Skip to main content

Hal Gregersen


Hal Gregersen is Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center and a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management where he pursues his vocation of executive teaching, coaching, and research by exploring how leaders in business, government, and society discover provocative new ideas, develop the human and organisational capacity to realise those ideas, and ultimately deliver positive, powerful results. 

He is a Senior Fellow at Innosight and a former advisory board member at Pharmascience, a privately held pharmaceutical company based in Montreal, Canada.  Before joining MIT, he taught at INSEAD, London Business School, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Brigham Young University, and in Finland as a Fulbright Fellow. 

Gregersen's most recent book, The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators, flows from a path-breaking international research project (with Jeff Dyer & Clayton Christensen). They explored where disruptive innovations come from by interviewing founder entrepreneurs and CEOs at 100+ of the most innovative companies in the world and by assessing how 8,000+ leaders leverage five key innovation skills to create valuable new products, services, processes, and businesses.

To grasp how leaders find and ask the right questions – ones that disrupt the world – Gregersen is now studying 100+ renowned business and government leaders. This question-centric project, conducted in collaboration with Clayton Christensen, is surfacing insights into how leaders build better questions to unlock game-changing solutions. Gregersen is also founder of The 4-24 Project, an initiative dedicated to rekindling the provocative power of asking the right questions in adults so they can pass this crucial creativity skill onto the next generation.

Gregersen has co-authored ten books and published over 50 articles, book chapters, and cases on leading innovation and change. His research has been highlighted in global media such as BBC, CNN, The Economist, Fast Company, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, Inc., The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He has received several awards for his cutting edge work, including: 2013 Thinkers50 Innovation Award Nominee, 2012 Chartered Management – British Library Book of the Year Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the 2009 McKinsey Award runner-up for the best article in Harvard Business Review.

Putting his research to practice, Gregersen regularly delivers high impact keynote speeches and executive workshops with companies like Accenture, Adidas, AT&T, Christie’s, Coca-Cola, Daimler, Danone, Genentech, IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, LG, Lilly, McAfee, Marriott, MasterCard, Sanofi Aventis, SAP, Vivendi, WalMart, World Economic Forum, & Yahoo! He also works with governments, not-for-profit and NGO organizations to generate greater innovation capabilities in the next generation of leaders.

Gregersen has lived and worked outside the United States for over a decade – in England, Finland, France, and the UAE.  He and his wife now reside in Boston where he pursues his lifelong avocation, photography, and she her lifelong love, painting.

More information about Gregersen and his work can be found at and

Latest posts

Sort by

Leadership & Organisations

Use Catalytic Questioning to Solve Significant Problems

For almost twenty years, I have refined a systematic approach to uncovering the right questions—those that start to unlock entirely different solutions and perspectives—with hundreds of teams around the world, from the C-suite to the shop floor.


A.G. Lafley’s Innovation Skills Will Weather P&G’s Storm

Almost 20 years ago, I interviewed Procter & Gamble (PG) Chief Executive Officer A.G. Lafley at company headquarters in Cincinnati for a book project focused on what it takes to become a great global leader. I was looking forward to talking with Lafley because former Chairman John Pepper had endorsed him as one of the most effective global leaders at P&G.
1 comment


Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Apollo 11. He’s Still Innovating

On July 16, 1969 at 9:32 a.m. EST, five F-1 engines lifted the 6.2 million-pound Saturn V rocket into space. (As a reference point, that’s the equivalent of tossing about 400 full-grown elephants into the air at once.) Jeff Bezos, who was 5 years old at the time, was watching—intently. Four days later, on July 20, 1969 at 4:18 p.m. EST, the young Bezos was mesmerized by the words “Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed” when the lunar module gently set three men onto the moon.

Leadership & Organisations

Transform 2013 by Turning Goals into Questions

Transitions are ideal times to create multi-faceted change in our lives. Moving across four different countries and three different continents during the past seven years has made that truth crystal clear for my family. The start of a new year can give equal cause for recalibrating a life. Many of us have set a few goals during the past couple of weeks, and a few of us have set many goals. But we all know that goals set are not necessarily goals met. At best 20 percent of us will succeed at achieving our objectives. To buck those odds, try this trick: Set a question goal instead of a statement goal.

Leadership & Organisations

Taking the Leap: Two Moments of Innovation Truth

Though I’m not a fan of overdosed caffeine and sugar-laden concoctions, I give complete kudos to Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos team for their successful sky dive—or rather, space dive—from beyond the edge of the Earth and back, breaking the sound barrier in the process. From start to finish, Felix and his team pushed the envelope by taking experimentation to the extreme.

Leadership & Organisations

What Do Managers Do at Work?

Recently Thomas Friedman in the New York Timesargued for “the rise of popularism,” and the Wall Street Journal touted the same with its headline, “Who’s the boss? There isn’t one.” After reading these articles, my mind raced back 25 years to my first encounter with a few maverick companies attempting to manage without managers and a subsequent Saturday morning conversation while watching Yogi Bear cartoons with my three-year old son.