Cold Call

94 EpisodesProduced by HBR Presents / Brian Kenny

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 Harvard Business School faculty discussing cases they've written and the lessons they impart.

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Managers: Are You Prepared to Handle Religion in the Workplace?

May 7th, 2019

16:50

Challenges related to managing religion in the workplace are on the rise, as are religious discrimination claims and monetary settlements, in the …

Would You Live in a Smart City Where Government Controls Privacy?

April 16th, 2019

24:08

Toronto is experimenting with smart city concepts envisioned by Google spin-off Sidewalk Labs. Harvard Business School professors Leslie John and

Can Mark Zuckerberg Rebuild Trust in Facebook?

April 3rd, 2019

19:32

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced a “crucible moment,” a point in his life that would test him and potentially shape him as a leader, in March 2018 …

Will Startup Fishbowl Become the Social Media App for Your Industry?

March 22nd, 2019

19:51

Fishbowl’s founders have built a social media platform allowing professionals to connect anonymously and with candor within their companies and …

How Helena Rubinstein Used Tall Tales to Turn Cosmetics into a Luxury Brand

March 12th, 2019

24:09

Harvard Business School professor Geoff Jones discusses his case entitled “Helena Rubinstein, Making Up the Modern Woman,” which examines the career …

Pursuing Precision Medicine at Intermountain Healthcare

February 26th, 2019

26:04

What happens when Intermountain Healthcare invests resources in an innovative precision medicine unit to provide life-extending, genetically targeted …

The Delicious History of Hershey Chocolate

February 13th, 2019

25:56

Have you ever wondered how Hershey chocolate came to be so popular? Harvard Business School professor Nancy Koehn discusses her case entitled “Candy …

How Wegmans Became a Leader in Improving Food Safety

January 29th, 2019

16:43

Harvard Business School professor Ray Goldberg discusses his case study, “Wegmans and Listeria: Developing a Proactive Food Safety System for …

Can Miguel McKelvey Build the “Culture Operating System” at WeWork?

January 9th, 2019

26:11

How deeply does the culture of a startup matter? Can it be shaped? Harvard Business School professor Jeffrey Rayport discusses his case “WeWork” …

Using Fintech to Disrupt Eastern Bank from Within

December 18th, 2018

18:22

Was Eastern Labs a huge success or an expensive mistake? Eastern Bank CEO Bob Rivers innovates from within by partnering with fintech entrepreneur Dan O’Malley to launch a completely automated small business lending …

Honda Created a Civic for Very Light Jets: How High Will it Fly?

December 5th, 2018

21:56

After thirty years of research and development, the HondaJet is now the top selling jet in the very light jet segment of the market. Harvard Business …

Building a Nonprofit Marketplace System to Feed America

November 19th, 2018

25:03

Feeding America is the third largest nonprofit in America, managing a network of more than 200 food banks nationwide. Harvard Business School …

Could Big Data Replace the Creative Director at the Gap?

November 7th, 2018

18:32

Is it time to throw out the creative director and rely on big data to predict what consumers want to wear next? Harvard Business School professor

Vodafone’s Innovative Approach to Advanced Technologies

October 24th, 2018

23:21

Harvard Business School professor Bill Kerr discusses how Vodafone, one of the largest companies in the telecommunications space, incorporated …

Baseball’s Billy Beane Shows Companies the Power of Data

October 10th, 2018

16:45

Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane brought a data driven and unconventional approach to winning baseball games. By setting strategy and …

Did Entrepreneur Ernesto Tornquist Help or Hurt Argentina?

September 19th, 2018

22:55

Harvard Business School professor Geoffrey Jones examines the career of Ernesto Tornquist, a cosmopolitan financier considered to be the most …

Should U.S. Companies Still Care About the Paris Climate Change Agreement?

