Emily Truelove

Co-author, Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation

Fostering innovation — throughout the organization, and over time.

Add to Shortlist More Information
Featured Media


Emily Truelove is the co-author of Collective Genius, a exciting new book about creating a culture of innovation throughout your business. The key to company-wide creativity, she argues, is a special kind of leadership. It doesn’t necessarily look like other kinds of “good” leadership you’re used to. It doesn’t mean creating a vision and trying to make innovation happen yourself.

Instead, as Emily explains, it means creating and sustaining a culture where innovation is allowed to happen again and again — an environment where people are both willing and able to do the hard work that innovative problem-solving requires. In her talks, Emily lays out the characteristics of this special innovation-focused leadership and shows you how to harness and unleash the “collective genius” of your organization.

Emily’s other line of research examines how large companies can remain innovative over time as their competitive landscapes shift. She is an ethnographic researcher; when she studies an organization, she spends months and even years on-site, observing organization members in action. This allows her to capture rich detail about the inner workings of organizations and to tell powerful, instructive stories.

Emily is currently a PhD candidate in Organization Studies at MIT Sloan School of Management. Previously, she was a research associate at Harvard Business School and has coauthored over a dozen case studies on leadership, organizational culture and talent management. Emily was also previously a researcher at ICEDR, a consortium of global companies focused on global talent management.

She has also published in outlets including Harvard Business Review and Business Strategy Review.

Emily has lived and worked in Malaysia and South Africa. She has traveled to over three dozen countries.


Collective Genius

The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation

Emily Truelove, Greg Brandeau, Linda A. Hill and Kent Lineback

Recommended Reading For Creative LeadersForbes

Why can some organizations innovate time and again, while most cannot?

You might think the key to innovation is attracting exceptional creative talent. Or making the right investments. Or breaking down organizational silos. All of these things may help — but there’s only one way to ensure sustained innovation: you need to lead it — and with a special kind of leadership. Collective Genius shows you how.

Preeminent leadership scholar Linda Hill, along with former Pixar tech wizard Greg Brandeau, MIT researcher Emily Truelove, and Being the Boss coauthor Kent Lineback, found among leaders a widely shared, and mistaken, assumption: that a “good” leader in all other respects would also be an effective leader of innovation. The truth is, leading innovation takes a distinctive kind of leadership, one that unleashes and harnesses the “collective genius” of the people in the organization.

Using vivid stories of individual leaders at companies like Volkswagen, Google, eBay, and Pfizer, as well as nonprofits and international government agencies, the authors show how successful leaders of innovation don’t create a vision and try to make innovation happen themselves. Rather, they create and sustain a culture where innovation is allowed to happen again and again — an environment where people are both willing and able to do the hard work that innovative problem solving requires.

Collective Genius will not only inspire you; it will give you the concrete, practical guidance you need to build innovation into the fabric of your business.

Harvard Business Review Press (June 10, 2014)




"Masterful guide."

“The leadership of innovative teams and organizations is perhaps the most confounding mystery in business today . . . Collective Genius reveals the principles by which we can unlock the collective potential of our colleagues and release the creative potential of our organizations.”
— Tim Brown, President and CEO, IDEO

“An interesting and instructive look at how leaders can create flexible corporate ecosystems to unleash individual talent in ways that lead to greater organizational innovation.”
— Reid Hoffman, cofounder and Chairman, LinkedIn; coauthor, The Alliance

Collective Genius offers real-world insights that will help today’s business leaders challenge the status quo, drive new ideas, and create an environment where change and innovation are the norm.”
— Kenneth I. Chenault, CEO and Chairman, American Express

“Linda Hill and her coauthors argue that innovation requires a different kind of leader — someone who can create and sustain a culture that brings out the ‘collective genius’ of all their diverse and talented people. A great read for anyone leading a team, organization, or community.”
— Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos; New York Times bestselling author, Delivering Happiness

“ . . . Collective Genius is one of the few books that truly captures innovation in action and the important role — and qualities — of leaders who make it happen.”
— Terri Kelly, President and CEO, W. L. Gore & Associates

“A great read, full of important insights for anyone involved in high-impact innovation . . . I look forward to sharing it with my colleagues.”
— Mark M. Little, Senior Vice President, Director of Global Research, and Chief Technology Officer, General Electric

“. . . A must-read for any manager or participant in an organization that requires innovation — in other words, any organization that wants to be successful in the new world of continuous massive disruptions.”
— Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab

“Innovation. Leadership. Motivation. Execution. What we need to do is quite obvious. And thanks to this book, we now have a guide to teach us how.”
— Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; author, The Innovator’s Dilemma


Emily tailors each presentation to the needs of her audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest her range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation

Identifying and Developing Your Organizations’ Leaders of Innovation

Purpose-Driven Enterprises


Collective Genius

Collective Genius | Harvard Book Store


A global mass media company:
On behalf of [ . . . ] I wanted to thank you for participating in our first ever Spark yesterday. Your talk was a highlight of the program and I’ve been hearing positive feedback all day about how pitch perfect it was for the mission of the day. And several people who have also commented about what an incredible presenter you are.

Your presentation hit the mark as far as being thought provoking, entertaining and inspiring. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to work together again – and in the mean time you’ve left us with a lot to think about.

A leading cloud computing provider:
Emily was incredibly well-received — everyone was really energized by her talk. It was a fantastic start to our three-day event.

An association of intellectual property professionals:
Emily – Thank you so much for a wonderful, engaging and educational presentation yesterday! You definitely got people thinking and talking, even after drinks and dinner, which is something of note!


— Harvard Business Review
— Harvard Business Review