The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead organizations and managers astray.

Why you should listen

How do organizations think? In her book Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan examines why businesses and the people who run them often ignore the obvious -- with consequences as dire as the global financial crisis and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Heffernan began her career in television production, building a track record at the BBC before going on to run the film and television producer trade association IPPA. In the US, Heffernan became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the wild early days of web business. She now blogs for the Huffington Post and Her latest book, Beyond Measure, a TED Books original, explores the small steps companies can make that lead to big changes in their culture.

What others say

“So how can we combat willful blindness? Heffernan believes that we need a system of incentives that values vigilance and oversight as much as we value the bottom line.” — The Current, on CBC Radio

Margaret Heffernan’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Margaret Heffernan


Career advice for millennials (and really, anyone) from Margaret Heffernan

July 3, 2015

It’s a few months after graduation, which means the luckiest new college grads are knee-deep into internships and entry-level jobs. How to stand out? Business writer Margaret Heffernan suggests: Start by taking a coffee break with your coworkers. Companies grow best, she suggests, when workers are connected by social bonds. Heffernan’s TED Book, Beyond Measure: […]

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TED@BCG focuses on the many meanings of growth

July 1, 2015

Growth is usually a good thing. For a person, it means more wisdom; for a business, it means more profit; for a country, it means increased prosperity. But growth has a darker side too: aging, a sense of impersonality, waste and pollution. At TED@BCG — the latest TED Institute event, held on June 30, 2015, […]

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The TED Talks library, now 2,000 talks strong

June 16, 2015

As you read this, imagine balloons and confetti fluttering to the ground around you. Because we just posted the 2,000th TED Talk. On June 16, 2015, Margaret Heffernan’s “Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work” became the 2,000th TED Talk. It’s a talk we need now: a sharp reflection on our lives […]

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