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Leadership & Strategy in a Changing World

We wrote a book to help you thrive in an environment of increasing change.

Globalization and technology are increasing the frequency of catalyst events—which trigger big changes with broad-reaching effects—ranging from innovations to socioeconomic crises. The consequences of these upheavals will transform industries, communities, and nations. Leaders who seek to ensure their organization’s success in the evolving environment must be prepared and proactive.

“Joseph and Bret have brilliantly captured the forces shaping our future and the challenges and opportunities they present the private and public sectors. A must read for tomorrow’s leaders.”

General (retired) George W. Casey, Jr.
Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of Leadership, S.C. Johnson College of Business, Cornell University; 36th Chief of Staff, U.S. Army (2007 – 2011) and Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq (2004-2007)


Why we wrote Catalyst

This is an amazing time to be alive. We are on the precipice of massive changes that are reshaping industries, societies, and the global economy. Work, power, manufacturing, technology, and cities are all transforming faster than business and government systems have historically demonstrated the ability to adapt. The top-down, hierarchical, efficiency-focused organizational structures that have served us well over the past 150 years are breaking down in the face of sweeping structural change. Agility, adaptability, and vision have become the key determinants of success across all types of organizations.

In this book we show readers how change works, why disruption is happening more quickly, how to adapt, and what leadership it necessitates. We also identify several emerging catalysts that are altering market and geopolitical realities today and demonstrate how corporate, government, and academic sectors can thrive amid these transformations.

Catalyst is the spark leaders need to understand these emerging forces and to build adaptive organizations that will excel in the rapidly evolving environment.

The Key Things You’ll Learn Inside

Global Transformation

  • Technology is reinventing economic systems more quickly, with new inflection points nearing in AI, AR, genomics, biotech, and other fields.

  • Global trade dynamics will be affected by additive manufacturing, new power-generation technologies, and demographics.

  • Cities are transforming as a result of urbanization, technology-enabled infrastructure, and the transportation revolution.

Organizational Agility

  • Proactive leadership built on an actionable framework to evaluate global developments in context of specific risks and opportunities.

  • Strategy development processes to look broadly across industries in a time of interconnectivity and shortening cycles of change.

  • Change management tools built on a real understanding of the psychological and interpersonal dynamics that constrain adaptibility.

Don’t Take Our Word For It

“Kopser and Boyd explore demographic and technological changes reshaping the developed world. Catalyst is a vital resource for policymakers trying to understand and respond to disruption and high-tech innovation.”

Susan A. Shaheen, PhD
Adjunct professor and codirector of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California, Berkeley

Susan Shaheen

“We are living in a period of exponential change, as Ray Kurzweil teaches us. Joseph and Bret are very accomplished military and business leaders and have unusually blended these two schools of leadership into their brilliant book, Catalyst, taking account of the more rapidly changing era we are living in. Leadership is more important than ever, and Joseph and Bret’s book will help you survive—and thrive—during this very important period, where opportunity is more abundant but also risks are more perilous.”

Brett A. Hurt
Founder of Bazaarvoice, Coremetrics, data.world, and Hurt Family Investments

Brett Hurt

“Kopser and Boyd offer a sweeping tour of the big technologies and future shifts that are catalysts for change now—as diverse as genomics and 3-D printing, robotics and new sources of energy. They make the case that leaders in all sectors must be alert, flexible, and innovative in order to turn the possible threats from these changes into major opportunities.”

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, PhD
Harvard Business School Professor and best-selling author of MOVE: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead and Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End


“Joseph Kopser and Bret Boyd are unique individuals who combine real-world leadership and hardship experiences in the field, in the line of fire, and in the theater of battle with world-class academic pedigrees to produce lasting insights that we can all apply to our personal, business, and policy challenges. Their ideas are what we need to get things back on track, and they share them with anecdotes, stories, authenticity, and a refreshing dose of humility. I recommend this book.”

Michael Webber, PhD
Deputy director of the Energy Institute and codirector of the Clean Energy Incubator, University of Texas at Austin

Michael Webber

Who is this book for?

Change Agents

The most important leaders in organizations are most often not the CEO, Governor, or President—they are the line leaders who are closest to the tip of the spear. These are the business unit managers, technologists, and public servants at the forefront of change. Catalyst helps these professionals understand how their efforts fit into the overall organizational strategy architecture, and how to leverage their expertise to elevate their companies and careers.


Senior Leaders

Senior leaders who are responsible for strategy in business, government, and the academic sector must understand how much risk they are undertaking by maintaining old approaches in the new environment, and how much opportunity is available amid transformation. While it is impossible to be expert in everything, Catalyst helps leaders gain a broad perspective of key areas of emerging transformation that are impacting all industries and geographies.

Forward-Thinking Professionals

Early and mid-career professionals have both a challenge and opportunity to align their skills with emerging macro trends to ensure they remain on the leading edge of their industries and career fields. We are past the time when a university degree provides the knowledge to excel throughout a 35-year career—industries are now being reinvented of 5-10 year cycles. Catalyst helps forward-thinking professionals maximize their career potential by riding the waves created by transformation.


The Globally Engaged

Globally engaged citizens understand that the world is changing, and that these emerging global transformations have deep social, political, and economic implications that must be understood at all levels. Catalyst helps all citizens identify how the world is changing, what it will look like in the near future, and how to prepare their families, communities, and businesses so that they can thrive in the emerging world.

Meet The Authors

Joseph Kopser

“Change is about people and we must focus on the human element when we implement new strategies.”

Joseph Kopser is a lifelong problem solver committed to building the teams needed to take on our toughest challenges. In addition, he is a technology entrepreneur and expert in transportation, smart cities, urban mobility, energy, national security issues as well as an Army combat veteran. Currently he serves as an Executive-in-Residence at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. In addition, he is President of Grayline where he works with people and companies to bring together experts, data, and solutions to help companies and public institutions manage disruptive change. Prior to co-founding Grayline, Joseph co-founded and served as CEO of RideScout, before it was acquired by Mercedes-Benz in 2014. Joseph served in the U.S. Army for 20 years earning the Combat Action Badge, Army Ranger Tab and Bronze Star. He is a graduate of West Point with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and also received a Masters from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2002. Read Joseph’s full bio.

Bret Boyd

“Strategy can only succeed when it is built on correct assumptions about the future operating environment.”

Bret Boyd is a strategy and corporate development executive with extensive experience in the defense, energy, technology, and finance sectors. Bret cofounded the Grayline Group, where he works with organizations on strategy and change management issues. Previously, Bret served as the CEO of Knoema, a technology company focused on data integration, machine learning, and analytic products. He also built and led the enterprise business unit at Stratfor, where he advised a variety of multinational corporations and investment groups on strategy and international growth issues. Prior to Stratfor, Bret served as an executive in a venture-backed technology company and helped build the strategy practice for a boutique aerospace consulting firm. Bret began his career as an infantry officer in the United States Army and served under the U.S. Special Operations Command in the 75th Ranger Regiment. During his military service, Bret led teams on numerous deployments to both combat and stability operations around the world. Bret is a graduate of West Point, where he studied international relations and systems engineering. Read Bret’s full bio.

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