167 episodes

Learn from inspiring innovators who are rethinking life and work in the modern age. Host Gayle Allen discovers how these entrepreneurs, writers, scientists, and inventors achieve their most interesting innovations. Have fun taking a peek into their Curious Minds!

Curious Minds: Innovation in Life and Work Gayle Allen

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    • 4.3, 4 Ratings

Learn from inspiring innovators who are rethinking life and work in the modern age. Host Gayle Allen discovers how these entrepreneurs, writers, scientists, and inventors achieve their most interesting innovations. Have fun taking a peek into their Curious Minds!

    CM 167: Stefanie Johnson On Inclusive Leadership

    CM 167: Stefanie Johnson On Inclusive Leadership

    How can we recognize the blind spots that cause us to build less inclusive teams?

    When we commit to achieving greater diversity in the workplace, we're taking an important step. But we need to see this step as just the beginning in an ongoing journey. 

    Stefanie Johnson, author of the book, Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams, created the word "inclusify" to call this out. She argues, "People don't experience inclusion just because they were included...it takes thoughtful action and intention on the part of the leader...to create an inclusive environment...that's the idea behind inclusify."

    To start, we need to recognize the blind spots that get in our way. In her work with managers and boards, Stefanie's found six that come up time and again: the meritocracy manager, the culture crusader, the team player, the white knight, the shepherd, and the optimist.

    She explains how leaders use concepts like "meritocracy" or "culture" to exclude employees who hold different ideas. And she shares how statements like, "we don't want to lower the bar" make things harder for underrepresented groups: "...women actually are required to have greater experience to earn a board position than men...there are higher standards a lot of times for underrepresented groups. That's why they're underrepresented."

    By pinpointing blind spots and coupling that knowledge with a commitment to helping diverse employees feel like they belong and can bring their unique selves to work, leaders take more of the steps needed to create diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations.

    Stefanie Johnson is an Associate Professor of Management at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work has been featured in the Economist, Newsweek, Time, and on CNN.

    Curious Minds Team

    Learn more about Host and Creator, Gayle Allen, and Producer and Editor, Rob Mancabelli, here. 

    Episode Links



    Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt

    Unconscious bias

    Achieving Meritocracy in the Workplace by Emilio J. Castilla

    3 Reasons You Should Stop Hiring for "Culture Fit" by Delisa Alexander

    Ways to Support the Podcast

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    • 37 min
    CM 166: Jonah Berger On Changing People’s Minds

    CM 166: Jonah Berger On Changing People’s Minds

    How can we get our staunchest opponents to come around to our way of thinking?

    When we're trying to convince other people, we often start by sharing our ideas. If they resist our efforts, we usually just push harder. Sometimes it works, but, most of the time, our efforts fail.

    That's what got Jonah Berger, author of the bestselling book, The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind, wondering, what do the most successful change agents do? 

    He discovered that they think and act more strategically. Rather than pushing harder and ratcheting things up, they act more like catalysts. He explains, "What they do is they lower the barrier to change. They figure out an alternate way to make the same change occur with less energy, not more."

    Jonah's talked to successful hostage negotiators, substance abuse counselors, and salespeople to learn what they do. From his research, he's discovered five barriers that inhibit change, along with ways to get around them.

    For example, we often ask for more change than the average person can handle. To counter that, he says, "We have to figure out ways essentially to ask for less. Rather than asking people to make a big change right away, ask for smaller changes."

    Jonah is Marketing Professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He's published more than 50 papers, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review. He's appeared on Curious Minds twice before to discuss his pervious books, Contagious and Invisible Influence.

    Curious Minds

    Learn more about Host and Creator, Gayle Allen, and Producer and Editor, Rob Mancabelli, here.

    Episode Links

    The Strategy behind Florida's "Truth" Campaign

    Thai Health Promotion Foundation - Smoking Kid (1:30 min video)

    Changing Eating Habits on the Home Front: Lost Lessons from World War II Research by Brian Wansink

    Gregory M. Vecchi, Ph.D.

    Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger

    Dave Fleischer and deep canvassing

    Study Finds Deep Conversations Can Reduce Transgender Prejudice


    Support the Podcast

    • 46 min
    CM 165: Dan Heath On Innovative Problem Solving

    CM 165: Dan Heath On Innovative Problem Solving

    What would happen if, instead of reacting to problems, we solved them at the source?

    That's a question that Dan Heath, author of the book, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen, wants us to ask. He believes it's the linchpin of real change.

    Dan explains, "So often in life, we get trapped in these cycles of reaction...and all of that action starves us of the energy that we need to get upstream and deal with these problems at the root level."

    He shares enlightening stories of people who've made it a goal to prevent problems, rather than merely react to them. At the same time, he helps us understand how to think and act like they do.

    To start, he says, we need to confront what he calls our "problem blindness." It's our tendency to accept the unacceptable, just because we've gotten used to it.

    Instead, he encourages us to "Get real suspicious and curious about recurring problems. If there's something that you've just come to take for granted...customers are always going to call about itineraries...or we're always going to have a high dropout rate...Get suspicious about that!"

    Dan Heath is a Senior Fellow at Duke University's CASE Center, which supports entrepreneurs fighting for social good. He's also co-author with his brother, Chip Heath, of the bestselling books, Made to Stick, Switch, Decisive, and The Power of Moments.

    Curious Minds Team

    Learn more about Host and Creator, Gayle Allen, and Producer and Editor, Rob Mancabelli, here.

