The Big Idea
Our original big idea was that we could and should learn how to do research which has the potential to influence how people live and work. We started from the realisation that, as management researchers and practitioners, we are not doing nearly enough to advance the management practice and body of knowledge. Universities and university research is lagging far behind what happens in practice, rather than leading the way to innovation. We did something nobody else have done before us and which many thought was a crazy idea. We tried to learn how we could do more meaningful research in management by looking cross-disciplinary at fields like astrophysics, medicine, physics, music, journalism, etc.
We interviewed four Nobel Laureates, ten of the world’s top-50 management thinkers and one astrophysicist. To complement the interviews, we used information available from other sources, such as the Nobel Foundation, Universities’ websites, scholarly and managerial literature, studying numerous biographical notes, interviews, newspaper and magazine articles. In addition, we talked with two-dozen academic colleagues.
In the end, we were able to collect around 100 hours of interviews, 150 hours of videos, hundreds of pages of personal notes from several meetings and conversations with the various people from all over the world who contributed in one way or another to this research, and thousands of pages of relevant scientific articles, biographies, etc.
Doing Research That Matters reveals the ways that exceptional scholars and practitioners have sparked research, done it well, and spread it to others, in the process shaping the way we live and manage. It presents a collection of views’ and experiences of Nobel Laureates and top management gurus such as Robert Kaplan, Henry Mintzberg, Margherita Hack, Gerard Ertl, Roger Martin, Philip Kotler, Howard Gardner, Costas Markides, specifically related to the concepts of research excellence, research process and research outcome. These interviews reveal how their transformative research came about, what drives it, who drives it, how it happens, and why the people who do it feel so passionate about getting the word out. Taking the reader through their life stories it highlights common patterns in the way these people identify a problem worth researching, generate an outcome worth spreading, and generally conduct a worthy professional life.