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HBR IdeaCast podcast

HBR IdeaCast

A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.

A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.

 

#650

When Pricing Algorithms Hurt Customer Relationships

Marco Bertini, marketing professor at Esade Business School, says more and more companies are turning to pricing algorithms to maximize profits. But many are unaware of a big downside. The constant price shifts can hurt the perception of the brand and its products. He warns that overreliance on artificial intelligence and machine learning without considering human psychology can cause serious damage to the customer relationship. And he outlines steps managers should take, including implementing guardrails, overrides, and better communication tactics. With London Business School professor Oded Koenigsberg, Bertini wrote the HBR article "The Pitfalls of Pricing Algorithms." ... Read more

19 Oct 2021

26 MINS

26:34

19 Oct 2021


#649

Tech’s Exponential Growth – and How to Solve the Problems It’s Created

Technological development is happening faster than ever and changing our lives in fundamental ways. The companies behind all these new gadgets and services are no doubt the greatest corporate success stories of our age. But entrepreneur and investor Azeem Azhar worries that our public institutions haven't kept pace with the industry, which has created an exponential gap between digital haves and have nots. He offers recommendations on how bridge the divide and achieve growth with broader societal benefits. You can hear more from Azeem Azhar on his HBR Presents podcast, Exponential View. ... Read more

12 Oct 2021

24 MINS

24:29

12 Oct 2021


#648

First He Saved Unilever. Now He Wants to Save Capitalism.

Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, led a dazzling career in consumer goods, from Procter & Gamble to Nestlé to the British multinational. His experience fending off a hostile takeover bid taught him that the doctrine of shareholder capitalism is wrong. He believes there’s a better way of doing business, one that embraces all stakeholders — not just stockholders — and improves the environment. He cofounded the consultancy IMAGINE to further sustainable goals, and he shares his advice for the next generation of leaders. With Andrew Winston, Polman wrote the new book “Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More than They Take”. ... Read more

05 Oct 2021

24 MINS

24:41

05 Oct 2021


#647

How to Make Strategic Career Decisions, Even in a Crisis (Back to Work, Better)

When it comes to work, it's easy to focus on the near term: the next meeting, project, promotion. The global pandemic pushed many of us even further into heads-down mode. But Dorie Clark, author of the book The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-term World, wants everyone to step back, take a breath, and start thinking longer term about what you really want to do and how to progress toward those goals. She offers advice on how to ignore social media distractions, balance priorities, cultivate patience, and make the right strategic decisions. Clark also wrote the HBR article "Feeling Stuck or Stymied." ... Read more

28 Sep 2021

28 MINS

28:53

28 Sep 2021


#646

The Innovation System Behind Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine

Noubar Afeyan, cofounder and chair of Moderna Therapeutics and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, says that the breakthrough innovation behind the company’s Covid-19 vaccine came not as a stroke of luck, but from a repeatable process. He outlines a system called “emergent discovery” that involves working back from future ideals, pioneering in novel spaces, encouraging unreasonable ideas, and persistently questioning hypotheses. And he says this process applies to other industries besides life sciences. Afeyan is the coauthor, with HBS professor Gary Pisano, of the HBR article "What Evolution Can Teach Us About Innovation." ... Read more

23 Sep 2021

21 MINS

21:18

23 Sep 2021


#645

Can Big Tech Reform Itself?

Mehran Sahami, a Stanford professor and former Google employee, wants to see a reset from the technology industry. For the past few decades, the world's technologists (many of whom become its corporate executives and venture capitalists) have been taught to prioritize optimization and efficiency without thinking a whole lot about ethics. The result has been stunning corporate success but significant costs to society. Sahami argues that regulation can certainly help right the balance. But he also believes that tech company leaders and employees can shift their mindsets and practices to ensure they're serving the greater good, not just themselves. He's the coauthor, along with Rob Reich and Jeremy Weinstein, of "System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot." ... Read more

14 Sep 2021

26 MINS

26:54

14 Sep 2021


#644

Why Companies Need Returnship Programs (Back to Work, Better)

Carol Fishman Cohen, human resource consultant and CEO of iRelaunch, says that extended career breaks have always been common. Now the pandemic has made them even more widespread. So, companies are increasingly considering formal back-to-work programs and “returnships.” That’s where employers set up special training and support mechanisms to ease people back into work. Cohen speaks about the best practices for organizations and returning workers alike. She's the author of the HBR article "Return-to-Work Programs Come of Age." ... Read more

