Teaching Note | HBS Case Collection | March 2014

The Weather Company

by Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Ai-Ling Jamila Malone

Abstract

New CEO David Kenny transformed The Weather Company in less than two years from a primary identity as a cable television channel to a multi-platform digital company innovating in the uses of weather data. He assesses progress and considers strategic choices and organizational challenges ahead. He created a new narrative for the company in the era of Big Data, putting science at the center (great forecasts) and stressing services, stories (the ability to communicate the data to users), and safety (preparation for severe weather, including using social media). Now he has questions about how much to invest in the declining but still important television business; how to build and hold audiences beyond severe weather events, when audiences spike; how to stay ahead of growth of digital platforms, especially mobile, when current partners (such as Google) could easily turn into competitors; and how to build organizational capabilities, culture, and talent to be ready for ongoing and future change, including global growth. Kenny grapples with a number of strategic tensions: between innovations and the traditional business, between global and local, and about increased partnering or proprietary advantages. He must continue to lead and develop the team to support a vision that is still unfolding.

Keywords: leadership; change management; strategic change; technology; digital; weather; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Technology Platform; Change Management; Leading Change; Growth and Development Strategy; Information Industry; Service Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

Citation:

Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, and Ai-Ling Jamila Malone. "The Weather Company." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 314-125, March 2014.