September 5th, 2018

18:39

American President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change just over a year ago. What does that mean for the role of …

Two Million Fake Accounts: Sales Misconduct at Wells Fargo

August 17th, 2018

24:16

Coming out of the financial crisis, Wells Fargo was one of the world’s largest and most successful banks, viewed as a role model in how to manage in …

The Transformation of Microsoft

July 10th, 2018

18:05

In early 2015, Amy Hood, CFO of Microsoft, and the rest of the senior leadership team faced a set of fundamental choices. The firm had opportunities …

LA Philharmonic Shows the American Symphony Orchestra Isn’t Dead Yet

June 27th, 2018

22:27

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra faced real challenges, as all U.S. orchestras did: an aging subscriber base, disinterest from younger audiences, and development of a pipeline of donors for the future. Harvard …

How Chase Sapphire Made Credit Cool for Millennials

June 13th, 2018

19:15

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card was one of the hottest product launches in 2016 enthusiastically received by millennial consumers, a group that had previously eluded JPMorgan Chase and its competitors. Harvard …

Careem: Riding the First Unicorn in the Middle East

May 29th, 2018

18:19

Ride-hailing service Careem, the “Uber of the Middle East,” experienced expansion so dramatic that it monitored its growth target every 15 minutes. Was this a fabled startup unicorn? But doubling the size of the company …

Candy Crush was a Blockbuster; Can King Digital Capitalize?

May 9th, 2018

18:13

Riccardo Zacconi was the co-founder and CEO of King Digital Entertainment, the video game company that had quickly established itself as the world’s leading maker of casual games for mobile devices after the sensational …

Why JPMorgan Chase is Investing Millions in Detroit

April 25th, 2018

16:45

JPMorgan Chase is working with local economic- and workforce-development organizations, small businesses, philanthropies, and the mayor. The goal? To put in place a series of investments to help turn around the …

How a Coal Polluter Became a Renewable Energy Leader

April 3rd, 2018

19:15

Enel, Italy’s state-owned power company, was one of Europe’s largest coal users and polluters. Now it is recognized as a leader in renewable energy …

Trump’s Populism: What Business Leaders Need to Understand

March 21st, 2018

16:47

In the 2016 United States presidential election, candidates from both major political parties used anti-establishment messaging to appeal to …

Could a New Business Model Make Clinical Drug Trials More Accessible to Patients?

March 5th, 2018

21:17

Dr. Brian Alexander at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston was in the process of launching a new type of clinical trial: an adaptive platform …

Black Business Leaders Series: John Rogers and the Importance of Hiring Minority-Owned Services Firms

February 13th, 2018

22:41

The African American CEO of a money management firm publicly criticizes the Fortune 500 for paying lip service to diversity. His board urges him to …

Black Business Leaders Series: Oprah’s Path to Authentic Leadership

January 31st, 2018

12:44

Oprah Winfrey believes in sharing the experiences that led her to become the wealthiest woman in the entertainment industry and the first African …

One Love: Managing a Movement Against Relationship Violence

January 23rd, 2018

14:29

The One Love Foundation is a group dedicated to the prevention of relationship violence through education. Harvard Business School professor Tom …

Leadership Lessons from the Young Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 11th, 2018

13:55

As the Montgomery Bus Boycott starts, the young Martin Luther King, Jr. faces challenges to his leadership goals, strategic vision, and personal and …

How to Monetize Happiness

January 3rd, 2018

14:03

Inspired by research linking happiness and productivity, the Japanese multinational conglomerate Hitachi Ltd, invested in developing “people …

Does Time Pressure Hinder or Facilitate Creativity at Work?

December 4th, 2017

18:54

Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile discusses her case, “Creativity Under the Gun at Litmus Corporation” — how managers can create the …

Language and Globalization: The Mandate to Speak English at Rakuten

November 15th, 2017

17:21

Japan’s largest online retailer Rakuten is rapidly expanding into global markets. In order to ensure the success of the organization, but also to …

Could a Hackathon Help Solve the Heroin Crisis?

October 31st, 2017

14:37

What’s the value of crowdsourcing technological solutions to societal problems? Could a hackathon help solve the heroin crisis in Cincinnati, Ohio? …

Telemundo: The Fastest Growing TV Network in the United States

October 11th, 2017

18:45

With about 54 million Hispanics in the U.S. who have an estimated buying power of 2.3 trillion dollars, it’s no wonder Telemundo is the fastest …

How to Promote Home Delivery of Prescription Drugs? Give Employees a “Nudge”

October 3rd, 2017

18:17

Bob Nease, chief scientist at Express Scripts, wants to promote home delivery of prescription drugs by mail — a process proven to lower error rates, increase cost savings, and improve medication adherence. But, if …

State Street’s SHE: Investing in Women Leaders

September 19th, 2017

14:41

Financial returns are important, but for many companies, using capital to influence positive outcomes is just as important. Enter impact investing and the example of State Street’s SHE, a gender diversity index ETF …

Faber-Castell Doubles Down on the Pencil

September 5th, 2017

15:44

Faber-Castell is a 255-year-old company that makes pencils. How does an established company like this think about innovation, particularly if and …

Does Le Pliage Help or Hurt the Longchamp Luxury Brand?

