Howard H. Stevenson

Howard H. Stevenson is a historic figure in the field of entrepreneurship

Howard H. Stevenson is a historic figure in the field of entrepreneurship – one who has been heralded as “the Lion of Entrepreneurship” by Forbes, credited with “coining the best definition of an entrepreneur ever” by Inc. Magazine, and described as “the individual who will go down in business history as ‘the entrepreneur of the entrepreneurs’” by Steve Jobs’ mentor, Arthur Rock.

Stevenson’s extraordinary career and life has impacted countless individuals, institutions, and companies worldwide.  He is credited by many as the person most responsible for changing the concept of an entrepreneur from the sole domain of individuals who started businesses to a way of thinking, approaching opportunities and challenges, and undertaking a specific set of behaviors applicable by people and organizations of any size as opposed solely to start-ups.

Stevenson’s lifetime of work to redefine, promote, and teach individuals and organizations to behave more entrepreneurially regardless of size, age, or status inspired the creation of the Center for Entrepreneurial Thinking, which was founded with former Harvard student and colleague Eric Sinoway to positively impact organizations, individuals, and societies by facilitating economic activity and inspiring managers in large companies.

The Center for Entrepreneurial Thinking builds off Stevenson’s groundbreaking definition of entrepreneurship – “the pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources currently controlled”—and his extraordinary impact regarding entrepreneurship, which includes publishing 200 books, cases and articles and teaching tens of thousands of students. He is the subject of the best-selling book, Howard’s Gift: Uncommon Wisdom to Inspire Your Life’s Work, written by Sinoway, that has been described as “life-changing,” “a playbook for corporate strategy” and “applicable to CEOs, students, and everyone seeking a life of success and satisfaction.”

Stevenson held leadership positions across Harvard, in businesses, and with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations throughout his career. He is Harvard’s former Chairperson of HBS Publishing, Dean of External Affairs, and Vice Provost for Resource Planning and Development; the former Chairperson of National Public Radio, the Boston Ballet, and countless other charities; and the founding President of Baupost, a hedge fund with $30 billion AUM.  He is an active investor, a philanthropist who supports a wide range of nonprofits, and has been a director or trustee of dozens of organizations.

The nine tenants that comprise Entrepreneurial Thinking were created by Stevenson with Sinoway and leading entrepreneurial thinkers as a way to enable organizations and leaders to implement specific steps to change behavior.  Whereas increasing numbers of organizations describe themselves as “entrepreneurial” and promote their desire to hire entrepreneurial leaders and associates, there to this point has not been a specific set of characteristics that identified as to what these proclamations entail. The nine tenants created by the Center for Entrepreneurial Thinking comprise an actionable playbook to create the change necessary to proactively create innovative, agile, and successful leaders, associates, and organizations that are “opportunity-centric” and prepared for todays’ competitive and global environment. No one has contributed more to this reality than professor Howard H. Stevenson.