Innovation in the Market for Employees

Dena McCallum, who was the director of strategy at Condé Nast, was frustrated. The media organization—which owns Vogue, the New Yorker, and Vanity Fair—needed to change, but she didn’t want to hire a management consultancy, as most companies do. As a former McKinsey consultant, she knew that a team of outside strategists would want to design and lead the program for her, something she was perfectly capable of doing herself. But she also knew that she needed help and wished she could hire a few former strategy consultants as freelancers.

That’s when the idea hit her. For years, McCallum and her friend and ex-McKinsey colleague, Liann Eden, had discussed starting their own firm, but they couldn’t ...

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