Kevin Coyne

Speech Topics

Ideas. Whether the goal is to create a billion-dollar business, fix a broken process, reduce expenses, or simply find the perfect gift for that special someone, we all need a steady stream of breakthrough ideas – and we’ve all learned from experience that traditional brainstorming doesn’t generate them.

Kevin P. Coyne and Shawn T. Coyne have spent more than a decade developing a better approach – Brainsteering – that takes brainstorming and other outdated ideation techniques and “steers” them in a more productive direction by better reflecting the way human beings actually think and work in creative problem-solving situations. By asking just the right questions, and introducing just the right amount of structure into the process, Brainsteering has helped Fortune 500 companies, small not-for-profits, and individuals alike generate ideas they previously could never have imagined.

Peppered with thought-provoking and entertaining examples drawn from the workplace and popular culture, the Coyne Brothers’ presentation on Brainsteering can help anyone develop breakthrough ideas, whether working alone on a one-time problem or turning an entire organization into an ongoing “idea factory.” And getting started is easy: simply ask the right questions, and good ideas will follow.

Having a sustainable competitive advantage is the single best predictor of success for a business – but SCA has proven to be an elusive concept. Historically, business executives and academics have struggled to create a truly robust definition of SCA, then struggled further to determine whether a given organization actually has one. This presentation lays out a new and rigorous approach to understanding SCA – a framework called Value, Scarcity & Asymmetry (VSA) – which will help you test whether your company (or a competitor) has an SCA, how strong it is, and whether it is likely to endure. The approach can be used to test both existing and proposed strategies, and can even be used to help identify new possibilities.


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After being the only person ever admitted directly to Harvard Business School from his junior year of college, Kevin Coyne graduated with Distinction from HBS in 1978 and joined the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey & Company.  At age 27, Kevin joined the first Reagan Administration as the sole Policy Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. After his return to McKinsey, Kevin was elected as the sixth youngest partner of the firm. Later, after being elected a senior partner, he led McKinsey’s Worldwide Strategy Practice. In that role, he revised McKinsey’s core thinking, frameworks and approaches to strategy engagements.  Kevin retired from McKinsey in 2006 at age 51 to create a highly-focused consulting practice and pursue his research. After teaching strategy at Harvard Business School in 2007, he became a Senior Teaching Professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in 2008.

Kevin is a frequent author and commentator on the subject of how individuals and companies can develop breakthrough ideas, as well as other related strategy topics. His articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, the McKinsey Quarterly, Chief Executive Magazine, BusinessWeek, Sloan Management Review, Directorship, Financial Times, and other leading publications. He has been quoted in Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other publications, and he has appeared on CNBC, National Public Radio, and Fox Business News. Kevin and his brother Shawn are the Managing Directors of The Coyne Partnership, a boutique consulting firm serving senior executives and boards of directors in both the private and public sectors in the areas of strategy, marketing, and organizational effectiveness, with a particular focus on identifying groundbreaking new ideas. They are the authors of the book, Brainsteering: A Better Approach to Breakthrough (HarperCollins, 2011).

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