01 Mar 2012
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Where Innovation Rules

HBS alumni bring creative approaches to problem-solving to power their companies’ successes
by Deborah Blagg;Garry Emmons;Julia Hanna;Roger Thompson

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Kiva Systems

Kiva Systems

Intuit

Intuit

Angie’s List

Angie’s List

Rakuten

Rakuten

athenahealth

athenahealth

Pandora

Pandora

Bloomingdale's and Gilt Groupe

Social Finance

Innovation is the real business of Harvard Business School. It begins with the School’s bias toward action, as embodied in its intellectual cornerstone, the case method. In their study of hundreds of cases, HBS students are trained to view every business situation as open to improvement, and therefore an opportunity to build a new or better product or service. HBS alumni even have gone on to create entire industries, such as venture capital and management consulting, themselves incubators of innovation.

In the modern era, beginning after World War II, business’s status quo has been challenged incessantly and changed globally by thousands of HBS alumni. Whether through creative destruction, disruptive innovation, or riding a societal quantum leap forward, HBS alumni entrepreneurs have founded or grown companies that are pervasive and familiar, from consumer products to financial services, from computer software to manufacturing, from entertainment to energy. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a world without the products and services created by HBS alumni.

In the pages that follow, we present profiles of contemporary HBS alumni who continue that tradition of entrepreneurship and innovation, in fields ranging from cloud computing to social impact bonds, from industrial robots to personal finance, from Internet retailing to Internet radio—a plethora of products and services that could well bear the stamp “Made by HBS.”

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