    Episode Links

    Irving Zola

    Frederick Winslow Taylor

    Marcus Elliott

    The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

    Freshman On-Track Toolkit

    When do workarounds help or hurt patient outcomes? by Anita L. Tucker

    How Iceland Got Teens to Say No to Drugs by Emma Young

    Paul B. Batalden

    The University of Chicago Crime Lab

    a href="https://www.youth-guidance.

    • 53 min
    CM 164: Stanislas Dehaene On How We Learn

    CM 164: Stanislas Dehaene On How We Learn

    What are the skills that can help us learn new things more quickly and efficiently?

    Our ability to learn sets us apart from other species. Yet few of us understand how to maximize this ability.

    Stanislas Dehaene, Director of the NeuroSpin Brain Imaging Center in Saclay, France, and Professor of Experimental Cognitive Psychology at the College de France, can help. In his latest book, How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine...for Now, he explains how the human brain is designed for learning. Next, he shares exactly what we need to optimize our learning.

    Sleep is one example. We know it's important, but we may not know just how critical it is for learning. Stanislas explains, "So we re-learn, we replay during sleep, the things we've begun to learn during the day. In this way, we are able to multiple the learning examples."

    At the same time, we may not be aware of what Stanislas calls "the secret ingredients of successful learning." These are the four pillars that, when present, speed up the learning process, namely, attention, active engagement, error feedback, and consolidation.

    Finally, Stanislas explains the connections between artificial intelligence and the human brain. Though he's convinced that future AIs will surpass the capabilities of the human brain, he readily shares just how amazing our brains are: "I don't think that the brain is intrinsically better than machines. I think the brain is an extraordinary machine."

    Stanislas has written extensively on the topic of human learning. His previous books include, Reading in the Brain, Consciousness and the Brain, and The Number Sense.

    The Team

    Learn more about host and creator, Gayle Allen, and producer and editor, Rob Mancabelli, here.

    Episode Links

    Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf

    Explicit Memory Creation During Sleep Demonstra...

    • 42 min
    CM 163: Frances Frei on Leadership

    CM 163: Frances Frei on Leadership

    What if leaders spent less time building themselves up and more time building up others?

    When leaders face challenges, they're often encouraged to take a long, hard look in the mirror. Frances Frei, co-author with Anne Morriss of the book, Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You, agrees that leaders need to take responsibility. But she thinks they should replace the mirror with a window.

    To do that, leaders must shift away from looking at themselves and, instead, empower their teams. She explains what this looks like: "If I walk into a room, and I'm thinking about me, and everybody else is thinking about me, then I'm not doing a good job. I want to walk into the room and be thinking about everyone else. I want to be thinking about how to unleash greatness in everyone else."

    As part of unleashing team members' greatness, Frances believes leaders must also grow their team members. And when team members aren't growing, leaders need to understand why. That's where self-assessment tools can be helpful. For example, she shares a tool that can help leaders understand why they may be losing their team's trust.

    She also shares a tool that helps leaders determine whether a team member's underperformance is a result of their own behavior or organizational bias. When it comes to organizational bias, she points out that when "there are demographic patterns associated with who's thriving, it's super clear whose fault it is...no question the firm is doing something. Not on purpose. They're probably hitting something with their tail, but we have to fix it."

    Frances Frei is a Professor at Harvard Business School, and she recently served as Uber's first Senior Vice President of Leadership and Strategy. She regularly works with companies on organizational transformation, including embracing diversity and inclusion as levers for improved performance. Her TED Talk on Building Trust has been viewed four million times.

    Curious Minds Team

    Head here to learn more about Host and Creator, Gayle Allen, and Producer and Editor, Rob Mancabelli. 

    Episode Links

    Valerius Maximus

    Emma Dench

    The Connector Manager by Sari Wilde and Jaime Roca

    Lesbians in Tech

    1844 Conway Ekpo Black Male Lawyers

    Grace Hopper...

    • 55 min
    CM 162: Don Moore On How To Be Perfectly Confident

    CM 162: Don Moore On How To Be Perfectly Confident

    What if the biggest barrier to our success wasn't a lack of confidence but overconfidence?

    We tend to associate a high degree of confidence with success. In fact, most of us believe it's a requirement for achieving our goals. Yet extensive research led Don Moore, author of the book, Perfectly Confident: How to Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely, to conclude that "the evidence for that relationship...is shockingly weak."

    Instead, Don argues, it's about striking a balance between under confidence and overconfidence, and he shares a helpful technique called probabilistic thinking to help us do just that. To illustrate this point, he explains how he and his fiance used this approach to plan their wedding.

    After realizing that their guest list far exceeded the 125 chairs available in the reception venue, they knew they needed a strategy. Rather than remove names from the list, they estimated the likelihood of each guest attending. That helped them decide how many invitations to send.

    Don explains, "We went through that long list, summing up the probabilities across individuals. It got us to 127, so we sent out the invitations right away. The actual number who said 'yes' was 126, so we found one more chair and were happily married."

    Don Moore is a Professor of Management of Organizations at the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business. He is also co-author of the book, Judgment in Managerial Decision Making, and he's written for publications like, The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review.

    The Curious Minds Team

    You can learn more about Curious Minds' Host and Creator, Gayle Allen, and Producer and Editor, Rob Mancabelli, here. 

    Episode Links

    Max Bazerman

    5 Tips for Calibrating Your Confidence by Laura Counts

    The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

    The Intelligence Trap by David Robson

    Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke

    Too Optimistic about Optimism

    Why Decisions Fail by Paul Nutt

    • 51 min

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