August 22nd, 2017

18:47

Longchamp’s Le Pliage is one of the fashion world’s most successful products, a cultural icon across the globe. But managing the low priced, nylon …

Pal’s Sudden Service: Taking Fast Food to the Next Level

August 8th, 2017

18:19

Pal’s Sudden Service has developed a unique operating model and organizational culture in the fast food restaurant business. With an emphasis on …

From Don Draper to Big Data: The Revolution in Advertising

July 21st, 2017

23:19

Advertising in the digital age bears little resemblance to the “Mad Men” depiction — the Don Drapers of advertising have been replaced by big data …

ShotSpotter: A Gunfire Detection Business Looks for a New Market

June 19th, 2017

16:32

ShotSpotter provides gunfire detection sensors to cities across the United States. CEO Ralph Clark is interested in taking the company beyond the …

Building India’s First $100 Billion Company

May 30th, 2017

14:03

It’s a common challenge for almost every startup: how much and how fast to grow. But Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of the Indian mobile payments and commerce platform Paytm, knows that he wants to take his company to …

Reversing the Losing Streak on Sesame Street

May 16th, 2017

18:35

When CEO Jeffrey Dunn took over Sesame Street in 2014 and made a licensing arrangement with HBO, many people were skeptical this would take the …

Leading Your Team to the Top of Mt. Everest

May 2nd, 2017

10:57

What does it take to successfully lead a team to the top of the highest peak in the world? First-year students find out as they participate together …

Making Health Insurance Consumers Actually Like

April 18th, 2017

15:36

Health insurance that consumers like? Doesn’t sound possible, but South African company Vitality is doing just that. By focusing on consumer-driven health insurance ideas like paying customers to take care of …

Why German Businesses Support, Train, and Hire Syrian Refugees

April 4th, 2017

16:24

Germany took in a million Syrian refugees in 2015, buoyed by the knowledge that these people could contribute strongly to the country’s economy. But …

Cost-cutting Leads to Turbulence in the Airline Industry

March 21st, 2017

15:38

Is it possible to retain brand value after cutting costs and services dramatically just to stay alive? The airline industry has struggled with this question for decades in the face of economic downturns, changes in …

IDEO Is Changing the Way Managers Think About Thinking

March 3rd, 2017

18:02

IDEO’s human-centered design thinking is a systematic process used to help create new products and services. And, the best part? They are open about …

Black Business Leaders Series: Franklin Leonard, “Black List” Mastermind

February 22nd, 2017

22:34

Using crowdsourcing to develop an annual list of Hollywood’s hottest unproduced screenplays, Harvard graduate Franklin Leonard took the negative term …

Black Business Leaders Series: A Remarkable Legacy of Firsts, Maggie Lena Walker

February 15th, 2017

27:11

Growing up in the heart of the Confederacy, Maggie Lena Walker started work as a laundress at age nine. At the urging of her mother and mentors, she turned to education, and used it to propel her life forward — …

Black Business Leaders Series: Putting Diversity to Work

January 26th, 2017

19:06

In theory, most companies would love to diversify their workforce. In practice, hiring specifically to increase diversity can cause a variety of …

Black Business Leaders Series: The Entrepreneurship Behind Ebony Magazine

January 26th, 2017

17:51

For more than seven decades, Ebony Magazine has chronicled the most important African-American issues, personalities, and interests of its time, including operating essentially as the journal of record for the Civil …

Can Wynton Marsalis and Lincoln Center Save Jazz Music?

