Entrepreneur, Professor and Investor
Columbia Business School
United States

Scale up entrepreneurship, according to Daniel Isenberg, is one of the keys to sustainable regional growth – a premise he continues to champion around the world. Isenberg’s unique background as entrepreneur, investor, professor, senior policy advisor and author for over 30 years has positioned him as one of the world’s most prominent leaders of entrepreneurship thought and practice.

For 11 years, Isenberg was a professor at Harvard Business School. Currently, he is a Columbia Business School adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship Practice, and an associate at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He is founder and director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, an initiative that helps regional leaders create the policies, structures, programs and climate that foster entrepreneurship. In 2014 Isenberg inaugurated Babson’s open executive program, Driving Economic Growth through Entrepreneurship Ecosystems.

In his first book, “Worthless Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013), Isenberg contends that entrepreneurs see hidden value in situations where others do not, and ultimately realize extraordinary value for themselves, their customers and society as a whole. A frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review (HBR), his 2010 article, “How to Start an Entrepreneurial Revolution,” was featured as the publication’s “Big Idea,” following his seminal piece, “The Global Entrepreneur” (2008). A subsequent HBR article focuses on “Entrepreneurs and the Cult of Failure” (2011). Isenberg’s HBR blog on entrepreneurship has attracted hundreds of thousands of readers. He has also been an expert blogger for TheEconomist, Huffington Post and QZ.

Isenberg speaks and consults frequently on global entrepreneurship, scale up entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship ecosystems, and is often quoted as an expert voice in influential media, including The EconomistWall Street JournalFortuneFinancial TimesForbes, among others. He has also been interviewed on CNN, Bloomberg, WGBH and the BBC. A former  entrepreneur and venture capitalist, and active angel investor, Isenberg has addressed or advised senior policy groups in more than a dozen countries, including Brazil, Israel, Denmark, Colombia, United States, Mexico and Canada. He has also keynoted on entrepreneurship policy at the G20, YES, European Commission, Organization of American States, World Economic Forum, and the Global Competitiveness Forum, and advised the White House on the initial concept of StartUp America. In 2012, Isenberg was awarded the Pio Manzu Gold Medal for “pioneering and innovative work in economic development,” signed by Mikhail Gorbachev.

In addition to Harvard, Columbia and Babson, Isenberg has taught at INSEAD, Reykjavik and the Technion. While at Harvard in the 1980s,  Isenberg conducted research programs on managerial cognition and human interaction in small groups, which resulted in his first feature HBR articles, “How Senior Managers Think” (1984) and “The Tactics of Strategic Opportunism” (1987), as well as scientific publications in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology etc. During his time at the Technion, where Isenberg created a course called Technology-Based Entrepreneurship, he directed the Tefen Entrepreneurs Program with Stef Wertheimer and also directed the Technion Entrepreneurial Associates with MIT Professor Ed Roberts.

Isenberg holds a Ph.D. degree in social psychology from Harvard University.


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