07 Sep 2021

20 MINS

20:37

07 Sep 2021


#643

How the Pandemic Changed Talent Management (Back to Work, Better)

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., CEO and President of the Society for Human Resource Management, says that this is a reset moment for organizations that want to finally get human resources right. The crisis has taught leaders just how important it is to find and mobilize talent and evaluate and adjust to employee needs. He shares research on several trends set to accelerate, including hybrid and contract work and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and offers guidance to leaders around the world trying to identify what the "new normal" should look like in their organizations.Taylor is the author of the book "Reset: A Leader's Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval." ... Read more

31 Aug 2021

29 MINS

29:25

31 Aug 2021


#642

Best of IdeaCast: Saying No to More Work

When the work keeps piling on, there comes a time when everyone needs to say no. But how do you do so without offending your coworkers or hurting your career? Former host Sarah Green Carmichael, and Karen Dillon, the author of the “HBR Guide to Office Politics,” talk about the best practices on saying no to work when you're overwhelmed. ... Read more

26 Aug 2021

21 MINS

21:46

26 Aug 2021


#641

What We Still Need to Learn about AI in Marketing — and Beyond

Eva Ascarza, professor at Harvard Business School, studies customer analytics and finds that many companies investing in artificial intelligence fail to improve their marketing decisions. Why is AI falling flat when it comes to this key lever for profit? She says the main reasons are that organizations neglect to ask the right questions, weigh the value of being right with the cost of being wrong, and leverage the improving abilities of AI to change how companies make decisions overall. With London Business School’s Bruce G.S. Hardie and Michael Ross, Ascarza wrote the HBR article "Why You Aren’t Getting More from Your Marketing AI." ... Read more

24 Aug 2021

22 MINS

22:33

24 Aug 2021


#640

Rethinking Our Relationship with Work (Back to Work, Better)

Emily Esfahani Smith, author of “The Power of Meaning,” has long studied how people find fulfillment. As the ongoing pandemic causes many of us to rethink how and why we do our jobs, she offers advice on how to find more enjoyment and engagement, avoid burnout, reset ambitions, and, if necessary, change paths. One key is to define - or redefine - your purpose as it relates to work, and Smith explains how to do that wherever you are in your career. ... Read more

17 Aug 2021

26 MINS

26:13

17 Aug 2021


#639

When Entrepreneurs Distort the Truth

Kyle Jensen, associate dean at the Yale School of Management, has seen firsthand just how tempting it is for entrepreneurs to lie. As a startup founder himself, he says they have to be always "on" and ready to promote their venture. Another reason they’re incentivized to exaggerate is that while many startups fail, successes can become billion-dollar enterprises. Finally, Jensen argues, misrepresenting is relatively easy to get away with in a field of unproven potential. He talks through infamous examples of entrepreneurs distorting the truth and how to change startup culture for the better. Jensen is a coauthor of the HBR article "Entrepreneurs and the Truth." ... Read more

10 Aug 2021

23 MINS

23:31

10 Aug 2021


#638

Moving the Needle on DEI

Shelly McNamara, head of equality and inclusion at Procter & Gamble, knows just how valuable it is to work at an inclusive company. Back in 2012, as a VP at P&G, she came out publicly as LGBTQ, and she's since worked tirelessly to ensure that the organization is not only diverse but also a place where all employees feel like they can be their authentic selves. After more than a year of pandemic and political and racial tensions in the U.S. and other parts of the world, these issues have become even more critical for businesses to address, and McNamara points to specific DEI strategies that have proven effective in a variety of corporate environments. McNamara is the author of the book "No Blanks, No Pauses: A Path to Loving Self and Others." ... Read more

03 Aug 2021

25 MINS

25:35

03 Aug 2021


#637

Building Successful Hybrid Teams (Back to Work, Better)

Tsedal Neeley, professor at Harvard Business School, has been studying remote work and global teams for years. In episode 732 early in the pandemic, she shared how managers could lead their teams while many team members worked from home. Now, as more people return to more in-person work, she’s back on the show to help managers lead their teams effectively in a hybrid workplace, a mix of working from home and the office. Neeley is the author of the book "Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere", and the HBR article “15 Questions About Remote Work Answered.” ... Read more

