How to Lead Like Red Burns

Here are five leadership lessons from the career of the late Red Burns, cofounder and inspirational leader of an eminent New York University master’s program.

Red Burns, ITP, NYU

Check the Periphery. Burns urged students to be dreamers and visionaries, and to use technology to explore what she liked to call “the periphery.” Daniel Rozin, a former director of research at ITP, described ITP as the opposite of the traditional academic program “where you have your hypothesis and you go out and prove it, is not the way it goes at ITP…. As Red says, ‘If we knew already what we were looking for, we wouldn’t be looking for it.’ ” 

ITP graduate Evan Rudowski, Mashable: “Today, when I work on a project I try to think about whether Red Burns might find it worthy: does it serve, empower and engage people? Does it free them to do something they may not have done before? I’m not sure I always succeed, but Red and ITP helped me understand what I ought to be shooting for.”  

Lastly, this gem from Burns: “If you let technology rule the day, you won’t get anywhere. The only thing that’s important about technology is what you do with it.”

About the Author

Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor of CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter via @CIOInsight. You can read his previous CIO Insight article, “Eric Raab, Yodle: My First 100 Days as a New CIO,” by clicking here.

This article was originally published on 09-25-2013
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