Katherine Gehl: Political Innovation
This talk was part of HumanitiesND's Gamechanger Series.
From HumanitiesND: An interview and discussion with Katherine Gehl, a pragmatic business leader who cares deeply about U.S. competitiveness and the state of our democracy.
Katherine M. Gehl, a former CEO, is the founder of The Institute for Political Innovation and the author of “The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy,” which she co-authored with Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter. Gehl developed "Political Industry Theory" as a way to reform our current political system.
Katherine’s decades of leadership experience across the private and public sector inform and motivate her work in politics. Katherine is the former president and CEO of Gehl Foods, a $250-million high-tech food-manufacturing company based in Wisconsin that she sold in 2015. Katherine also worked for Oracle and Bernstein Investment Research and Management. In the public sector, Katherine was confirmed in 2011 by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution. Early in her career, she worked for Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Office at the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools.
Katherine received a BA from the University of Notre Dame, an MA from the Catholic University of America, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She is a proud mother of two children.She serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards, including Unite America, New America, and Business for America, and is a noted philanthropist. She is also the honorary co-chair of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers, and co-founder of Democracy Found.
The Politics Industry: Our political system in America is broken, right? Wrong.
The truth is, the American political system is working exactly how it is designed to work, and it isn't designed or optimized today to work for us—for ordinary citizens.
Most people believe that our political system is a public institution with high-minded principles and impartial rules derived from the Constitution. In reality, it has become a private industry dominated by a textbook duopoly—the Democrats and the Republicans—and plagued and perverted by unhealthy competition between the players. Tragically, it has therefore become incapable of delivering solutions to America's key economic and social challenges. In fact, there's virtually no connection between our political leaders solving problems and getting reelected.
In The Politics Industry, business leader and path-breaking political innovator Katherine Gehl and world-renowned business strategist Michael Porter take a radical new approach. They ingeniously apply the tools of business analysis—and Porter's distinctive Five Forces framework—to show how the political system functions just as every other competitive industry does, and how the duopoly has led to the devastating outcomes we see today.
Using this competition lens, Gehl and Porter identify the most powerful lever for change—a strategy comprised of a clear set of choices in two key areas: how our elections work and how we make our laws. Their bracing assessment and practical recommendations cut through the endless debate about various proposed fixes, such as term limits and campaign finance reform. The result: true political innovation.
The Politics Industry is an original and completely nonpartisan guide that will open your eyes to the true dynamics and profound challenges of the American political system and provide real solutions for reshaping the system for the benefit of all.
THE INSTITUTE FOR POLITICAL INNOVATION The authors will donate all royalties from the sale of this book to the Institute for Political Innovation.
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