About Me

Doug Smith is an adviser, writer, thinker, historian, teacher, lawyer and inventor with a broad range of experience:

Management thinking and practice 

– Acknowledged as one of the world’s leading management thinkers and advisers, having contributed to performance results, innovation, strategy and change in scores of organizations across more than sixty industries in all three sectors: private, government and non-profit

– Architect of the principles and design for Challenge-Centric, Performance-Driven Transformation Programs(SM) guiding leaders to use a focus on performance results to drive innovation, capacity-building, and growth in organizations and communities undergoing profound disruption.  Examples include: NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence In Community Development, The Media Transformation ChallengeThe Punch Sulzberger Program, Knight Temple Lenfest Table Stakes, Oregon Opportunity Network’s LEAD ON,  Catalyst Miami’s  Miami/Florida Thrives, FAHE’s Achieve Your Mission,  and Virginia Community Development Corporation’s Virginia Non-profit Sustainability Challenge among others.

– Cited in High Impact Consulting for having the number one impact of all consultants mentioned. His philosophy and practices routinely generate better than 50:1 returns

– As a McKinsey & Company Partner and co-leader of the Firm’s worldwide organization practice, launched the “horizontal organization,” a part of the re-engineering revolution that Fortune called “the model for the next fifty years”

– Co-authored The Wisdom of Teams and The Discipline of Teams, books used by millions of people the world over

– Authored Make Success Measurable and Taking Charge of Change — books praised for using performance to drive real change in a dynamic world

Education and social change 

– Author of On Value and Values: Thinking Differently About We In An Age Of Me, a social commentary and moral philosophy that has been compared to Aristotle’s Politics and DeTocqueville’s Democracy In America.

– Architect and co-founder of Knight Lenfest News Initiative popularly known as Table Stakes in which dozens of local news enterprises have begun implementing the requirements to be competitive in 21st century news and information and, thereby, remain core to vital local democracy.  Co-author of Table Stakes: A Manual For Getting Into The Game Of News.

– Architect of NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence In Community Development, a Challenge-Centric, Performance-Driven Transformation Program(SM) causing profound shifts in hundreds of affordable housing ant anti-poverty organizations across the United States while simultaneously setting a higher standard for results in adult education

– Created the strategy for the award winning Berea Performance Compact being used by The Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises to combine the unique skills of some of their members with the local presence of all members to produce scalable housing and finance solutions for low-income folks in their region.

-Founder and architect of The Media Transformation Challenge which ran as the Sulzberger Program at Columbia from 2007 through 2018.

– Architect and leader of the Georgia ELDP Program, a Challenge-Centric, Performance-Driven Transformation Program(SM) sponsored by The Carl Vinson Institute of Government for Georgia state government leaders faced with driving superior government service in the face of dramatically shrinking budgets and resources.

– Co-founder of Econ4, an effort directed at shifting the way economics is understood, taught and practiced away from current, destructive orthodoxy toward an economics that is demonstrably grounded both in empiricism and ethics.

– Co-authored Sources of The African Past, an innovative, college-level introduction to 19th century African history that puts student and teacher on a level playing field through it’s presentation of original sources

– Chairman Emeritus of the Board of The Rapid Results Institute, that applies results-and-performance driven methods to dramatically increase the size and sustainability of impacts for social and economic development efforts, primarily in Africa

– Board Chair of SeaChange Capital Partners, an innovative group seeking to mobilize major donors to provide substantial funding for outstanding nonprofits focused on education and youth development

– Vice Chair of the Board of Next Step, a non-profit social enterprise building the nation’s first ever distribution network of non-profits seeking to deliver high quality, energy efficient, factory built manufactured housing at scale.

– Taught high school math, physics and chemistry in The Gambia, West Africa and introduced set theory and “new” math to schools nation-wide

– Member of Executive Committee that re-architected governance at Yale University


– Co-invented patented system and methods for creating and viewing fully browseable video narratives – an entirely new form of education and entertainment

– Co-created McKinsey’s Rapid Response Network, one of the world’s earliest and longest lasting innovations in knowledge management

– Former Chairman of E-Lab, company that applied cultural anthropology to invent new methods of behavior-based market research

– Former Chairman of Foothold Technology, a company bringing the benefits of application service technology to the non-profit sector

– Wrote Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored Personal Computing— widely celebrated as one of the classic books of the Information Age

Industries Served

– Accounting/Auditing
– Agricultural Machinery
– Adult Literacy
– Aviation
– Banking
– Biotechnology
– Cable Television
– Clothing
– Community Development
– Computers
– Consulting
– Corporate Training/Education
– Crafts and Hobbies
– Credit Cards
– Direct Mail
– Disaster Relief
– eCommerce
– Education, K-12 and University
– Energy
– Entertainment
– Fabric Finishing & Dying
– Food and Beverage
– Government
– Health Care
– Housing
– Information Services
– Insurance
– Journalism
– Kitchen Technology
– Land Use Planning
– Law
– Outsourcing
– Packaging
– Pharmaceuticals
– Professional Sports
– Public Policy
– Publishing
– Retail
– Software
– Telecommunications
– Transportation
– Travel
– Utilities

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