27 Jul 2021

25 MINS

25:35

27 Jul 2021


#636

Lessons in Innovation from Bowie, Beyoncé, and More

Panos Panay, incoming co-president of the Recording Academy, which presents the Grammys, and R. Michael Hendrix, partner at the innovation consultancy IDEO, argue that the music world offers myriad lessons for anyone looking to improve their performance at work. They explain how strategies long used by musicians -- from egoless experimentation to gathering talented teams for creative collaboration -- can be applied directly to business. Panay and Hendrix are the authors of "Two Beats Ahead: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation." ... Read more

20 Jul 2021

25 MINS

25:31

20 Jul 2021


#635

Stop Networking, Start Connecting

Susan McPherson, communications consultant, says many people feel strange reconnecting in person with colleagues after an extended period working in physical isolation. To help shake off the rust, she offers simple tips in a “Gather, Ask, Do” method. It's not just about networking, she says, but about finding simple connection points with others that can truly help you succeed. McPherson is the author of the book "The Lost Art of Connecting." ... Read more

13 Jul 2021

25 MINS

25:50

13 Jul 2021


#634

Best Buy’s Hubert Joly on Walking the Talk of Stakeholder Capitalism

Hubert Joly, former chairman and CEO of Best Buy, says that now is the time for companies to get serious about operating to benefit not just shareholders but also employees, customers and broader society. In the face of environmental crisis, racial turmoil, and rising economic inequality, he argues that leaders shouldn't debate whether or when to embrace this new version of capitalism. They should focus on how to do it. He says this starts with having a clear purpose and ensuring that everyone in the organization connects with it and one another. It also involves offering fair pay and opportunities for advancement and working with, not against, consumers, the community, the competition. He shares how these strategies helped turn Best Buy around despite the rise of Amazon. Joly is the author of the book “The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism” and the HBR article “How to Lead in the Stakeholder Era.” ... Read more

06 Jul 2021

27 MINS

27:20

06 Jul 2021


#633

Hybrid Work Is Here To Stay. Now What? (Back to Work, Better)

Nicholas Bloom, economics professor at Stanford University, has been studying remote work and hybrid (a mix of remote and onsite) work for years. Then the pandemic made these modes widespread and lasting. He says as more organizations turn to hybrid work, they face difficult logistical, strategic, and managerial challenges. Bloom shares a guideline to implementing hybrid work plans, and helps managers think through these arrangements while balancing fairness to employees and organizational needs. Bloom is the author of the HBR article “Don’t Let Employees Pick Their WFH Days.” ... Read more

29 Jun 2021

24 MINS

24:42

29 Jun 2021


#632

The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn: Part 4

Suddenly powerless in Tokyo prison after his arrest, Carlos Ghosn plans an audacious escape and flees Japan while out on bail. Out of reach of Japanese authorities, the once celebrated CEO of Nissan and Renault defends his legacy as he faces new investigations by French and other authorities. This final episode of a special, four-part series features Ghosn himself and examines whether system failures contributed to his downfall. Who gave Carlos Ghosn such extraordinary power? What can we learn from his story? ... Read more

24 Jun 2021

34 MINS

34:18

24 Jun 2021


#631

What Anthropologists Can Teach Us About Work Culture

Greg Urban, anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania, used to study indigenous tribes in Brazil. Now he hangs out in break rooms and boardrooms analyzing how people interact — and create and change culture — in organizations. He shares lessons and tips for managers to better understand and motivate their teams. Urban is the coauthor of the book "The Culture Puzzle: Harnessing the Forces that Drive Your Organization's Success." ... Read more

22 Jun 2021

23 MINS

23:55

22 Jun 2021


#630

The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn: Part 3

A decade into Ghosn’s tenure, Nissan starts missing his goals for growth, profits, and electric vehicle sales. Then a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan and a self-made crisis at Renault in France test Ghosn’s leadership. Who is holding Ghosn accountable? This third episode of a four-part series explores the cracks that appear in Ghosn’s track record. ... Read more

17 Jun 2021

33 MINS

33:58

17 Jun 2021


#629

Former Washington Post Top Editor on Leading Through Change

Martin Baron, former executive editor of the Washington Post, managed the newsroom during a decade of incredible change and shifting views about the media and truth. Baron led his team through a tumultuous time, as they covered everything from the Trump presidency, to the covid pandemic, to the Black Lives Matter movement. Along the way, he learned some important lessons about managing a public-facing company while remaining true to its purpose and mission. He speaks with HBR editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius. ... Read more

