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McKinsey Quarterly 2014 Number 2: Overview and full issue

This issue of the Quarterly, available here as a PDF download, explores new management approaches to resource productivity, the future of lean, gender diversity, and much more.

Download the full issue of McKinsey Quarterly 2014 Number 2 (PDF–3.2MB).

More than seven years ago, Matt Rogers and I, along with colleagues from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and McKinsey’s energy practice, coauthored a report and McKinsey Quarterly cover story suggesting that radical improvements in energy efficiency would be necessary as billions of emerging-market consumers entered the ranks of the middle class. The scope of our research has expanded beyond energy over the years. So has our sense of the magnitude of the change needed, which MGI and our firm’s sustainability practice began describing two years ago as a “resource revolution” in another report and Quarterly cover story.

The means of achieving that revolution are now taking shape. As Matt and McKinsey alumnus Stefan Heck describe in their article, “Are you ready for the resource revolution?,” advances in information technology, nanotechnology, materials science, and biology are creating the potential for a third Industrial Revolution, which will enable strong economic growth with much lower resource consumption than was needed in the past. This hopeful story is just beginning to unfold, but it raises a profound new set of management opportunities and challenges, which Matt and Stefan elaborate in their article and in their new book, Resource Revolution. McKinsey’s David Frankel, Kenneth Ostrowski, and Dickon Pinner also weigh in, describing the top-management implications of solar energy’s rapidly improving economics. So do Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp and energy expert Daniel Yergin.

The resource revolution is one of many topics where the Quarterly has been a good place to follow the evolution of our firm’s thinking over time. This year, 2014, is the publication’s 50th anniversary. Throughout the year, we are marking the occasion by looking ahead toward next frontiers in business and management that build on the Quarterly’s 50-year foundation of insight. The most prominent example in this issue is our package “The future of lean.” These articles examine the operating principles that originated with Toyota 50 years ago and have revolutionized a range of sectors, including services, whose introduction to lean has been well chronicled in the Quarterly.

In the years ahead, say McKinsey’s Ewan Duncan and Ron Ritter, a host of new developments suggest that lean’s best is yet to come. Another topic that has been addressed in our publication for a long time is gender bias facing women in top management. As Sandrine Devillard and her colleagues remind us in a summary of their latest research, some of the subtle cultural issues that undermine progress have been around since at least 1976, when McKinsey’s Jim Bennett wrote about them in the Quarterly.

The next issue of the Quarterly will focus entirely on connections between the future of management and our thought-leadership heritage, including analysis of disruptions under way, the trend breaks they signify, and the implications for strategy, leadership, organizational effectiveness, the role of business in society, and much more. We hope that this issue whets your appetite.

Download the full issue of McKinsey Quarterly 2014 Number 2 (PDF–3.2MB).

About the author(s)

Scott Nyquist is a director in McKinsey’s Houston office.