Howard Yu

Howard Yu
I help executives to filter out the noise. They can then lay bare what impacts their companies. Leaders must take action to make their organizations future-ready.
Howard Yu

Howard Yu specializes in technological innovation, strategic transformation, and change management and heads IMD’s Center for Future Readiness. He is also author of the award-winning and best-selling book LEAP: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied. In 2015 he was named by Poets&Quants as one of the world’s leading business school professors under 40, and in 2018 he was included on the Thinkers50 Radar list of management thinkers to watch in the year ahead.


His work as Director of the IMD Center for Future Readiness focuses on firms’ capacity to sustain new growth. The Center, which was established in 2020 with the backing of a multi-million-dollar grant from the LEGO Brand Group, aims to help companies spur innovation and thrive amid uncertainty by quantifying which organizations are most ready for a changing future and exploring the lessons that other firms can learn from them. The Center produces Future Readiness Indicators for various sectors to measure how prepared industry incumbents are for coming challenges.


Yu’s work has been published in journals such as Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, The European Business Review, and Business History Review, and popular media outlets including the New York Times, Financial Times, Fortune, Forbes, Straits Times, South China Morning Post, and Shanghai Daily. He is also regularly interviewed and quoted by news organizations such as the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, CNBC, the BBC, and China Daily.


He says businesses are experiencing a series of seismic shifts as a result of global developments such as the encroachment of emerging market firms, the onslaught of digital transformation, growth in the number of affluent consumers across the world, the COVID-19 crisis, and the expansion of e-commerce, and managers must align with the trends affecting their sectors to prosper. For carmakers, for instance, the most significant trend is the leap from the mechanical engineering of the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles that blend connectivity with self-driving capabilities based on software algorithms.


At IMD, he is Director of the Future Readiness Strategy (FRS) open program. He has also delivered customized training programs for major global companies in Asia and Europe including Bosch, OCBC Bank, COFCO, Mars, ASML, Sanofi, ABB, Novartis, Assa Abloy, Maersk, Daimler, Electrolux, Nitto, and LEGO.


Yu’s book LEAP shows how pioneering companies can endure and prosper in a world of constant change and inevitable copycats by harnessing new strategies and advancements in technology and leveraging shifts in markets. The book won widespread praise from top executives as well as several awards, including an Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal and a strategy+business Best Business Book award.


He has also written numerous case studies and won several case writing awards from the European Foundation for Management Development and The Case Centre.


He joined IMD in 2011 after completing a doctoral degree in management at Harvard Business School. He is a Hong Kong native and worked in the Hong Kong banking industry at the start of his career.


Selected publications

How future thinking can derail your company’s present (MIT Sloan Management Review, 2022)

What makes a company “future ready”? (Harvard Business Review, 2022)

Why companies must embrace microservices and modular thinking (MIT Sloan Management Review, 2021)

Why some retailers are thriving amid disruption (MIT Sloan Management Review, 2020)

How autonomy creates resilience in the face of crisis (MIT Sloan Management Review, 2020)

LEAP: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied (PublicAffairs, 2018)

Leopards sometimes change their spots: How established firms can transform themselves (Harvard Business School, 2010)



Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal winner (2019)

strategy+business Best Business Book award (2018)

Named on Inc. 10 Best Business Books of the year list (2018)

Named on Thinkers50 Radar list of management thinkers to watch in the year ahead (2018)

Winner of Case Centre Outstanding Case Writer Hot Topic Competition (2017)

Shortlisted for Thinkers50 Innovation Award (2017 and 2019)

Named on Poets&Quants ‘Best 40 under 40’ list of leading business school professors (2015)

Winner of EFMD Case Writing Competition Award (2013 and 2015)




The University of Hong Kong



Harvard Business School

Advanced Management Program
A comprehensive strategy and leadership program that enables top-level managers to understand complex market forces and strategically reassess and capture tomorrow's opportunities for their organizations.
Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives
Find the breakthroughs you need to tackle the most critical and difficult-to-solve issues that are limiting you and your organization.
Business Growth Strategies
Adopt a new and more radical strategic approach so your products or services don’t become obsolete, or you get blindsided by new competition.
All IMD programs
Howard Yu's Publications
Explore or exploit? How your organization can strike a balance between new opportunities post-COVID-19
Surviving a crisis – Why preparation is key to resilience
How can China tech giants survive regulators? Cash - From abroad
No one is going to win in trade war, academic says | Capital Connection
BBC World News: Talking Business
LEAP: How to thrive in a world where everything can be copied