American Metamorphosis

By Atlantic Re:Think and Boston Consulting Group

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In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the United States’ greatest vulnerabilities and its most profound injustices. Now, in an effort to become more resilient and equitable, leaders in business and government are making fundamental changes to the way they operate—and how they interact with one another. What will our country look like on the other side of these great transformations? This season of American Metamorphosis, the podcast from Boston Consulting Group and Atlantic Re:think, the branded content studio within The Atlantic, explores that question. In conversations with leaders in the public and private sectors, Emmy-nominated journalist Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani examines how rules are being rewritten, maps redrawn and structures redesigned—and how those shifts will impact the way we live, work, and create in the years ahead.

Episode Date
The F Word
Jacqueline Novogratz, the CEO and founder of the Acumen Fund, Julie King, a best-selling author, and Juliet Grabowski, a managing director and partner at BCG, discuss how we can learn to embrace failure.
Mar 21, 2023
Limitation to Innovation
A prominent choreographer, a professor of Organizational Behavior, and the chair of BCG's Henderson Institute share insights and personal stories of how creativity builds resilience. Guest Information: Raja Feather Kelly - choreographer of "A Strange Loop" on Broadway and Director of 2021's Met Gala Dr. Ella Miron-Spektor - INSEAD Professor of Organizational Behavior Martin Reeves - Chairman of BCG's Henderson Institute Host Information: Emmy nominated journalist Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani
Mar 14, 2023
The Power to Adapt
A combination of inspiring personal stories and neuroscience research provide pathways to problem solving by shifting mindsets. Guests: CBS Correspondent Vlad Duthiers, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience Dr. Tali Sharot, & BCG Global Chair Rich Lesser Host: Emmy nominated journalist Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani
Mar 07, 2023
Action Unlocked
Changemakers share their stories as inspiration for getting around political and cultural gridlock. Guests: Goodr CEO Jasmine Crowe, UCSB Professor Leah Stokes, BCG Senior Partner Amyn Merchant Host: Emmy nominated host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani
Nov 22, 2022
Walking the Walk
Dallas Mavericks team psychologist Don Kalkstein joins the show to discuss the connection between wellness, culture, and performance.
Nov 15, 2022
A Reason To Care
Meteorologist, science writer, & weather historian Sean Potter joins veteran journalist and NYT columnist Paula Span and BCG Managing Director and Partner Suchi Sastri to look at the impact our support systems for caregiviers - or lack thereof - has on the health of our nation.
Nov 12, 2022
The Competitive Ed
Data can empower us to identify the unique needs of our students. But it can only work if we ask the right questions. Guests: Stanford professor Karen Wigen, Executive Director of the Data Quality Campaign Paige Kowalski, BCG partner Kelsey Clark Host: Emmy nominated host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani
Nov 01, 2022
The Fight for Flight
World-record climber & activist Will Gadd joins entrepreneur Jeff Engler and BCG Senior Director of Operations Ryah Whalen to look at what adaption and innovation can do for aviation - and the planet.
Oct 25, 2022
Zero-Sum Shame
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elizabeth Kolbert and former Obama Administration economic advisor Sandra Black discuss competition in nature and nationwide.
Sep 06, 2022
Food For Thought
Is the way we grow our food inhibiting our long term survival? Advocates of regenerative farming say that transforming our agricultural practices is critical to reversing the negative environmental effects of our global food system. In this episode of American Metamorphosis, we look to farmers, industry experts and even a survivalist for guidance on getting back to our roots and living, and farming, in harmony with nature.
May 24, 2022
The Cost of Everything
As inflation rises, higher prices are stressing business, individuals, and our collective psyche. To find balance and calm amid these harsh conditions, we'll need a deep understanding of the weather around us and a dash of mental fortitude.
May 17, 2022
Better Together
AI, the monster we've created, is far superior than us in many ways. It poses an existential threat to our jobs, and our ability to make choices for ourselves. While it has disrupted our lives in many ways, that doesn't mean it's not a technology we should be rooting for. As risky as AI might seem, the consequences might be far worse for society if we don't act now. In this episode of American Metamorphosis, we explore the ways we can use AI in concert with human beings in order to prepare for a future where humans and AI live side by side - working together to advance the world.
May 10, 2022
Ready Or Not?
COVID-19 has been a painful reminder that in a world full of incredible innovation, the fragility of human health is one of the most confounding challenges we face. So how do we prepare for the next pandemic if we don’t know what it will look like? In this episode of American Metamorphosis, we explore lifesaving prospects in medical research and roadmaps for emergency response. The knowledge and technology to plan for the unpredictable is within our reach, but only if we’re willing to invest in them.
May 03, 2022
3D or Not To Be
The climate and housing crises are deeply entwined. Often, a solution to one problem risks exacerbating the other. If we construct more homes the same way we do now, we'll worsen the climate crisis, as buildings are a leading greenhouse gas emitter. Moving forward, we need to build sustainably and scalably. That's the challenge that many tech innovators are facing head-on.
Apr 26, 2022
Higher Perspective
At a time when the world faces simultaneous crises, only a broader perspective can solve deeply interconnected issues. Sticking with the status quo is no longer an option. We must be willing to change everything; to transform again... to risk what we are... for what we could be.
Apr 19, 2022
Whose Streets?
The pandemic underscored the shortomings of our infrastructure. A new episode of American Metamorphosis, the podcast from Atlantic Re:think, the branded content studio within The Atlantic, and BCG, looks at how we can do better. Shawn Dunwoody, an artist and activist in Rochester, New York, explains how the removal of a midcentury highway is transforming city life. Professor Norman Garrick describes the history of the Interstate Highway System. And BCG's Rich Davey discusses how we can make infrastructure more sustainable and equitable.
Dec 21, 2021
