Cold Call

Cold Call

HBR Presents / Brian Kenny
Business>Management
152 episodes
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.
  • After years of success in providing quality furniture at affordable prices, Swedish furniture maker IKEA is challenged by the rise of online shopping and changing consumer behavior, plus the arrival of a new leader. The company's top executives know they must step out of their comfort zones and embr...
    Play22m 44s
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs marked a dramatic shift for the 150-year-old financial institution, which historically had served only businesses and the wealthiest people. The fintech startup operated within Goldman Sachs, offering unsecured personal loans for the mass market, high-yield deposits, and a cr...
    Play24m 58s
  • Georgia State University was facing a growing "summer melt" problem, where nearly 20 percent of incoming students never actually enrolled. The university used a data-based approach to retain students of all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds and help them graduate. Harvard Business School...
    Play26m 38s
  • After decades of brain drain in rural America, Tulsa Remote is working to attract a diverse group of remote workers to live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Harvard Business School professor Prithwiraj “Raj” Choudhury discusses how the program gives workers the flexibility to move out of congested cities and exp...
    Play24m 47s
  • How did the evolution of Boeing’s organization and management lead to two tragic plane crashes within six months, in which a total of 346 people died? Harvard Business School professor Bill George discusses the long roots that ultimately led to the crash of Lion Air flight 610 in October 2018 in Ind...
    Play19m 58s
  • Rubicon began with a bold idea: create a cloud-based, full-service waste management platform providing efficient service anywhere in the U.S. Their mobile app did for waste management what Uber had done for taxi service. Five years after the case’s publication, Harvard Business School associate prof...
    Play31m 0s
  • Guild Education is an education marketplace that connects employers and universities to provide employees with “education as a benefit.” The Denver-based company is transforming traditional tuition-assistance programs by facilitating direct payment by the employer to the academic institution and by...
    Play28m 17s
  • In 2000, Rohit Gera turned his family’s boutique real estate development firm in Pune, India, into a dynamic innovator in housing solutions for urban Indian families. Today Gera Developments stands at a crossroads, with Gera planning the end of his managerial career. How should the family think abou...
    Play27m 8s
  • Survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre and their descendants believe historic social injustices should be addressed through reparations. Harvard Business School professor Mihir Desai discusses the arguments for and against reparations in response to the Tulsa Massacre and, more broadly, to the effects...
    Play25m 32s
  • The late 20th century saw dramatic growth in incarceration rates in the United States. Of the more than 2.3 million people in U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers in 2020, 60 percent were Black or Latinx. Harvard Business School assistant professor Reshmaan Hussam probes the assumptions underl...
    Play26m 39s
  • As the first Black female factory manager to lead a John Deere plant, Rosalind Fox must figure out how to build relationships with her staff, who are mostly white men. Harvard Business School senior lecturer Tony Mayo discusses the pressure on Fox to assimilate into the dominant culture, her decisio...
    Play26m 49s
  • As a Black female CEO, Shellye Archambeau is no stranger to adversity. Now she faces her most critical leadership decision. The software company she leads, MetricStream, is losing customers, hemorrhaging cash, and struggling to make payroll. Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley discusses...
    Play29m 41s
  • Bill Riddick, an African-American community leader and counselor, must find a way to bridge the divide between Black and white community leaders, who are on opposing sides of school integration in Durham, North Carolina, in 1971. Harvard Business School professors Francesca Gino and Jeffrey Huizinga...
    Play27m 8s
  • Melvin Carter, the mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, swept into office in 2018, promising to improve equity. In his campaign, he had spoken from experience about what it felt like to be pulled over by police as a Black man. He wanted to create a new public safety framework that would be rooted in comm...
    Play23m 15s
  • 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 to use non-cash rewards and recognition to improve social workers’ well-being? Ashley Whillans describes the experience of Chief Executive Michael Sande...
    Play25m 57s
  • Unilever’s Dove soap became a brand with purpose when it launched the “Campaign for Real Beauty” to combat media-driven stereotypes of female beauty. But now Dove is facing criticism about its other brands that contradict the Dove campaign, and struggling to determine the best allocation of funds be...
    Play23m 47s
  • As the transportation landscape evolves, can Uber adapt its business model to be successful in unique regional markets around the world? Alexander MacKay describes Uber’s global market strategy and responses by regulators and local competitors.
