Learn More About Robert S. Kaplan
Can an organization implement a business strategy that offers strong financial returns while also serving society? Corporate advisor and former Harvard Business School Professor Robert S. Kaplan continues to show organizations it’s not only possible but profitable – and critical to the long-term sustainability of any business.
Kaplan is one of the world’s foremost authorities on performance and risk management, strategy execution, and value-based systems – particularly as they relate to the health care industry. More recently, he has been working with global agribusiness firms on sustainable and inclusive growth strategies, showing leaders how to drive profits while creating a responsible sourcing ecosystem that benefits all stakeholders. The results are proof positive that corporations can continue to seek profitable opportunities while increasing the incomes and employment of those previously left behind by global growth. Inclusive growth shows how companies can profit, ethically and with integrity, by connecting local farmers and suppliers to global supply chains for their products, services, and talent.
“The beauty of capitalism is value creation,” says Kaplan. “We can’t compromise growth. It is the engine for increasing incomes and wealth. But companies must learn how to distribute the benefits from growth more broadly and more equitably so that everybody wins.”
Widely known as co-originator of the Balanced Scorecard – which revolutionized conventional thinking about performance metrics and still remains among the most widely used strategic management tools in the world – Kaplan backs his pragmatic frameworks with research, case studies and decades of experience, helping companies around the world strategically measure and drive performance. His inclusive framework has become even more valuable during the pandemic now that companies are examining how to make their supply chains more resilient and inclusive, a key component for future business success.
A Value-based Model for Fixing America’s Health Care System
In addition to advising corporate leaders on strategy and execution, Kaplan has been working with world-renowned business strategist Michael E. Porter on solutions for fixing America’s broken health care system. Together, they have been conducting research and building strategic frameworks around a measurable, value-based model for treating patients.
“The U.S. spends about 50% more per capita on health care than any other country in the world and experiences among the worst outcomes,” says Kaplan. “Health care is a four trillion dollars a year industry (18% of US GDP) that doesn’t measure its outcomes or what its treatments cost. Progress can’t be made when outcomes and costs are unknown.”
As a solution, Kaplan has developed cost-saving measurement tools for assessing health care performance based on value. The approach enables new payment systems, “bundled reimbursements” that reward improved patient outcomes achieved at lower total cost. The pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for decision makers to adopt such a model.
Kaplan’s Strategies for Measuring and Managing Risk
Kaplan also teaches organizations risk management practices that enable, not inhibit, innovation and revenue growth strategies. “Strategy risks are quite different from preventable risks because they are not inherently undesirable,” wrote Kaplan in a 2012 Harvard Business Review article. “A strategy with high expected returns generally requires the company to take on significant risks, and managing those risks is a key driver in capturing the potential gains.” His well-researched, time-tested frameworks help companies identify, measure and mitigate risk in all areas of an organization.
In a 2020 Harvard Business Review article, “The Risks You Can’t Foresee,” Kaplan and his co-authors explain how to detect the emergence of a novel risk and how to mobilize resources to mitigate its impact.
Kaplan’s meticulously designed strategy execution and measurement tools continue to help organizations increase revenues and manage risk while protecting the interests of supply chains, society and the environment.
Robert S. Kaplan is Senior Fellow and Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School (HBS). He joined the HBS faculty in 1984 after spending 16 years at the Tepper Business School, Carnegie-Mellon University, where he served as the dean from 1977 to 1983. With graduate degrees in electrical engineering and operations research, Kaplan co-developed both the Balanced Scorecard and activity-based costing. Named one of Financial Times’ “Top 25 Business Thinkers,” his research, executive education teaching and consulting focus on linking cost and performance management systems to strategy implementation. He has authored or co-authored 14 books and more than 150 papers.
Elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame in 2006, Kaplan received the Lifetime Contribution Award for Distinguished Contributions to Advancing the Management Accounting Profession from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) in 2008 and the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association (AAA) in 2006. He also received the Outstanding Accounting Educator Award in 1988 from the AAA, the 1994 CIMA Award from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK) for “Outstanding Contributions to the Accountancy Profession,” and the 2001 Distinguished Service Award from IMA for contributions to the practice and academic community. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., a PhD. in Operations Research from Cornell University and honorary doctorates from several distinguished international universities.
Robert S. Kaplan is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.