HBR IdeaCast

by Harvard Business Review (ideacast@hbr.org) · · · · 30 subscribers

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

Jim McKelvey, entrepreneur and cofounder of Square, says that most companies that think of themselves as innovative are really just copycats. True innovation, he argues, is about fearlessly exploring novel solutions and dramatically expanding markets. Doing so also helps startups defend their innovations against industry giants, as Square did against …
In 1958, writer Rachel Carson began her exhaustive research on the effects of widespread pesticide use for her next book, Silent Spring. Over the next four years, she built up an airtight case showing how the world’s most powerful chemical companies were harming animals, plants, and people. Her effort was …
Rebecca Henderson, professor at Harvard Business School, says that both capitalism and democracy are failing us. She argues that it will take public and private leaders working together to simultaneously fix these two systems because free markets don't function well without free politics and healthy government needs corporate support to …
In 1915, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship became trapped in ice, north of Antarctica. For the next two years, he kept his crew of 27 men alive on a drifting ice cap, then led them in their escape. How Shackleton did that has become one of the most famous leadership …
Michelle King, director of inclusion at Netflix, says it’s time to stop telling women to adapt to the male-dominated workplace and time for the workplace itself to change. Her prior academic research shows that diversity training and anti-harassment efforts address important issues but fall short of creating gender equality in …
Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue Airways, has spent a career leading teams, building businesses, and managing people at every level. Along the way, he's learned valuable lessons about the best ways to bring on new talent – as well as when and how to let people go. He also teaches …
Kim Scott, a cofounder of the executive coaching firm Radical Candor, says that too many managers give meaningless positive feedback, while many others are highly critical without showing any understanding. Scott, who previously worked at Google and has consulted for Twitter and Dropbox, says leaders should learn to give honest …
Laura Huang, associate professor at Harvard Business School, has studied groups that face bias in the workplace, from entrepreneurs with accents to women and people of color. She says that the best way for individuals to overcome this type of adversity is to acknowledge and harness it, so it plays …
Stefan Thomke, professor at Harvard Business School, says running experiments can give companies tremendous value, but too often business leaders make decisions based on intuition. While A/B testing on large transaction volumes is common practice at Google, Booking.com, and Netflix, Thomke says even small firms can get a competitive advantage …
Henry Chesbrough, adjunct professor at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business, coined the term "open innovation" over a decade ago. This is the practice of sourcing ideas outside your own organization as well as sharing your own research with others. However, he says that despite a booming …
In this repeat episode, we honor the legacy of HBS professor Clayton Christensen, who passed away on January 23, 2020. The legendary management thinker was best known for his influential theory of “disruptive innovation,” which inspired a generation of executives and entrepreneurs. This HBR IdeaCast interview was originally published in …
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School, believes the world demands a new kind of business leader. She says so-called “advanced leaders” work inside and outside their companies to tackle big issues such as climate change, public health, and social inequality. She gives real-life examples and explains how business …
Joan Williams, professor and the founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, says that it's extremely difficult for organizations to rid their workforces of the unconscious biases that can prevent women and minorities from advancing. But it's not so …
Horst Schulze, cofounder of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, started out cleaning ashtrays as a busboy before working his way up through some of the world's best hotels and becoming COO of Ritz-Carlton and later CEO of Capella Hotel Group. He shares the principles of stellar customer service to which he …
James Clear, entrepreneur and author, says that the way we go about trying to form new habits and break bad ones — at work or home — is all wrong. Many people, he says, focus on big goals without thinking about the small steps they need to take along the …
Nancy McKinstry, CEO of Wolters Kluwer, has successfully shifted her company’s business to digital products over 15 years. The Dutch multinational started in the 1830s as a publishing house and now earns more than 90% of its revenue from digital. McKinstry explains how her firm kept investing in product innovation …
Wayne Baker, professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, has spent much of his career researching the best way to effectively ask for help at work. Whether you're soliciting support on a tricky assignment or more resources for your team, it can feel uncomfortable to …
Dashun Wang, associate professor at Kellogg School of Management, crunched big datasets of entrepreneurs, scientists, and even terrorist organizations to better understand the fine line between failure and success. One surprising finding is that people who experience early failures often become more accomplished than counterparts who achieve early successes. Another …
Thomas Parenty and Jack Domet, cofounders of the cybersecurity firm Archefact Group, say that most organizations are approaching cybersecurity all wrong. Whether they're running small companies or working in multinational corporations, leaders have to think beyond their IT department and technology systems to instead focus on protecting their businesses' most …
Esther Duflo, an MIT economist, won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. Duflo’s early life working at a non-governmental organization in Madagascar and volunteering in soup kitchens in her native France inspired her to study economics and research the root causes …