The Edges of Lean — Episode 36 Continuous Improvement and Real Collaboration with Mark Herschberg

Collaboration is an essential part of any successful organization, but how do you find individuals that have natural communications and collaboration skills? Join me as I talk with Mark Herschberg about lean thinking and why universities aren’t doing enough in this area! We will also discuss his book “The Career Tool Kit: Essential For Success That No One Taught You” which provides valuable insights on gaining knowledge from collaborative efforts. Mark has been teaching at MIT for 20 years. In addition, he’s built multiple startup companies as a CTO.


 Mark Herschberg

Mark is the author of The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You. From tracking criminals and terrorists on the dark web to creating marketplaces and new authentication systems, Mark has spent his career launching and developing new ventures at startups and Fortune 500s and in academia. He helped to start the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, dubbed MIT’s “career success accelerator,” where he teaches annually. At MIT, he received a B.S. in physics, a B.S. in electrical engineering & computer science, and an M.Eng. in electrical engineering & computer science, focusing on cryptography. At Harvard Business School, Mark helped create a platform used to teach finance at prominent business schools. He also works with many non-profits, including Techie Youth and Plant A Million Corals. He was one of the top-ranked ballroom dancers in the country and now lives in New York City, where 

He is known for his social gatherings, including his annual Halloween party, as well as his diverse cufflink collection.




Where to purchase “The Career Tool Kit: Essential For Success That No One Taught You” 


       Key Topics in this podcast:

  • Mark’s career background
  • Importance of Upskilling
  • “Agile” explained 
  • How to develop collaboration skills
  • Advantages of upskilling your team
  • How to engage your team in learning new skills openly
  • Mark’s mobile app built for his book and future plans  
  • Agile techniques: application for better collaboration


  • Mark is not an average software engineer–he knows how important it is to keep up with new skills and knowledge, which makes him a great leader.
  • Miscommunication leads to a breakdown of successful teamwork, and this can only be solved by collaboration.
  • Developing “soft” knowledge and skills are important to help drive company success, especially for leadership roles.
  • The higher education system must focus on teaching leadership, teaching how to learn, and teaching real management skills to prepare students for the workplace.
  • Collaboration is a valuable tool that can be used to help teams succeed. It’s easy and quick for anyone, even those without any previous experience in this field of work or leadership roles
  • Mark’s book, “The Career Tool Kit: Essential For Success That No One Taught You” is a useful guide for any team or leader looking to achieve success through collaboration. 

Words of wisdom with Mark Herschberg

“That rectangle analogy is recognizing we have long sides and short sides. Yes, keep developing the long sides. That’s your expertise. But don’t ignore those short sides. Because as you develop them, you will become so much more effective. And that can be whether it’s a particular skill that we’ve talked about, like communication or leadership, it could just be known in another area. “