Julio Ottino, Dean of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Northwestern University

Creative disruption. It’s at the heart of Julio’s genius. A career artist turned renowned chaos theorist, Julio has an uncanny gift of creating space for people from different fields to come together and channel their collective experience toward solving a challenge. He’s the academic entrepreneur behind such communities as the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, The Segal Design Institute, The Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern.

September 2015

Julio looks for one quality above others in building a team—he wants people unlike him. He seeks complementary (but different!) skills to expand upon his knowledge. At the heart of this practice lies a simple, but profound truth: We all have talents, even if we are not always aware of them. The challenge for today’s leaders is to create the environment where those abilities can be honed, developed and realized. We learn from Julio that the best path to innovation is not always the one that we pave.

On Innovation (5:16)

Innovation often lies at the intersection of domains -- in not only solving problems, but solving the right problems.

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On the future of leadership (5:18)

The future belongs to people who are able to traverse big domains effortlessly.

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The idea behind the idea (7:17)

Great ideas are usually found beyond the initial idea.

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On inspiring others to lead (3:59)

You don't always lead from the front.

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