Work and Life with Stew Friedman

11/30/2021

Ep 221. Alec Ross: The Fight For Our Future

Alec Ross is one of the world’s leading experts on innovation. A former senior advisor in the Obama Administration, his book is called The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People — and the Fight for Our Future. Alec is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at The University of Bologna Business School and a Board Partner at Amplo, a global venture capital firm. During the Obama Administration, Alec served as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State, to help modernize the practice of diplomacy and advance America’s foreign policy interests. He also served as the Convener for the Technology & Media Policy Committee on Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. He’s also the author of the bestselling book The Industries of the Future.In this episode, Stew talks with one of the world’s leading experts on innovation, Alec Ross. A former senior advisor in the Obama Administration, his new book is The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People — and the Fight for Our Future. It’s a brilliant, highly-readable, comprehensive analysis of how our social contract became broken that provides practical ideas for action to reset our course toward a better tomorrow. Stew and Alec talk about what he learned starting out as a school teacher in an economically ravaged part of Baltimore that informs his current thinking (“talent is everywhere but opportunity is not”); the central problems of government, the private sector, and labor politics; and what we can and must to to create a sustainable world as a nation, as employees, and citizens.Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode: What consumer choice can you make, that you’ve not made before, that will direct your resources toward companies you want to support because of their values, even if it might be relatively less convenient or more costly to acquire their goods or services? Share your reactions to this episode and suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at friedman@wharton.upenn.edu or via LinkedIn.
11/18/2021

Ep 220. Rob Cross: Breaking Free From Collaboration Overload

Rob Cross is the Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership at Babson College and the author of Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead and Restore Your Well-Being. He has studied the underlying network dynamics of effective organizations and the collaborative practices of high performers for more than 20 years. Rob is cofounder and Research Director of the Connected Commons business consortium. He writes about practical approaches to enhancing collaboration, and is the coauthor of five other books, including The Hidden Power of Social Networks.In this episode, Stew talks with Rob about the causes of the epidemic of too much collaboration at work and how this problem has reduced productivity and well-being in all parts of our lives. They discuss Rob’s research on how effective collaborators break free from the tyranny of inessential collaboration and then focus their attention and energy on, among other things, finding simple ways to cultivate diverse networks that give them greater courage via fresh perspectives they gain on how to live a good life. Rob describes how to identify and reduce what he calls the now-common “micro-stressors” in our lives.Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode: Identify one micro-stressor in your life – over which you can exert some control – and see if you can come up with a small step you can take to reduce or eliminate it. Share your reactions to this episode and suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at friedman@wharton.upenn.edu or via LinkedIn.
9/30/2021

Ep 215. Ulcca Joshi Hansen: The Future of Smart

Ulcca Joshi Hansen, a researcher and education advocate, is the author of The Future of Smart: How Our Education System Needs to Change to Help All Young People Thrive. Ulcca believes each young person deserves the chance to discover their unique potential, and to explore what that means for how they contribute to the world. She explores the disconnect between what we want for our children, what we value, and what our education system is actually providing. She’s a mother of two and a former elementary teacher who has worked in education for two decades. She is herself an English as a second language learner and a first generation college graduate. Ulcca is the Chief Program Officer at Grantmakers for Education, the nation's largest and most diverse network of education grant makers dedicated to improving educational outcomes and increasing opportunities for all learners. She has a BA in philosophy, a PhD from the University of Oxford, and a JD from Harvard Law School. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and has been recognized nationally for her leadership as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, a British Marshall Scholar, and a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.In this episode, Stew talks with Ulcca about what we want our children to learn and what they are actually being taught in our schools. We discuss what it means to be “smart” in today’s in today’s complex world -- and in tomorrow’s -- and how the educational system we have had for centuries has to change. Ulcca describes what we can do to make the necessary changes, as parents, business leaders, policy makers, and citizens.Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode. Have a conversation with anyone you know about how a more holistic approach to education would make our nation stronger, better prepared to meet the challenges the next generation will face. Share your reactions to this episode and your suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at friedman@wharton.upenn.edu or via LinkedIn.
8/27/2021

Ep 214. Gorick Ng: The Unspoken Rules for Early Career Success

Gorick Ng is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School and is now a career adviser at Harvard College, specializing in coaching first-generation, low-income students. He’s also a researcher with the Managing the Future of Work project at Harvard. His new book, The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right, is now offered to employees at companies such as IBM, Houlihan Lokey, Invesco, Cigna, Qualcomm, GE, and others. Harvard Business School has also given The Unspoken Rules to every 2021 MBA student to give them an edge in their internships and full-time jobs.In this episode, Stew talks with Gorick about specific guidance for how young people can navigate school and their first jobs for early career success, with particular emphasis on first-generation and low-income students. Gorick’s research and practice reveals there are three critical questions one must answer well: Are you competent? Are you committed? Are you compatible? After Gorick describes how his personal history led him to devoting himself to this field, he gets into some practical tips with examples for how to go about demonstrating competence, commitment, and compatibility.Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode. For yourself, or for a young person you know, ask the three critical questions and come up with an action implied by whatever the answer might be. Share your reactions to this episode and your suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at friedman@wharton.upenn.edu or via LinkedIn.