Steve Denning

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Steve Denning

Steve Denning (born 11 January 1944) works in leadership, management, innovation, and organizational storytelling.


Stephen Denning was born 11 January 1944[1] in Sydney, Australia. He studied law and psychology at the University of Sydney and worked as a lawyer in Sydney for several years. He did a postgraduate degree in law at Oxford University.

Denning worked for several decades at the World Bank in many capacities and held various management positions, including Director of the Southern Africa Department from 1990 to 1994, Director of the Africa Region from 1994 to 1996, and Program Director for Knowledge Management from 1996 to 2000. After leaving the World Bank in 2000 he published five books on leadership storytelling and established himself as a global leader in the field. In 2001 he initiated the annual Organizational Storytelling Weekend in Washington D.C. under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.

In 2010 he broadened the focus of his work with his book, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century (Jossey-Bass, 2010). In this book he argues that present day management needs to be reinvented. He sets out the principles and practices needed to accomplish that through five major shifts: (1) a shift in the firm’s goal from producing outputs to delighting the customer; (2) a shift in the role of the manager from a controller to an enabler of self-organizing teams; (3) a shift in the way work is coordinated from bureaucracy to dynamic linking, (4) a shift from value to values; and (5) a shift from top-down commands to conversation

Published works[edit]

  • The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2000)
  • Sonnets 2000 (iUniverse, 2000)
  • The Painter: A Novel of Pursuit (iUniverse, 2000)
  • Storytelling in Organizations: Why Storytelling Is Transforming 21st Century Organizations and Management with John Seely Brown, Katalina Groh, Laurence Prusak (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2004)
  • Squirrel Inc.: A Fable of Leadership through Storytelling (Jossey-Bass, 2004)
  • The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative (Jossey-Bass 2005; 2nd edition, 2011)
  • The Secret Language of Leadership: How Leaders Inspire Action Through Narrative (Jossey-Bass, 2007)
  • The Leader's Guide to Radical Management: Re-inventing the Workplace for the 21st Century (Jossey-Bass, 2010)
  • Masterclass: Rethinking the organization: leadership for game-changing innovation (Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 38. No. 6, 2010)
  • The Reinvention of Management (Strategy & Leadership, Vol 39. No. 2, 2011)
  • The Reinvention of Management: Part 2: Practices (Strategy & Leadership, Vol 39, No. 3, 2011)

Since 2011, he has written more than 600 articles on radical management, leadership, innovation and narrative on[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2000: One of the World’s Ten Most Admired Knowledge Leaders (Teleos)
  • 2006 - 2009 Senior Scholar at the Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland
  • 2007: The Secret Language of Leadership was selected by 800-CEO-READ as the best book on leadership of 2007.
  • 2009: Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford
  • 2010: The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management was selected by 800-CEO-READ as one of the best five books on management of 2010.
  • 2011: Outstanding Paper Award Winner at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2011 for his article Masterclass: Rethinking the organization: leadership for game-changing innovation published in Strategy & Leadership, Volume 39, Number 2.
  • 2013: Member of the board of directors of Scrum Alliance.
  • 2014: Outstanding Paper Award Winner at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2011 for his article Metrics for the emerging Creative Economy” Strategy & Leadership," Volume 42, Number 5.


  1. ^ "Linked Authority File for Denning, Stephen". Online Computer Library Center. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  2. ^

External links[edit]