Top Podcasts of 2021
As 2021 comes to a close, we look back at the most popular episodes from Climate Rising, Cold Call, Managing the Future of Work, and Skydeck. Each episode is available below.
10 Dec 2021  


Cold Call distills Harvard Business School’s legendary case studies into podcast form. Hosted by Brian Kenny, the podcast airs every two weeks and features faculty discussing cases they’ve written and the lessons they impart.

For family social workers, coping with the hardships of children and parents is part of the job. But that can cause a lot of stress. Is it possible for financially constrained organizations to improve social workers’ well-being using non-cash rewards, recognition, and other strategies from behavioral science?

Harvard Business School assistant professor Ashley Whillans describes the experience of Chief Executive Michael Sanders at the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care, as he led a research program aimed at improving the morale of social workers in the U.K. The conversation is based on Whillans’ case, “The What Works Centre: Using Behavioral Science to Improve Social Worker Well-being.”

When Kathy Fish became Procter & Gamble’s Chief Research, Development & Innovation Officer in 2014, she was concerned that the world’s leading consumer packaged goods company had lost its capability to produce a steady stream of disruptive innovations. In addition, intensifying competition from direct-to-consumer companies convinced Fish that P&G needed to renew its value proposition to make all aspects of the consumer experience “irresistibly superior.” But making this change would require wholesale transformation from within. Can Fish bring lean innovation to scale at Procter & Gamble?

Harvard Business School assistant professor Emily Truelove discusses the challenges of bringing this established company back to an innovative mindset in her case, “Kathy Fish at Procter & Gamble: Navigating Industry Disruption by Disrupting from Within.”


Skydeck features interviews with alumni from across the world of business, sharing lessons learned and their own life experiences.

Niren Chaudhary (AMP 191, 2016) has spent most of his career in restaurants, working in leadership positions at Yum! Brands and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts before becoming the CEO of Panera Bread in May 2019.

In this episode of Skydeck, he speaks to Ranjay Gulati—his former college classmate and his eventual HBS Executive Education professor—about how Panera has faced the myriad challenges of the pandemic, the leadership values that guide him, and how a deep, personal loss became a pivotal part of his life and career.


Harvard Business School Professors Bill Kerr and Joe Fuller talk to leaders grappling with the forces reshaping the nature of work.

Can social science and big data help organizations have constructive conversations with their employees? People analytics is being put to the test as businesses grapple with the pandemic, remote work, return-to-the-office decisions, diversity and inclusion, and a raft of social and political pressures. Didier Elzinga, founder and CEO of HR analytics platform vendor Culture Amp, discusses employee engagement and wellbeing and the need for data-literate managers.


Business and policy leaders join Harvard Business School faculty to discuss what businesses are doing, can do, and should do to confront climate change.

Many of the innovators we’ve spoken with this season are launching technologies or business models that produce less carbon than status quo approaches – leather made from mushrooms instead of cows, for example, and vehicles that run on electricity instead of fossil fuels. Other guests are finding new ways to finance those new technologies or business models. In this episode, we meet Steve Oldham, the CEO of Carbon Engineering, who is tackling climate change from a different angle – by developing a technology that captures carbon already in the air. The potential benefits of this approach are huge, but the challenges are at this point significant.


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