How to Change an Organizational Culture

With Curt Carlson, former CEO of SRI International




Most efforts to change an organizational culture fail. Efforts to create an innovative organizational culture are typically even less successful. Yet some succeed. One extraordinary example is SRI International (SRI), the creator of Siri, the iPhone virtual assistant.

In 1998, SRI was practically bankrupt, with a toxic, distrustful culture. Over the next 16 years, SRI turned into a highly profitable, collaborative serial innovator with a string of multimillion dollar innovations, including Siri. In this webinar, Curt Carlson, who was the CEO of SRI during this period, explained how the company did it.

Curt_Carlson.jpegCurt Carlson is a prominent technologist and was president and CEO of SRI International from 1998 to 2014. During this period, SRI launched many major innovations, of which the best known is Siri.

A physics graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute who then earned a PhD in geophysical fluid dynamics at Rutgers University, Carlson joined Sarnoff Corporation after graduation and worked through the ranks. While there he led teams that developed the HDTV standard and designed a system to assess broadcast image quality, each of which was awarded a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award. In 1998, Carlson was named CEO of SRI International, a post previously held by William P. Sommers.

For his contributions to science, technology, and business, Carlson received Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Robert H. Goddard Alumni Award in 2002. For his role in advancing the functional performance and image quality of information displays, he received the Society for Information Display's Otto Schade Prize in 2006.

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