Rank #1: IDEO Is Changing the Way Managers Think About Thinking
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 the process and how to adopt it. Harvard Business School professor Ryan Buell explores this process through the example of Cineplanet, the leading movie cinema chain in Peru. The company hired IDEO to help them determine how to better align their operating model with the needs of its customers. Like Buell, this case, entitled “IDEO: Human-Centered Service Design,” may change the way you think about thinking.
Mar 03 2017
Rank #2: How Wayfair Built a Furniture Brand from Scratch
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 of 240 websites selling very different things. Harvard Business School professor Thales Teixeira takes listeners on a journey through the rise of internet sales and search engine marketing, and into the minds of the company’s executives as they built an online furniture giant from scratch. Teixeira is the author of the case entitled “Building an e-Commerce Brand at Wayfair.”
Dec 07 2016
Rank #3: How Chase Sapphire Made Credit Cool for Millennials
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 Business School professor Shelle Santana discusses her case, “Chase Sapphire: Creating a Millennial Cult Brand” — how protagonists Pam Codispoti and Eileen Serra shifted their focus to retaining customers attracted by the one-time signup bonus of 100,000 reward points and on acquiring new customers now that the bonus had been reduced.
Jun 13 2018
Rank #4: From Don Draper to Big Data: The Revolution in Advertising
Advertising in the digital age bears little resemblance to the “Mad Men” depiction — the Don Drapers of advertising have been replaced by big data and the people who work with it. Harvard Business School professor John Deighton, the author of the case, “WPP: From Mad Men to Math Men (and Women),” and Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and group chief executive of WPP and the protagonist in the case, discuss how WPP has been successful in the new advertising world order where algorithms and robots rule.
Jul 21 2017
Rank #5: Why College Rankings Keep Deans Awake at Night
College represents one of the biggest decisions and investments many consumers will ever make. But can they really trust the rankings available to help them choose? Harvard Business School professor Bill Kirby unpacks the complex world of university rankings, including what “world-class” actually means, what rankings don’t take into account, and how schools are learning to game an imperfect system. Kirby is the author of the case study, “World-class Universities: Rankings and Reputation in Higher Education.”
Oct 04 2016
Rank #6: Netflix Wins Big by Betting on “House of Cards”
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 Business School professor Anita Elberse discusses her case entitled “MRC’s House of Cards” — how the Emmy award-winning show flipped the script on standard television series production, brought binge-watching into the mainstream, and ushered in a whole new era of must-see programming.
Oct 04 2016
Rank #7: Making the Case for a New Kind of Classroom
There are no grade levels, no official start times, and teachers get stock options. Is AltSchool the school of the future? Harvard Business School professor John Kim discusses his case entitled “AltSchool: School Reimagined.”
Sep 19 2016
Rank #8: The Transformation of Microsoft
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 to serve customers in ways that would be associated with higher growth but lower margin. Harvard Business School professor Fritz Foley discusses his case entitled “The Transformation of Microsoft” — how leaders faced these difficult decisions, and worked to get investors and employees on board.
Jul 10 2018
Rank #9: Bringing “Moneyball” to the NBA
Are people better off as a result of your presence? Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei discusses her case “Discovering Hidden Gems: The Story of Daryl Morey, Shane Battier, and the Houston Rockets” — leadership lessons from basketball, the ultimate team sport.
Sep 19 2016
Rank #10: Goldman Sachs’ $500 Million Bet on Small Businesses
Launched in the midst of the financial crisis in 2009, Goldman Sachs’ “10,000 Small Businesses” program provided free business education, a network of support, and access to capital for small businesses across the United States. The company committed $500 million to fund the program and nine years later had graduated 7,300 participants, just shy of its goal. Harvard Business School professor Len Schlesinger discusses the success, impact, and future of the program in his case, “Goldman Sachs: The 10,000 Small Businesses Program.”
