MARGARET HEFFERNAN

Enquire about Margaret’s availability

Contact

Share this speaker

Topic: Leadership & Management

Expertise: Change Management, Diversity, Innovation, Motivation Teamwork

MARGARET HEFFERNAN is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive and author. She was born in Texas, raised in Holland and educated at Cambridge University.
She worked in BBC Radio for five years where she wrote, directed, produced and commissioned dozens of documentaries and dramas.
As a television producer, she made documentary films for Timewatch, Arena, and Newsnight.

She was one of the producers of Out of the Doll’s House, the prize-winning documentary series about the history of women in the twentieth century. She designed and executive produced a thirteen part series on The French Revolution for the BBC and A&E. The series featured, among others, Alan Rickman, Alfred Molina, Janet Suzman, Simon Callow and Jim Broadbent and introduced both historian Simon Schama and playwright Peter Barnes to British television.

Her TED talk below which she delivered in July 2019 exceeded 1 million views in 12 days.

” What all these technologies attempt to do is to force feed a standardized model of a predictable reality unto a world that is  infinitely  surprising – what get’s left out ? Anything which that can’t be measured which is just about everything that counts.”

She also produced music videos with Virgin Records and the London Chamber Orchestra to raise attention and funds for Unicef’s Lebanese fund.Leaving the BBC, she ran the trade association IPPA, which represented the interests of independent film and television producers and was once described by the Financial Times as “the most formidable lobbying organization in England.”In 1994, she returned to the United States where she worked on public affair campaigns in Massachusetts and with software companies trying to break into multimedia.

She developed interactive multimedia products with Peter Lynch, Tom Peters, Standard & Poors and The Learning Company.She then joined CMGI where she ran, bought and sold leading Internet businesses, serving as Chief Executive Officer for InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and iCAST Corporation.

She was named one of the Internet’s Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999, one of the Top 25 by Streaming Media magazine and one of the Top 100 Media Executives by The Hollywood Reporter. Her “Tear Down the Wall” campaign against AOL won the 2001 Silver SABRE award for public relations.

Her third book, Wilful Blindness was a finalist for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Best Business Book award and, in 2014, the Financial Times named it one of its “best business books of the decade.” Her next book A Bigger Prize  won the Transmission Prize.

Beyond Measure : The Big Impact of Small Changes was published in 2015. Her TED talks have been seen by over 6 million people.

Her most recent book was published in February 2020.

An urgent read … Karl Popper for the 21st century’  Robert Phillips, former CEO, Edelman EMEA and author of Trust me, PR is Dead
‘Heffernan is … a deft storyteller. Uncharted is … wise and appealingly human’ Tim Harford, Financial Times

How can we think about the future? What do we need to do – and who do we need to be?

In her bold and invigorating new book, distinguished businesswoman and author Margaret Heffernan explores the people and organizations who aren’t daunted by uncertainty.
We are addicted to prediction, desperate for certainty about the future. But the complexity of modern life won’t provide that; experts in forecasting are reluctant to look more than 400 days out. History doesn’t repeat itself and even genetics won’t tell you everything you want to know. Ineradicable uncertainty is now a fact of life.

In complex environments, efficiency is a hazard not a help; being robust is the better, safer option. Drawing on a wide array of people and places, Margaret Heffernan looks at long-term projects developed over generations that could never have been planned the way that they have been run. Experiments, led by individuals and nations, discover new possibilities and options. Radical exercises in forging new futures with wildly diverse participants allow everyone to create outcomes together that none could do alone. Existential crises reveal the vital social component in resilience. Death is certain, but how we approach it impacts the future of those we leave behind. And preparedness – doing everything today that you might need for tomorrow – provides the antidote to passivity and prediction.

Ranging freely through history and from business to science, government to friendships, this refreshing book challenges us to resist the false promises of technology and efficiency and instead to mine our own creativity and humanity for the capacity to create the futures we want and can believe in.