Thinkers & Ideas
Thinkers & Ideas
Mar 31, 2022
The Voltage Effect with John A. List
Play • 30 min

John A. List is a Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and Chief Economist at Walmart. List is co-author of The Why Axis, a fellow of The Econometric Society, and an editor of the Journal of Political Economy.

His new book, The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale, focuses on the necessity of scaling ideas and the things that help and get in the way of doing this.

List argues the only ideas worth pursuing are the ones with the potential to make a significant impact on human lives — and translating an idea into widespread impact requires scalability: the capacity to grow and expand in a robust and sustainable way.

In a conversation with Martin Reeves, Chairman of the BCG Henderson Institute, List discusses the art of scaling, “voltage amplifiers”, “voltage drops” and gives advice on avoiding false positives, knowing when to quit an idea, not being deceived by averages, and the importance of behavioral economics in business.


About the BCG Henderson Institute

The BCG Henderson Institute is the Boston Consulting Group’s think tank, dedicated to exploring and developing valuable new insights from business, technology, economics, and science by embracing the powerful technology of ideas. The Institute engages leaders in provocative discussion and experimentation to expand the boundaries of business theory and practice and to translate innovative ideas from within and beyond business. For more ideas and inspiration, sign up to receive BHI INSIGHTS, our monthly newsletter, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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