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The future of simple rules

An expert in corporate decision making explains why companies that follow fewer and simpler rules are often the best innovators.
Woman sketching a business plan at a whiteboard with sticky notes
Don't underestimate the power of a few simple rules to help guide effective decision making. |iStock/andresr

Kathleen Eisenhardt is an expert in strategy and organizational behavior.

She studies corporate decision making. She says the most creative companies are like jazz bands. Bound by a few simple rules, they are able to innovate continually. Other companies are like orchestras, tied to rigid scores and complex rules; they find it hard to improvise. If innovation is your metric, Eisenhardt says, having a few simple rules is the best path to success, as she tells host Russ Altman on this episode of Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast.

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