January 18th, 2017

15:46

Research says that people imprint on music in their dating years, and carry those tastes with them through the rest of their lives. Lately, this has spelled trouble for jazz music, which is failing to attract new and …

The American Food Paradox: Growing Obese and Going Hungry

January 3rd, 2017

21:23

One third of the U.S. population is obese, even as 50 million Americans often struggle to find enough to eat. And all that in a country where 40% of …

Target’s Expensive Cybersecurity Mistake

December 20th, 2016

23:04

There is a joke in the cybersecurity community that there are two kinds of companies: those that know they’ve been hacked, and those that haven’t found out yet. The Target Corporation learned this the hard way during …

How Wayfair Built a Furniture Brand from Scratch

December 7th, 2016

22:27

Wayfair has been around since the early days of ecommerce. But where it now exists as a single, popular brand, it was once an unaffiliated collection …

Digital Change: Lessons from the Newspaper Industry

November 18th, 2016

22:51

On the internet, content may be king, but connecting users is the key to building an empire. The Norwegian media giant Schibsted learned this lesson the hard way, and then used it to thrive in an online news market …

Building Affordable Health Care in Paradise

November 14th, 2016

14:20

By some accounts, only 5-6% of people around the world get the cardiac treatment they need to survive. The rest perish. This statistic highlights the stark need for affordable, quality health care that can be delivered …

Managing in the Real World: How to Make Gray-Area Decisions

November 3rd, 2016

13:35

An unfortunate but necessary part of a manager’s job is having to let underperforming employees go. Knowing when and how to take that step with the company’s, the employee’s, and your own best interests in mind is a …

The Crash and the Fix of HealthCare.gov

November 1st, 2016

20:04

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare for short, had three goals: make health insurance available, required, and affordable for everyone. There was just one problem — the launch of the HealthCare.gov website was a …

Oktoberfest: Making Money Off of Tradition

October 4th, 2016

15:04

Oktoberfest began as a raucous wedding celebration in Germany more than 200 years ago and has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon. Munich, alone, hosts some 6.4 million guests (who consume almost 8 million liters of …

Innovation Under Constraint: Constructing a Turnaround at Lego

October 4th, 2016

15:15

Lego has been helping children piece together dreams and build their imaginations for decades, and has become one of the world’s most popular toys …

Netflix Wins Big by Betting on “House of Cards”

October 4th, 2016

13:14

Before “House of Cards” was an internationally-renowned and critically acclaimed hit series, it was a total shot in the dark. Luckily for the small film studio behind it, Netflix saw it as a shot worth taking. Harvard …

Behind Apple’s Tax Situation, an Unprecedented Financial Policy

October 4th, 2016

14:18

Most people know Apple as one of the richest and most successful companies in the world, but it wasn’t always that way. In 1997, the company suffered …

What Building a “Jeopardy!” Robot Taught IBM About Innovation

October 4th, 2016

16:20

It’s a good bet that winning a game show isn’t often on the list of top priorities at large companies. So how was it that building a robot to do just …

Why College Rankings Keep Deans Awake at Night

October 4th, 2016

14:12

College represents one of the biggest decisions and investments many consumers will ever make. But can they really trust the rankings available to …

How Modest Investors Can Still Bet Big

October 4th, 2016

12:53

A novel idea: give loyal customers a chance to buy shares in a company they love. That’s the premise behind LOYAL3, which uses the democratizing …

How to Fix a Broken Global Team

October 4th, 2016

13:48

Increasingly, almost every team is a global team in some capacity. This presents a difficult challenge for managers everywhere, and especially for …

Who Makes the Eyes for Driverless Cars?

October 4th, 2016

12:31

Though Google has become the U.S. face of the driverless car movement, other global companies have been developing similar technology for more than a …

Hold Onto Your Complexity: Bringing Multiple Identities to Work

October 4th, 2016

14:24

Carla Ann Harris has blazed trails and excelled at institutions like Harvard and Morgan Stanley. But doing so has required her to strike a careful …

A Better World Through Brewing

October 4th, 2016

8:57

Since brewing is a marketing-driven business, finding ways to differentiate a beverage from its competition is crucial. Heineken’s chief marketing officer took a novel approach: take the complicated processes of …

Who Owns Space?

October 4th, 2016

15:20

Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are tapping into their vast personal wealth to make commercial space travel a reality. In the process, they’re revitalizing a listless national space program. Harvard Business …

The Real Cost of Ignoring Mental Health in the Workplace

October 4th, 2016

12:15

The statistics are startling: about one-third of American workers suffer from chronic work stress; $27 billion worth of work days are lost to mental …

Walmart: Changing the World for Better or Worse?

