Beyond Reengineering

From our first issue forward, Fast Company has tackled the ideas of reengineering, restructuring, and rethinking how business works. Here are some of our best stories about big-business change.


In this age of management turmoil and turnover, strategic consultants peddle reengineering as the science of success. But technology doesn’t trump talent, and no science can lock in winning results 100% of the time.


Fast Company has grappled with reengineering since its first issue — covering those who conceived it, implemented it, and got it terribly wrong. Is this the fad that forgot people? Or the future religion of Silicon Valley? Or neither? You be the judge.

November 1995

The Fad That Forgot People

Reengineering didn’t start out as a code word for mindless bloodshed. It wasn’t supposed to be the last gasp of Industrial Age management. I know because I was there from the beginning. I was one of the “creators.” Thomas H. Davenport

November 1995

The People Are the Company

How to build your business around your people. John Seely Brown and Estee Solomon Gray

August 1996


The More Things Transform, the More They Stay the Same

Three books purport to take us beyond Radical Change, past Reengineering, further than Growth — and on to Transformation! With so much transformation going on, how could they be so much the same? Fast Company

April 1997


Change: Few can do it. Few can sustain it. Few can survive it. Charles Fishman

April 1998

Andrew Cuomo, Turnaround CEO

The HUD secretary is borrowing ideas from business to reinvent one of Washington’s most maligned agencies. Ronald Brownstein

February 1999


How Digital Is Your Company?

Forget about the e-hype. Going digital — converting from atoms to bits — gives your company a competitive edge, but only if you focus on the basics: money, talent, customers, and time. Adrian Slywotzky

February 1999

Are You on Digital Time?

Nearly 10 years ago, George Stalk Jr. literally wrote the book on how companies can compete on speed. Today, he says, time is still the ultimate competitive weapon — but by going digital, you can make your company even faster and even more competitive. Alan M. Webber

November 1999

Only the Pronoid Survive

Forget Andy Grove’s famous saying about the power of paranoia. Neo-Darwinist Helena Cronin says that competition today favors the generous. Harriet Rubin

December 1999


20/20 Change Agent

A four-point plan for bringing clarity to change. Bill Breen and Cheryl Dahle

February 2001

Can Leadership Be Taught?

Mark Sarner, president of Manifest Communications, believes that Leadership 101 should focus on helping people develop the human qualities and capacities required for leading in virtually any endeavor. Here’s his recommended coarse load. Mark Sarner

June 2001

Fast Talk Boston: How Big Is the Gap?

We all agree that there’s a gap between the promise of the customer economy and the performance of it. How big is that gap? How do you size it up? Fast Company

September 2001


Who Has the Next Big Idea?

Michael Hammer, consultant, author, evangelical business revolutionary, unleashed reengineering on an unsuspecting public in the early 1990s. Now he’s back — with a new book, a new agenda, and a bunch of new ideas. Be afraid. Be redeemed. Or be both. Daniel H. Pink