    Play28m 17s
  • From Weight Watchers to bariatric surgery, innovations for combatting obesity abound. But which will do the most good for society and yield the best business results? Harvard Business School professor Regina Herzlinger discusses how to evaluate health care innovations aimed at providing solutions fo...
    Play30m 34s
  • Entrepreneur Christy Jones is trying to create a new venture to help women preserve their eggs and postpone motherhood. But what would an egg-freezing service sell – and to whom?
    Play25m 35s
  • Nehemiah Manufacturing turned a social mission to hire convicted felons into a competitive advantage, with decreased turnover and higher staff loyalty. Harvard Business School professor Michael Chu discusses the challenges and opportunities of combining profit with social impact in his case, “Nehemi...
    Play23m 12s
  • Making voting more accessible through technology could allow more people to take part in elections. But it also poses critical downsides, if the product fails or there are security failures. Harvard Business School professor Mitchell Weiss debates the risks, rewards, and business models for mobile v...
    Play21m 40s
  • As we celebrate the five-year anniversary of Cold Call, we welcome a special guest, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria to discuss the classic case, “Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley.” The case poses a complex dilemma: should Morgan Stanley promote a high performer who lacks interpersonal skills a...
    Play24m 24s
  • Simón Cohen, founder of Henco Logistics, transformed a small Mexican logistics company into a major player within the industry. Cohen credits the firm’s focus on employee happiness as the key ingredient to its success -- an approach he developed following a personal crisis. But can that approach end...
    Play28m 46s
  • C16 Biosciences wants to replace palm oil, a major contributor to deforestation and climate change, with a lab-grown substitute. Should the synthetic biology startup start small in the personal care market or dive into booming lab-grown food market?
    Play21m 41s
  • Singapore officials added a nationwide, Bluetooth-based contact tracing program called TraceTogether to their suite of Covid-19-fighting strategies, which already included human-led tracing. The new digital program’s success would rely on mitigating privacy issues. Would Singaporeans adopt TraceToge...
    Play12m 12s
  • The digital-first, direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier considers marketing strategies that move away from organic community support and toward influencer marketing and paid media. Harvard Business School professor Jill Avery discusses the debate in her case, “Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand...
    Play27m 9s
  • After a highly publicized act of racial discrimination by a Starbucks employee against two African American men in one of its stores in 2018, the company closed its 8,000 U.S. coffee shops for a day of unconscious bias training. The company also revised store policies and employee training practices...
    Play28m 43s
  • Harvard Business School professor Len Schlesinger and RSE Ventures Co-founder Matt Higgins discuss why direct-to-consumer channel businesses, like teledentistry company SmileDirectClub, must implement a strategy that moves them beyond DTC in order to thrive – and how to make that change. This episod...
    Play30m 3s
  • By 2016, the Big Apple Circus had weathered many storms in its 38 seasons as one of the most well-known New York City nonprofits. But with ticket sales and charitable giving in steep decline, the future for this beloved circus and its Clown Care program is uncertain. Harvard Business School professo...
    Play18m 16s
  • How should the vaccine alliance, Gavi, respond to the worldwide need for a vaccine for the Covid-19 pandemic? Harvard Business School professor Tarun Khanna discusses how experimentation, judicious risk taking, and entrepreneurship in finance and capital markets could enable the way forward and unlo...
    Play23m 51s
  • After 50 years at the helm of Cummings Properties, billionaire and philanthropist Bill Cummings is winding down his roles at both the family business and foundation that he built. How should the management team move the company forward? Harvard Business School professor Christina Wing and protagonis...
    Play30m 10s
  • The rise of autonomous vehicles has enormous implications for business and society. Harvard Business School professors Bill Kerr and Elie Ofek explore the factors influencing development and commercialization, as well as future success and consumer adoption in their cases: “Autonomous Vehicles: The...
    Play36m 16s
  • Healthy buildings and superior air quality are increasingly important as people spend 90% of their lives indoors. Harvard professors John Macomber and Joseph Allen discuss their case, “A Tower for the People: 425 Park Avenue,” their new book, “Healthy Buildings,” and how their learnings extend to a...
    Play31m 54s
  • In the ever-changing video games industry, Epic Games, the maker of the incredibly popular Fortnite multi-player game, considers whether it could become a PC-games distribution platform. Harvard Business School’s Andy Wu discusses his case, “Epic Games.”
