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Guest on The Infra Blog: Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor at Harvard Business School & Author of “MOVE: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead”

Posted by Steve Anderson on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of "MOVE"Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. She is also Chair and Director of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative, an innovation that helps successful leaders at the top of their professions apply their skills to national and global challenges in their next life stage.

Professor Kanter recently published MOVE: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead. In Move, Kanter visits cities and states across the country to tackle our challenges―and reveal solutions―on the roads and rails, and in our cities, skies, and the halls of Washington, D.C. We meet a visionary engineer and public servant spearheading an underwater tunnel in Miami to streamline port operations and redirect constant traffic from the city center. We see mayors partnering with large corporations and nimble entrepreneurs to unveil parking apps, bike-sharing programs, and seamless Wi-Fi networks in greener, more vibrant, more connected cities. And we learn about much-needed efforts―such as dynamic tolls on highways and fees based on vehicle miles traveled―to reduce our dependence on the outmoded gasoline tax in our new electric car age.

Infrastructure Touches Every Aspect of Life
I devoted nearly two years to in-depth investigation from the point of view of users of our systems, and America’s position in the world, and concluded that if we don’t get moving we’re going to fall further behind the rest of the world, and if we’re not strong at home we can’t be strong as world leaders.

We Need to Develop a National Infra Vision
We…tend to think about these things in terms of our own comfort and convenience, understandably, but there isn’t yet a sense of a national vision, national agenda. That in part also accounts for gridlock in Washington because it’s too easy for states or representatives in certain districts not to think about the nation as a whole, but to think about only their own place. And yet it should be one connected nation.

Now That the Conversation is Going, Leaders Need to Take Charge
…Many people in the U.S. don’t like to think of us as anything other than number one, but sadly there are some areas in which we are not number one. Well, my goal is to stimulate the conversation so that we can reach for excellence again. But that requires leadership. It requires leadership certainly at the national level.

People Need to Know That There ARE Solutions
…When people feel that they’re not sure that investment will be well spent, they’d rather stay with the status quo, as awful as it is, and they start to plan around it. So they start to plan those two extra hours to get to work every day…I think that we have to convince people that there are positive things happening, that technology can play a very positive role, that there are things that can happen quickly.

Download full transcript (PDF): Rosabeth Moss Kanter on The Infra Blog

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