Faculty Publications

Orly Lobel

Talent Wants to Be Free


Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids, and Free Riding

How can innovators, entrepreneurs, research teams, and every one of us who experiences the occasional spark of creativity can triumph in today’s innovation ecosystems? In every industry and every market, battles to recruit, retain, train, energize, and motivate the best people are fierce. From Facebook to Google, Coca-Cola to Intel, JetBlue to Mattel, the book uncovers specific factors that produce winners or losers in the talent wars. This timely exploration challenges conventional business wisdom about competition, secrecy, motivation, and creativity. Combining original behavioral experiments with deep observations of contemporary battles over ideas, secrets, and skill, the book identifies motivation, relationships, and mobility as the most important ingredients for successful innovation. Yet many companies embrace a control mentality—relying more on patents, copyright, branding, espionage, and aggressive restrictions of their own talent and secrets than on creative energies that are waiting to be unleashed. This exciting reading reveals why everyone wins when talent is set free.


Orly Lobel
Don Weckstein Professor of Labor and Employment Law

  • SJD 2006, Harvard University
  • LLM 2000, Harvard University
  • LLB 1998, Tel Aviv University

Areas of Expertise
Professor Lobel teaches and writes in the areas of employment law, intellectual property law, regulatory and administrative law, torts, behavioral economics, health policy, consumer law and trade secrets. Her current research focuses on innovation policy and intellectual property.

Professional Experience
Lobel clerked on the Israeli Supreme Court. She taught at Yale Law School and served as a fellow at Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Professions, the Kennedy School of Government, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She joined the USD School of Law faculty in 2005.

Contact Information


Phone: (619) 260-2745
Email: lobel@sandiego.edu