01 Mar 2012

Harvard Business School to Convene More Than 600 Business Leaders in New York to Discuss Paths Forward for Improving U.S. Competitiveness


BOSTON—On Monday, March 5, Harvard Business School (HBS) will convene Paths Forward, an event featuring leaders from academia, policy, technology, health care, manufacturing, labor, finance, and nonprofits in a discussion about U.S. competitiveness. Paths Forward is part of the HBS U.S. Competitiveness Project, a research-led effort to understand and improve the ability of firms operating in the U.S. to compete successfully in the global economy, while supporting high and rising living standards for Americans.

The event in New York will include remarks by Nitin Nohria, HBS Dean; Vikram Pandit, Chief Executive Officer, Citigroup; Robert K. Steel, New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; Rashid Ferrod Davis, Founding Principal, P-TECH; Stanley S. Litow, President, IBM International Foundation; and Kathryn S. Wylde, President and CEO, Partnership for New York City.

The event will also feature HBS faculty who wrote articles for the March 2012 Harvard Business Review issue on U.S. competitiveness, including Michael E. Porter and Jan W. Rivkin (who co-coauthored The Looming Challenge to U.S. Competitiveness and Choosing the United States); Mihir A. Desai (who authored The Incentive Bubble); Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Enriching the Ecosystem); William A. Sahlman (who co-authored Reviving Entrepreneurship with Josh Lerner); and William W. George, Professor of Management Practice. Rana Foroohar, Assistant Managing Editor of TIME, and Adi Ignatius, Editor-in-Chief of Harvard Business Review, will serve as moderators for the discussion.

"There is no more appropriate time than now for us to explore the question of what America's role will be in the global marketplace and develop answers that will allow our country to remain a competitive place to conduct business in the international economy," said HBS Dean Nitin Nohria. "And while improving competitiveness is often seen as the job of the government, we believe business leaders can and should play a central role in boosting competitiveness."

Paths Forward will include a call to action for business leaders, asking them to consider ways their companies can help boost U.S. competitiveness by investing in the local workforce and supporting businesses, infrastructure, and institutions in ways that boost the long-run productivity of their communities.

"Our major objective with this effort is to help businesses think differently about the issue of U.S. competitiveness, and to take action," said Professor Michael Porter, co-chair of the HBS U.S. Competitiveness Project. "Rather than simply complain about what's wrong, companies can do much on their own to improve the U.S. business environment, whether it is through mentoring local suppliers or partnering in skill training with local educational institutions. Steps like these are not about patriotism or charity, but enabling company growth and productivity."


"America's unparalleled ability to pair entrepreneurs with capital creates innovation and growth that benefit people in every corner of the world," said Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup. "That progress is currently stalled but could be reignited through sound policy. Now is the time for business to take the lead in pressing for change that will unleash the unique ability of the United States to create new industries that generate quality jobs. I look forward to discussing solutions at Paths Forward."

"The Bloomberg Administration has made it a priority to forge partnerships with the private sector in order to solve problems and create opportunities for our City and its residents," said Deputy Mayor Steel. "By bringing together the public and private sectors to address the vital issue of U.S. competitiveness, Harvard Business School is doing this on a national front — and leading the way in seeking out solutions that have the potential to ensure a brighter future for our country."

For members of the media interested in attending the invite-only event or receiving more information about Harvard Business School's U.S. Competitiveness Project, please contact Calley Means at 202-350-6672 or calley.means@edelman.com.

About the HBS U.S. Competitiveness Project
\nThe U.S. Competitiveness Project is a research-led effort by Harvard Business School to understand and improve the competitiveness of the United States - that is, the ability of firms operating in the U.S. to compete successfully in the global economy while supporting high and rising living standards for Americans. The Project focuses especially on the roles that business leaders do and can play in promoting U.S. competitiveness. The Project approaches current challenges to U.S. competitiveness as a matter of global concern, not just an American issue.


Jim Aisner

Calley Means

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.