15 Jun 2021

25 MINS

25:05

15 Jun 2021


#628

The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn: Part 2

After Carlos Ghosn’s dramatic turnaround at Nissan, profits soar and Ghosnmania sweeps Japan. But signs of trouble emerge as Ghosn takes over as the CEO of both Renault and Nissan in 2005. Then Ghosn’s high pay creates controversy in Japan and France. This second episode of a four-part series explores Ghosn’s leadership style and how it contributes to his eventual downfall. ... Read more

10 Jun 2021

31 MINS

31:47

10 Jun 2021


#627

What Business Leaders Need to Know About China Now

Elsbeth Johnson, senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Rana Mitter, professor of history at Oxford, argue that there's a lot about the Chinese political system and economy that business leaders from elsewhere in the world still misunderstand. They argue that democracy and a free market system aren't always as tightly linked as we think, and that many people in China also live, work, and invest differently than Westerners do. Better understanding these dynamics will be the key to business success in the world's most populous country. Johnson and Mitter are the authors of the HBR article "What the West Gets Wrong About China." ... Read more

08 Jun 2021

26 MINS

26:12

08 Jun 2021


#626

The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn: Part 1

When Japan's most famous CEO is suddenly arrested, conflicts are revealed in the Renault-Nissan Alliance he led for two decades. Then Carlos Ghosn jumps bail by stowing away in a private jet to Lebanon. Ghosn's daring escape raises new questions about his alleged financial misconduct — and the corporate system that kept him in power. ... Read more

03 Jun 2021

31 MINS

31:13

03 Jun 2021


#625

How Leaders Can Encourage Imagination

Martin Reeves, managing director and senior partner at Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute, has looked at how companies reinvent themselves to achieve success. And he has found that an essential ingredient in that process is imagination. It’s something we cultivate in children but rarely practice deliberately in the business world. He explains how to encourage and systematize imagination in your organization. Reeves is the coauthor of the new book The Imagination Machine: How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company's Future. ... Read more

01 Jun 2021

25 MINS

25:45

01 Jun 2021


#624

CEO Series: Ursula Burns on Leading with Authenticity at Xerox

Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox from 2009 to 2016, rose from humble beginnings to become the first Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. In this interview with HBR editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius, she talks candidly about the frequent challenges and occasional advantages of being "the only" and explains why organizations needs to do a better job of promoting both economic and racial equality -- themes that also animate her new memoir, "Where You Are is Not Who You Are". ... Read more

27 May 2021

29 MINS

29:32

27 May 2021


#623

Why Smart People (Sometimes) Make Bad Decisions

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner and emeritus professor at Princeton University, and Olivier Sibony, professor of strategy at HEC, say that bias isn't the only thing that prevents people and organizations from making good choices. We’re also susceptible to something they call "noise" - variability in calls made by otherwise interchangeable professionals and even by the same person at a different time or day. But the solution isn’t necessarily taking humans out of the equation with artificial intelligence. There are ways to combat noise, and leaders should take steps to do so. Kahneman and Sibony are the coauthors, along with Cass Sunstein, of the book "Noise: A Flaw In Human Judgment." ... Read more

25 May 2021

26 MINS

26:59

25 May 2021


#622

CEO Series: 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki on Scientific Breakthroughs and Public Trust

Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, spent a decade in healthcare and biotechnology before launching the DNA testing and analysis company in 2006. Her goal was twofold: to help individuals learn more about their own genetics, enabling them to pursue more personalized medical care, and to create a database of genetic information for commercial and academic researchers to promote broader improvements to the healthcare system. She speaks with HBR's Editor-in-Chief Adi Ignatius about tackling challenges in an emerging industry. ... Read more

20 May 2021

23 MINS

23:55

20 May 2021


#621

Understanding the Venture Capital Gender Gap

Jenny Lefcourt, partner at Freestyle VC and cofounder of All Raise, says that even as a serial entrepreneur herself, she long underestimated how little venture capital funding goes to female startup founders compared to the money men get. She believes unconscious biases, an industry built on intuition, and historical dynamics all contribute to this inequity. They also affect the low numbers of women in decision-making roles at VC firms. Lefcourt explains the ways the industry can actively reduce this gap. ... Read more

18 May 2021

23 MINS

23:14

18 May 2021