Digitisation is a massive and massively important trend – one accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. But despite fervent preaching from the Silicon Valley faithful, it’s not the only kind of competency that matters. Silicon Valley veteran and Stanford lecturer Robert E. Siegel argues that amid the incessant drumbeat of digital transformation, too many leaders overlook and under-appreciate the traditional competencies of physical incumbents – things like logistics, manufacturing, customer service, and quality control. The rigid dichotomy between digital and physical is not only over-done, but dangerous to companies trying to succeed. Siegel bridges the gulf in his new book THE BRAINS AND BRAWN COMPANY: How Leading Organisations Blend the Best of Digital and Physical. In this interview, I speak to Robert E. Siegel about how companies that bridge the digital (brain) and physical (brawn) domains will develop huge competitive advantages. We discuss his ten-point framework for the digital and physical realms and look practically at how to put the framework into action by becoming a systems leader, skilled at blending the best of digital and physical, recognising emerging patterns, and making key decisions in a rapidly changing landscape.

Thought Economics

In Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement, Nobel Prize Winner, Daniel Kahneman together with co-authors Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein show how noise helps produce errors in many fields, including medicine, law, public health, economic forecasting, food safety, forensic science, bail verdicts, child protection, strategy, performance reviews and personnel selection. And although noise can be found wherever people make judgments and decisions, individuals and organizations alike commonly ignore to its role in their judgments and in their actions. They show “noise neglect.” With a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias, and so make far better decisions. In these interviews, I speak to Daniel Kahneman (winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and the National Medal of Freedom in 2013) and Cass R. Sunstein (Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard, where he is founder and director of the Program on Behavioural Economics and Public Policy). We talk about how noise impacts our decision making, how judgements are made, and why we need think about making decisions, much like washing our hands.

Thought Economics

In his book Shoemaker, Joe Foster tells the powerful tale of triumph against all the odds, revealing the challenges and sacrifices that go into creating a world-beating brand; it is also the story of how a small local business can transform itself, with the right products and the right vision, into something much, much bigger. In this interview, I spoke to Joe Foster about the remarkable story of how he turned a small factory in Bolton into one of the world’s most famous sports brands, Reebok.

Thought Economics

In this interview, I speak to Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. Dr. Goleman is an internationally known psychologist who lectures frequently to professional groups, business audiences, and on college campuses. Working as a science journalist, Goleman reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times for many years. His 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books) was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year-and-a-half; it is available around the world in 40 languages, and has been a best seller in many countries. I speak to Daniel Goleman about the purpose of emotions, the importance of emotional intelligence and why leaders need to understand emotions & emotional intelligence.

Thought Economics

It is in Bertrand Piccard’s DNA to go beyond the obvious and achieve the impossible. From a legendary lineage of explorers who conquered the stratosphere and the abysses, he made history by accomplishing two aeronautical firsts, around the world non-stop in a balloon, and more recently in a solar plane without fuel. Pioneer in his way to consider ecology through the lens of profitability, he began working in the early 2000s to promote renewable energies and clean technologies. Solar Impulse was born to carry this message around the world. His dual identity as a psychiatrist and explorer makes him an influential voice heard by the largest institutions which today consider him as a forward-thinking leader on the themes of innovation and sustainability. Founder and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, he has succeeded with his team to identify 1000 efficient solutions to protect the environment in a profitable way. In a third round-the-world tour, he will bring them to decision-makers in order to help them meet their environmental targets while ensuring clean economic growth. In this exclusive interview I spoke to Bertrand Piccard about his journey as an explorer, and how he’s bringing together the worlds of ecology, technology and the economy to solve the most pressing challenge of our time – climate change – and to ensure the quality of life on Earth.

Thought Economics

Whether it’s CEOs, political leaders and business elites – across the world, key decisions are still made by tiny coteries of people. With enough talent, elan and hard work any of us can join them. So, we are told… Follow key rules: Be transparent. Defer to bosses and clients. Take responsibility. Feedback is everything. Do these things brilliantly and the top job can be yours. But can it? Douglas Board’s new book Elites breaks radical new ground. It shows why, paradoxically, meritocracies create glass ceilings. We end up with a society-wide misallocation of respect in favour of a few at the top, which hurts us all. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Douglas Board about the reality of ‘elite status’ in our society, and why we need a more humane world in which organisations and individuals hold in better balance the ordinariness of society’s extraordinary achievers, and the extraordinariness of ‘ordinary’ men and women.

Thought Economics

In her new book THE LONELY CENTURY: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That’s Pulling Apart, renowned thinker and economist Noreena Hertz investigates how radical changes to the workplace, mass migration to cities, technology’s ever greater dominance of our lives, and decades of neoliberal policies that placed self-interest above the collective good have coalesced to  create a society in which loneliness, atomisation and isolation prevail – which COVID has only amplified. Hertz provides an empowering and inspiring vision for how to mitigate this, reconnect with each other and come together again. Hertz combines a decade of research with first-hand reporting that takes her from ‘renting a friend’ in New York to family-friendly Belgian far-right festivals, from elderly women knitting bonnets for their robot caregivers in Japan to Ivy League colleges running ‘How to Read a Face in Real Life’ remedial classes. What she uncovers is a global population feeling more and more alienated and isolated. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Noreena Hertz about the causes of our loneliness epidemic, the consequences for each and every one of us, and what we can do to restore human connection in a world that’s pulling us apart.

Thought Economics

A real life ‘Samantha’ from Sex and the City, Melanie Blake’s own incredible life story reads like the plot of an outrageous novel itself. From a working-class background, Blake pulled herself out of a life of poverty and homelessness as a teen by working as an extra on various film and TV sets. After declaring bankruptcy in her 20s, now 44, Blake has re-invented herself to become one of the UK’s most successful businesswomen. She is a self-made multimillionaire, property entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She went from being a TV extra to becoming one of the most powerful celebrity agents in the UK and an award-winning businesswoman. Alongside Jaqueline Gold CBE, the CEO of Ann Summers, Melanie Blake is also one of the UK’s most vocal champions of women in business. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Melanie Blake about her life as a media entrepreneur, the challenges faced by women in the media & entertainment industry and why she’s chronicled her experiences in her bestselling novel, Ruthless Women.

Thought Economics

Free market capitalism is one of humanity’s greatest inventions and the greatest source of prosperity the world has ever seen. But this success has been costly. Capitalism is on the verge of destroying the planet and destabilising society as wealth rushes to the top. The time for action is running short. Rebecca Henderson is an economist, and one of the world’s most influential thinkers in economics, psychology, and organisational behaviour. She is the John & Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard and for more than thirty years, has worked with some of the world’s largest organisations around purpose-driven capitalism and the role that business leaders at every level can play in reimagining our current system. In her seminal book, Reimagining Capitalism, she debunks the worldview that the only purpose of business is to make money and maximise shareholder value. She shows that we have failed to reimagine capitalism so that it is not only an engine of prosperity but also a system that is in harmony with environmental realities, striving for social justice, and the demands of truly democratic institutions. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Rebecca Henderson on whether our system of capitalism is broken and what can be done to re-imagine it for a better future.

Thought Economics

Over 3,500 businesses around the world, including household names such as Danone, Innocent and Patagonia, have taken the journey to become Certified B Corporations- committing to the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. Andrew Kassoy is the cofounder and CEO of B Lab Global, the not-for-profit behind the B Corp movement. In this exclusive I spoke to Andrew about the role of business in society, the story of the B Corp movement and how businesses can balance profit with purpose.

Thought Economics

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