take on the future of work. An MBA graduate of Santa Clara University and Applied Economics at the University of San Francisco, Merchant has taught business strategy, collaborative management and leadership at Stanford University and Santa Clara University, and guest-lectured at Yale.