    Play18m 11s
  • In this special episode of Cold Call, Brian Kenny speaks with Harvard Business School professor Srikant Datar about how Harvard Business School brought 1,800 MBA students and 200 faculty online in under two weeks amid the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the challenges of scaling under pressure to ma...
    Play23m 21s
  • Two siblings, Thomas and Sally Campbell, are faced with selling their childhood home. They need to make several difficult decisions, all the while navigating their contentious relationship. Harvard Business School professor Leslie John discusses the importance of asking (and answering) the right que...
    Play25m 52s
  • Against the backdrop of his case, “Huawei: A Global Tech Giant in the Crossfire of a Digital Cold War,” Harvard Business School professor Bill Kirby discusses Huawei’s entrepreneurial start, where the tech giant is headed in the future, U.S.-China relations, and the Chinese government’s response to...
    Play27m 40s
  • 2U, an online program management provider, believed it was the strongest partner to enable the digital transformation of universities by allowing them to offer a variety of courses to a new student profile. Harvard Business School professors Karim Lakhani and Marco Iansiti discuss the case, “2U: Hig...
    Play31m 20s
  • Following a successful career in finance, Torsten Thiele has devoted himself full-time to the challenging cause of ocean conservation and stewardship. Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Thiele discuss how changing the narrative is imperative when looking for ways to solve big...
    Play26m 59s
  • Harvard Business School professor Laura Huang, whose new book “Edge” explores methods for turning adversity into professional advantage, is joined by Venture Capitalist Arlan Hamilton to discuss her strategy of backing entrepreneurs who have been ignored because of stereotypes, biases, and preconcep...
    Play30m 39s
  • Not many Chinese companies open manufacturing facilities in the U.S., but automotive glass maker Fuyao is considering just that. Harvard Business School professor Willy Shih examines factors that go into deciding where companies should locate production facilities in his case, “Fuyao Glass America:...
    Play24m 21s
  • Harvard Business School professors Ethan Rouen and Charlie Wang explore whether capitalism is broken and if JUST Capital's performance evaluation rubric and strategies for exerting influence are likely to be effective in improving corporate behavior. Their case is titled, “Measuring Impact at JUST C...
    Play28m 44s
  • Mexican convenience store chain OXXO dominated its market -- until its chief rival doubled in size almost overnight. Harvard Business School professor Tatiana Sandino discusses how CEO Eduardo Padilla responded by creating an agile organization based on a team culture and strong management systems.
    Play30m 58s
  • Should large institutional investors divest or engage if they have an issue with a company? Harvard Business School professor Vikram Gandhi discusses why and how CalSTRS, the $200 billion pension plan for California public school teachers, chooses to engage with gun makers and retailers in Californi...
    Play27m 47s
  • Harvard Business School professor Geoff Jones discusses his case, “Thomas J. Watson, IBM and Nazi Germany,” which explores the options and responsibilities of multinationals with investments in politically reprehensible regimes.
    Play22m 33s
  • In 2014, Neel Ghose (MBA 2019) created the Robin Hood Army, an entirely volunteer-based organization working to get surplus food to hungry people. Just four years later, they had served more than 9 million people in 103 cities around the world, all while maintaining their “golden rule” of being zero...
    Play34m 43s
  • Launched in the midst of the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs' “10,000 Small Businesses” program provided business education 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 participant...
    Play21m 36s
  • Harvard Business School professors John Deighton and Jeffrey Rayport discuss how two former public radio producers launch the Gimlet Media podcast network, entering the last frontier of digital media. How can they turn a content supplier into a disruptive platform?
    Play26m 24s
  • Children’s Hospital & Clinics COO Julie Morath sets out to change the culture there by instituting a policy of blameless reporting, which encourages employees to report anything that goes wrong or seems substandard without fear of reprisal for the act of reporting. Harvard Business School professor...
    Play22m 5s
  • Harvard Business School professor Stefan Thomke discusses how past experience and intuition can be misleading when attempting to launch an innovative new product, service, business model, or process. Instead, Booking.com and other innovative firms embrace a culture where testing, experimentation, an...
    Play25m 51s
  • Harvard Business School professors Rebecca Henderson and George Serafeim discuss the impact investing efforts of Hiro Mizuno, CIO of GPIF, Japan’s government pension fund. He says that improving corporate governance, increasing inclusion and gender diversity, and addressing climate change would expa...
    Play29m 31s