Oct 15 2019
Rank #11: Why JPMorgan Chase is Investing Millions in Detroit
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 struggling city. Harvard Business School professor Joseph Bower and JPMorgan’s head of corporate responsibility, Peter Scher, discuss why businesses should create philanthropic programs of their own. Bower is the author of the case study, “JPMorgan Chase: Invested in Detroit.”
Apr 25 2018
Rank #12: If the Key to Business Success Is Focus, Why Does Amazon Work?
Harvard Business School professor Sunil Gupta explores the infiltration of Amazon into dozens of industries including web services, grocery, online video streaming, content creation and, oh, did we mention physical bookstores? What’s the big plan? Is the company spread too thin, or poised for astronomical success? Learn more about this discussion in his case, “Amazon 2019.”
May 21 2019
Rank #13: The American Food Paradox: Growing Obese and Going Hungry
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 the food made and purchased each year is thrown away, and in which food needs are expected to more than double over the next few decades. Harvard Business School professor Jose Alvarez discusses his case entitled “Doug Rauch: Solving the American Food Paradox” — how the former president of Trader Joe’s is boiling these difficult problems down into one elegant solution in a pilot store in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and blazing a trail toward sustainability in the process.
Jan 03 2017
Rank #14: Walmart: Changing the World for Better or Worse?
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, particularly in terms of sustainability, the company often faces criticism for its business practices. Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson discusses what she calls the paradigmatic case: how Walmart takes huge risks, makes great strides, and demonstrates how companies are one of the few instruments humanity has for changing the world at scale, for better or for worse. Henderson is the author of the case study, “Greening Wal-Mart: Progress and Controversy.”
Oct 04 2016
Rank #15: Digital Change: Lessons from the Newspaper Industry
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 where many others have failed. Through the lens of his new book, The Content Trap, Harvard Business School professor Bharat Anand discusses his case entitled, “Schibsted,” regarding Schibsted’s resounding success, how bringing users together drives revenue, and the importance of media companies adopting a “digital-first” approach.
Nov 18 2016
Rank #16: Innovation Under Constraint: Constructing a Turnaround at Lego
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 and most powerful brands in the process. But the company known for great directions lost its own in the 1990s and has stood on the brink of bankruptcy a few times since. Harvard Business School professor Jan Rivkin takes listeners behind the brick and into the minds of Lego’s leadership as they tackle digital disruption, how to innovate while remaining true to their core product and mission, and engineer an impressive 2004 turnaround that positions the company for huge future success. Rivkin is the author of the case study entitled “Lego: The Crisis.”
Oct 04 2016
Rank #17: For the Hotel Business, it’s TripAdvisor or Bust
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 repository of user-generated reviews, was the most-visited travel website in the world in 2013. Harvard Business School professor Thales Teixeira discusses his case study, “Managing Online Reviews at TripAdvisor,” regarding TripAdvisor’s staggering success, how the company has forced an entire industry to change the way it considers (and purposefully influences) the online review process, and how consumers navigate that sea of reviews.
Sep 19 2016
Rank #18: The Crash and the Fix of HealthCare.gov
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 complete and utter failure. Harvard Business School professor Len Schlesinger delves into the enormous challenges involved with building, launching, and fixing HealthCare.gov, and how those administrative trials and triumphs are instructive for any managerial setting. Schlesinger is the author of the case entitled “HealthCare.gov: The Crash and the Fix.”
Nov 01 2016
Rank #19: Leading Your Team to the Top of Mt. Everest
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 in, “Everest: A Leadership and Team Simulation.” Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson talks about the choice to use Mt. Everest as the backdrop for this academic exercise, designing the simulation, and what students learn about teamwork along their way “up the mountain.”
May 02 2017
Rank #20: Target’s Expensive Cybersecurity Mistake
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 the busy holiday season of 2013, when 110 million customers’ information was compromised. Harvard Business School professor Suraj Srinivasan discusses his case entitled “Cyber Breach at Target,” which explores one of the largest cyber breaches in history, analyzing why failures happen, who should be held accountable, and how preventing them is both a technical problem and a matter of organizational design.
Dec 20 2016