Dr. Caroline Daniels: Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship & Faculty Advisor, John E. and Alice L. Butler Venture Accelerator Program

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Bio:

Dr. Daniels’ research covers Future Trends and Entrepreneurial Strategy. She has worked on the development of global business and technology strategies for numerous startups and the following larger corporations: IBM, Apple, the Economist, Financial Times, Ford of Europe, Boots Pharmaceutical, Shell Oil, GlaxoSmithKline, Chartham Paper Mills, New York Life, Bank of Ireland, Aetna, Marks & Spencer, Media Companies, and other leading corporations. She has facilitated multi-client studies for The Economist Group on the future of business.

Dr. Daniels has written for the Economist, the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Financial Times, and has published several books on Globalization and Information Technology with McGraw-Hill and the Pearson Group (Addison-Wesley).

Dr. Daniels has been awarded the International Association of Management Consulting Firms Award for Literary Excellence. Caroline has been a speaker on topics including: Globalization, Transforming Business with Information Technology, and Entrepreneurship. She is currently conducting research on entrepreneurial strategy, the scalability of new ventures, and the coordination of executive decision-making in growing, global corporations.

Dr. Daniels has founded companies in the following areas: property development, publishing, and consulting.  She is the recipient of the 2013 Deans' Award for Excellence in Teaching across all programs (undergraduate, graduate, and executive education). 

What do you do best?

Wow, how immodest should I be?  

Building a 360-degree perspective of the present and future and developing a context that allows decision makers to take action mindfully is what I do best.  Taking in the full spectrum of issues and forces is important in seeing how individuals and companies can innovate.  I look at a wide range of influences in business, technology, and organization/societal culture and synthesize as much as possible in my Future Trends research.  Sometimes the nuances in life are the influences that make the difference – understanding what is happening in business, technology, and cultures are all key to building an understanding of how and when and why to take action.

What makes you the best?

I listen, scan, conceptualize, and figure out the action steps necessary to achieve strategic initiatives.  I understand change management, how to develop and introduce new paradigms and manage perception shifts to take effective action with confidence and empathy.  Sometimes creating a story that everyone can relate to and communicating that throughout organizations is the key to leading successful change.  When Marshall Carter led State Street Bank in a major rethink of their business, he understood that of the utmost importance was telling the story to employees of how regional bank activities were declining at the same time that managing global settlement transactions were becoming more profitable – this new direction represented the business of the future and survival for State Street Bank at a critical juncture.  He knew that he had to make the need to change tangible for every employee.  Effective leaders need to be able to tell the story of where the organization has been, where it is, and where it is going to engage all of the key stakeholders of the business, namely - customers, investors, and employees.

How will you stay the best?

I love what I do – I will keep doing it.  That sounds simple, but tenacity and passion are key to doing anything well. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.  I love thinking about the future.

Most challenging moment?

Only one?  I would say that dealing with someone who has the potential for causing harm to an organization by resisting change for whatever reason is the hardest thing.  There are some executives that resist change and will even sabotage new initiatives until they understand that their objectives will thrive in the new business model.  You have to be patient, get to the root cause, understand what they are trying to achieve, and change their mindset.  

Biggest success?

Participating in the formulation of global strategies and seeing the actions to be global take root that benefit people, companies, and the world.  I worked on the very first global strategy for Apple – they determined that “sourcing great ideas from everywhere, not just Cupertino” would be an essential value going forward.   Apple grasped globalization before many others – a valuable paradigm shift they continue to put into practice today.

What are your aspirations?

Personal: Making the world a safer place, helping to open the world’s eyes – in particular, the women’s perspective and values so that all human efforts are made with depth perception.  

I am focusing on develop entrepreneurial educational exercises that are fun and effective.  It’s important to bring education into the digital age – with a broad and deep reach.  It is very, very important to improve access to education for everyone, in particular for women, because so much of world culture is nurtured and connected through women’s daily activities – supporting education for women improves everyone’s lives.

Business: All of my professional time is spent educating, encouraging, and supporting business people that are improving the world – they are building businesses that are producing goods and services that benefit humankind across the spectrum of industries, taking into account our concern for the environment, educational health, and economic and social welfare.

What fascinates you?

The size of the problems we are facing and the digital world.  There are so many opportunities. For example, as Mark Zuckerberg pointed out, there is a social networking aspect to everything we do.  Seeing the Millennials put social networking into practice throughout society is fascinating.  We are more connected, more aware, and more capable than ever before.  The change in health care takes advantage of sharing data and learning across networks to make diagnosis and health care affordable on a broader basis globally.  Obstacles such as this are worthy obstacles to tackle, and there are many who are taking the challenges head and heart on.

Favorite Motto: 

One of my own!

“Against All Odds” is where I get started.

Favorite People:

My favorite people are optimistic and take action to improve the world.  People such as:

Wendy Schmidt, President of the Schmidt Family Foundation who works with XPrize to inspire entrepreneurs to create elegant solutions to improve the health of oceans.

Bill and Melinda Gates – read GatesNotes.com where he writes candid comments about energy, clean water, and world health and how to take action.  Together, they are leading efforts to share resources to tackle population growth, health, and education.

Cheryl Kiser, Executive Director of the Lewis Institute & Babson Social Innovation Lab who is working toward making every business create economic and social value by defining social innovation.

Candida Brush, PhD, world leading researcher on women in business and how to take action to improve businesses and societies by adding the strength and perspicacity of women’s leadership and contributions.

Loren Brock, she owns and runs The Toy Boat, a children’s toyshop on Nantucket Island.  She listens to the dreams and thoughts of every child that enters that shop and discusses life, the universe, and everything with them from their perspective.  In essence she is saying, “I understand and you have a point” and the children experience their self-worth growing – that’s making a difference.

Favorite Places:

So many!  Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England; San Francisco and, of course, wherever my friends are.

Favorite Products:

Anything from Apple, Khan Academy, and the XPrize Challenges.

Current Passions:

Creating positive impact on the directions people and companies are taking to create the future.