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Topic: Creativity
Podcast: Episode 86: Must Listen

Build the right flywheel

Teach for All’s Wendy Kopp

Wendy Kopp founded two networks that each became flywheels for change: Teach For America and Teach For All, where she’s now CEO. Yet the two networks are surprisingly different. While they both feed similar goals – helping educators find what they need, share what they learn, build enthusiasm, and motivate talent – the two organizations each brought their own surprising lessons. Kopp’s journey illuminates how listening, adjusting, and open rethinking are key to building a network that thrives.

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The promise and peril of engineering biology

Ginkgo Bioworks’ Reshma Shetty

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine would not have scaled without Ginkgo Bioworks. Reshma Shetty, co-founder and COO of Ginkgo – slated to go public via SPAC acquisition at a reported $15 billion valuation – explains how biotech innovation can build a better future now. The key, Shetty says, is propelling progress but not at the expense of principles. Engineering genes is a high-stakes pursuit, so Ginkgo is trying to pair the ambition of Silicon Valley with a “higher level of care.”

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Why real estate matters more than ever

Compass’ Robert Reffkin

“We may not be able to survive this,” thought Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of real estate platform Compass, in early 2020 when pandemic lockdown rules essentially outlawed U.S. home selling. Yet now, the housing market is booming, and Compass has successfully IPO’ed. Reffkin shares how he kept his team together, why he stayed optimistic, and what businesses lucky enough to have benefited from Covid times owe their communities.

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Podcast: Episode 78: Must Listen

Personal brand power

Bankable Productions & SMiZE Cream’s Tyra Banks

To succeed in business, you need to strut your stuff with a personal brand that supports your career, wherever it may lead. No one represents this better than Tyra Banks. As a model, a producer, and an entrepreneur, Tyra has forged a personal brand that helped her make big pivots, building fame, wealth, and impact. Think of a personal brand as a promise to a solution – bringing everyone, from customers to investors, a clear picture of who you are and what you bring to the table.

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Public-private opportunities

Defense Innovation Unit’s Mike Brown

It’s vital for governments to stay on the leading edge of tech. In the US, that’s Mike Brown’s job, as the director of the Defense Innovation Unit within the U.S. Department of Defense. During the Covid-19 crisis, he’s used that position to introduce cutting-edge projects to advance the health safety of military personnel.

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Crisis lessons from inside the ER

Jefferson University Hospital’s Dr. Bon Ku

Dr. Bon Ku, an ER physician and director of the Health Design Lab at Jefferson University in Philadelphia, takes us inside the practice and mindset that medical professionals — and all of us — require to perform under extraordinary pressure.

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Build government back – better

US Digital Response’s Jen Pahlka

The onset of pandemic exposed deep flaws in many national governments’ plans for crisis response. Jen Pahlka of U.S. Digital Response, a nonpartisan group offering tech help to local governments, shares what she’s seeing now – and what a modern government could do in the future.

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Podcast: Episode 46: Must Listen

Make it epic

Black-Eyed Peas’ will.i.am

What can entrepreneurs learn from a genre-crossing, multi-platinum musician? How to take a big opportunity — and leverage it into something epic. From his earliest days, as a founding member of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am learned from mentors how to not only identify big opportunities, but compound them. From the Super Bowl to the first iTunes commercial; from the founding of Beats and his tech company i.am+ to a song beamed back from Mars — his ability to bring multiple stakeholders together to leverage partnerships and compound possibilities will inspire founders at any stage of scale. Cameo appearance: Jeremy Siegel (urban designer, Bjarke Ingels Group).

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Podcast: Episode 38: Must Listen

Open or closed? The answer is both

Joi Ito

No organization that’s entirely closed – or entirely open – can scale as successfully as an organization that combines both. Yes, organizations that are open invite a bit of chaos – but that chaos breeds innovation. Knowing which aspects of your organization should be open and which should be closed will set you on a path to rapid scale. No one knows this better than Joi Ito. He has spent his career championing radically open systems, from Creative Commons to cyber currency. Now as Director of the famed MIT Media Lab, he’s focused on facilitating open conversations so we can keep pace with the shifting challenges we face in our companies, institutions, and societies. Cameo appearance: Megan Smith (former U.S. Chief Technology Officer).

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Podcast: Episode 37: Must Listen

Take bigger risks

MetricStream & Nordstrom’s Shellye Archambeau

If you try to avoid risk, you actually risk total failure. Or worse: mediocrity. Take it from Shellye Archambeau. She led the most stunning Silicon Valley turnaround you’ve never heard of. She took the role of CEO for a failing tech company, months from bankruptcy. Through a series of calculated risks, she led it through a complex merger, a head-spinning pivot, and grew it into MetricStream, which now boasts 1200 employees and a valuation in the hundreds of millions. How? Clear goals and big risks — the same principles that have defined her career. With a cameo appearance by champion poker player Liv Boeree.

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Podcast: Episode 31: Must Listen

The millennial episode

Brit + Co.’s Brit Morin

You can marshal the power of millennials to grow your company, but you have to redefine your concept of loyalty. To keep millennials as users (and employees), you’ll need to keep evolving — and help them evolve. No one understands this better than Brit + Co founder Brit Morin. As a maker and media creator, Brit is constantly co-evolving with her (mostly millennial) audience—and team. It’s a secret to scale with the generation adapted to a world of constant change.

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Podcast: Episode 26: Must Listen

Keep it simple while scaling big

Instagram’s Kevin Systrom

You can scale big with a simple idea (and a tiny team!) — but only if you catch the prevailing winds. That’s what Kevin Systrom did when he co-founded Instagram: The simple photo app tapped the right trends, built on larger social networks, and dodged the complexities that would have slowed them down. The result? 30M users in 18 months. And a $1B sale of a 13-person company.

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