Art & Craft of Discussion Leadership Part I

Paris La Défense
Monday, June 10, 2013

Robert D. Austin, is Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) at Fredericton (Canada). Before becoming Dean at UNB, Austin held the Chair in Management of Creativity and Innovation in the Department of Management, Politics, and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School (CBS); before that he was an Associate Professor of Technology and Operations Management at the Harvard Business School, where he taught MBA courses related to Creative Economy, Operations Management, IT, and Accounting, and extensively in Executive Education, in programs ranging from the Advanced Management Program to specialized programs for Women Leaders.

He has published numerous articles in academic and professional venues, such as Harvard Business Review, Information Systems Research, Management Science, MIT Sloan Management Review, Organization Science, and the Wall Street Journal. His books include The Adventures of an IT Leader (Harvard Business Press, 2009, coauthored with Richard L. Nolan and Shannon O’Donnell, on several “Best Books” lists for the year), Corporate Information Strategy and Management (McGraw Hill, 2009, 8th edition, coauthored with Lynda Applegate and Deborah Soule), The Broadband Explosion: Leading Thinkers on the Promise of a Truly Interactive World (Harvard Business Press, co-edited with Stephen P. Bradley), Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artists Work, (Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2003, coauthored with Lee Devin, and recipient of the Elliot Hayes Award), Creating Business Advantage in the Information Age (McGraw Hill, 2001, coauthored with Lynda M. Applegate and F. Warren McFarlan), and Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations (Dorset House, 1996). Two new books, Harder Than I Thought: Adventures of a 21st Century CEO (Harvard Business Review Press, a sequel to Adventures of an IT Leader, with the same coauthors) and The Soul of Design: The Power of Plot to Create Extraordinary Products (Stanford University Press, with Lee Devin) are forthcoming in 2012.

He is author, with various coauthors, of many best-selling Harvard Business School cases, and with Jeremy Short, of the first “graphic novel” Harvard Business School case (“The iPremier Company: Denial of Service Attack, Graphic Novel Version”). In addition, he’s the faculty author of the “Project Management Simulation: Scope, Resources, Schedule” (Harvard Business School Publishing, 2009).

He’s also had extensive experience as a practicing manager, primarily at Ford Motor Company, but also as chief operations executive for new business incubated by a major tech company. At Ford he worked in a wide range of businesses, including manufacturing operations, credit analysis, customer service, and technical support services. Dr. Austin has consulted and delivered education experiences for many multinational corporations, working mostly with C-level executives, and he has served on numerous advisory boards, especially for technology companies. He is a member of the international jury for the CIO 100 Awards and has advised the European Commission on “e-Competencies for Innovation.” Professor Austin received a Ph.D. in Management and Decision Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University, where his dissertation won the Herbert A. Simon Award for Behavioral Research in the Administrative Sciences.

Espen Andersen is an Associate Professor with the Department of Strategy and Logistics at the Norwegian Business School (, where he leads the Technology Strategy Research Center. Based in Oslo, Norway, he has done research on topics such as technology disruption, information access technologies, technology strategy, mobile business, electronic commerce, knowledge management, learning technologies, digital business strategy, and CIO-CEO interaction. He has worked as a Research Affiliate with Computer Sciences Corporation Research Services and was the European Research Director for The Concours Group, a technology and management research and advisory consulting firm, for nine years.

Espen Andersen holds a degree of Doctor of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. He is a frequent speaker on technology and strategic management topics, and has consulted on technology and strategy issues for a wide range of large organizations in the United States, Europe, and Australia. He has published academic and practitioner-oriented articles and is an enthusiastic contributor to debates about technology and society. He has been a visiting scholar at Bentley University and is a visiting scholar at the MIT Center for Information System Research during the 2011-12 academic year. Prior to his academic career, he was an IS manager and consultant.

Espen is passionate about teaching and has given guest lectures and executive courses in Europe, USA, China, and India. He is a firm believer in the case method, seeing it as an essential vehicle to elicit understanding in both the classroom and boardroom and excellence in case teaching as a source of competitive advantage for individual instructors and business schools in a world where explicit and formulaic knowledge increasingly is instantly available. He has written about and taught courses in how to run case classes in environments where case teaching is not a tradition and where the infrastructure (classrooms, administrative services, and student culture) has to be created in order to ensure a successful outcome.

Espen writes two widely-read blogs: Applied Abstractions (, in English) and Tversover (, in Norwegian). He welcomes visits to his virtual office at In his spare time, he spends time with his family, reads, enjoys wine, and pretends to avoid physical activity.


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