October 4th, 2016

15:10

Can big companies fix big problems? Are they responsible for doing so? As the third-largest employer in the world, any move Walmart makes reverberates around the globe. Yet despite its many successes and innovations, …

The Key to Keeping Resolutions? Betting Against Yourself

September 19th, 2016

12:21

It’s been a few months since many of us made New Year’s resolutions. Have you stuck with yours? Harvard Business School professor Leslie John studies …

A Map of Economic Renewal Begins in Maine

September 19th, 2016

9:05

Maine has had one of the worst state economies in the country the last few years. But something special is happening there of late that could change …

The Team Sport of Scaling a Business

September 19th, 2016

9:53

For entrepreneurs, size and scale don’t have to come at the cost of agility. Fabricio Bloisi, a 21-year-old Brazilian college graduate, proved that …

For the Hotel Business, it’s TripAdvisor or Bust

September 19th, 2016

13:08

Research says that 85% of people will make a purchase after reading online reviews about a product or service. This has had huge implications for the hotel industry and helps explain why TripAdvisor, a massive …

The Amazing Life of One of America’s Earliest Black Female Entrepreneurs

September 19th, 2016

17:09

Though not everyone may know her name, Madam C.J. Walker helped invent what have become staples of our modern country and economy: national sales forces, corporate social responsibility, and, yes, even basic haircare. …

The Space Shuttle Columbia’s Final Mission

September 19th, 2016

12:40

No organization wants to fail. But even for the best and the brightest, failure is inevitable, and occasionally that failure can be catastrophic. …

The Power of Presence at the Podium

September 19th, 2016

12:24

Running for office requires a lot of public speaking. But often, it’s what candidates aren’t saying that can make or break their campaigns. Take the case of Dan Silver, an experienced congressional candidate who leaves …

A Microchip in Your Medicine

September 19th, 2016

11:35

Digitally-enabled prescription medication may sound futuristic. Thanks to Proteus, the future is now. The company has developed the technology to …

Designing a Great Community

September 19th, 2016

11:32

How do you manage a community, grow it, and sustain it? Threadless has done it since 2007 by crowdsourcing its T-shirt designs and selling the best …

Planning Change: Lessons from the World of Retail

September 19th, 2016

12:03

Ron Johnson’s career path has featured stops at some of the world’s largest and most innovative retailers, including Target, Apple, and J.C. Penney. At each stop, Johnson learned invaluable lessons, like how to build on …

Leadership from Below

September 19th, 2016

11:35

Harvard Business School professor Rohit Deshpande discusses lessons for leaders from the heroic and selfless acts of the Taj Palace staff during the …

A Hard Sell: Bringing Cultured Beef to Market

September 19th, 2016

12:38

In the hundred-plus years since journalist Upton Sinclair shined a light on the deplorable conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry in his groundbreaking exposé, The Jungle, per capita meat consumption for Americans …

The Long Run: The Impact of Brain Injuries on the NFL

September 19th, 2016

11:55

Today’s NFL is fast-paced and hard-hitting. Though players are well-compensated, many wonder about the long-term cost of those violent collisions on …

Bringing “Moneyball” to the NBA

September 19th, 2016

10:26

Are people better off as a result of your presence? Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei discusses her case “Discovering Hidden Gems: The …

Making the Case for a New Kind of Classroom

September 19th, 2016

9:21

There are no grade levels, no official start times, and teachers get stock options. Is AltSchool the school of the future? Harvard Business School …

Dangerous Mines: Saving Lives Through Leadership

September 16th, 2016

12:00

Cynthia Carroll’s breathtaking story about taking decisive action in the face of a complex and dangerous situation. Harvard Business School professor

Cold Calling Stella McCartney

September 16th, 2016

8:40

With her unique leadership style and innovative approach to green fashion, Stella McCartney shows that a luxury brand can be sustainable. Harvard …

Cold Call Introduction

September 16th, 2016

0:24

Host Brian Kenny introduces Cold Call, the official podcast of the Harvard Business School. Cold Call distills the Business School’s legendary case …

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