Red Light, Green Light
Toilet paper. Medical supplies. Computer chips. During the pandemic, shipments of critical goods slowed, and many Americans understood for the first time the importantce—and fragility—of global supply chains. A new episode of American Metamorphosis, the podcast from Atlantic Re:think, the branded content studio within The Atlantic, and BCG, explores how leaders in business and government are rethinking the systems that make our lives possible. Dmitri Rumschlag of Z Cycle Shop in Denver discusses the pandemic bicycling boom. Harvard Business School Professor Willy Shih explains how supply chains became so complicated. And BCG's Justin Rose explores how supply chains could change in the future.
Dec 14, 2021
Bridging the Gap
When K-12 public schools all across the US closed their doors at the start of the pandemic, the scale of the digital divide was abruptly unmasked. Many states and districts swiftly mobilized to address the needs of their digitally underserved students—purchasing devices, hot spots, and other resources—but an estimated 12 million students remained inadequately connected at the start of 2021. Black, Latinx, and Native American students and those from lower-income households were disproportionately affected, a fact that will undoubtedly inhibit the long-term success of these students as they look to their futures. In this episode, we show how the global pandemic highlighted inequity in the classroom and is inspiring experts and lawmakers to focus on closing the digital divide in US education for good.
Dec 07, 2021
Trust Fall
During the pandemic, a lack of trust in government has made it harder to solve problems. A new episode of American Metamorphosis, the podcast from Atlantic Re:think, the branded content studio within The Atlantic, and BCG, explores what we can do about it. Jorge Fanjul and Kevval Hanna, of BCG's Centre for Public Impact, explain why trust in government is near historic lows. Khalil Shahyd of the Natural Resources Defense Council describes how participatory democracy boomed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. And BCG’s Rajive Mathur explains how public officials can repair America's fractured social contract.
Dec 02, 2021
Fragile Foundations
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the impossible juggling act that working mothers and caregivers face every day. A new episode of American Metamorphosis, the podcast from Atlantic Re:think, the branded content studio within The Atlantic, and BCG, explores how we can remove some of that pressure. In the episode, Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani introduces her Marshall Plan for Moms. Historian Soraya Chemaly explores the history of universal child care. And BCG’s Gabrielle Novacek explains why organizations need to accommodate the full spectrum of women’s experiences.
Nov 23, 2021
A New Transition
In the second season of American Metamorphosis, we explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to examine—and possibly reimagine—just about every aspect of our society. In our first episode, we take a close look at the future of work. Food studies professor Amy Bentley explains how the Industrial Revolution created our tradition of eating three meals a day, and why that tradition might no longer make sense. Scholar Jonathan Malesic describes why burnout happens and what we can do about it. And BCG's Brooke Bollyky discusses how the pandemic has inspired employers and employees to rethink how and why we work.
Nov 16, 2021
BONUS: Systems Down
Cyberattacks are a growing threat to national security, but the country's defenses are weak. How can we strengthen them? In this bonus episode of American Metamorphosis, Congressman Jim Langevin describes his 15-year-long quest to prioritize cybersecurity in the federal government. In a roundtable discussion, CrowdStrike's Dmitri Alperovitch, R Street's Tatyana Bolton, and BCG's Troy Thomas discuss how the public and private sectors can work together more effectively to protect the country's critical infrastructure and businesses.
Aug 10, 2021
The Butterfly Effect
Business and government leaders are becoming acutely aware that the degradation of our planet has costs for all industries and all people. In this episode, host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani explores how leaders in government and beyond can come together to tackle the behemoth goal of creating a sustainable economy. Monique Coombs of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association describes how the global ecological crisis is impacting Maine’s oceanfront community. Rich Lesser, CEO of Boston Consulting Group, explains why we don't have to choose between saving the planet and saving the economy. Dr. Eric Green of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the U.S. National Institutes of Health describes the international collaborative research effort to sequence human DNA.
Mar 30, 2021
The Mountaintop
Mass movements can inspire leaders to make bold policy promises. In the fifth episode of American Metamorphosis, host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani examines what it takes for leaders to make transformative change actually happen. Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III explains how he built consensus to turn the National Museum of African American History and Culture from an idea into a reality. Author Todd Purdum reflects on how President Lyndon Johnson and civil rights leaders passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Business icon Jim Lowry recalls the challenges of bringing racial equity to corporate America after the civil rights era. And Kedra Newsom Reeves, Managing Director & Partner at BCG, suggests how private companies can help close the racial wealth gap.
Mar 23, 2021
How do we get to where we're going—both literally and figuratively? Innovation. In this episode of American Metamorphosis, host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani examines how leaders calculate their most ambitious “moonshot” programs, and how those initiatives can be an unexpected catalyst for widespread progress. Reporter and historian John Morris tells the political struggle that led to the creation of New York City’s subway system. Historian and Smithsonian curator Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony explains how the Apollo space mission helped the country meet future challenges. Steve Mills, a Managing Director & Partner at Boston Consulting Group and leader in Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, describes how President Biden can propel the country forward through the development of AI-enabled government.
Mar 16, 2021
An Open Window
A president’s first 100 days carry immense pressure to succeed. Memorable wins can build momentum, but mishaps will be magnified by public scrutiny. In the third episode of American Metamorphosis, journalist and author Helene Cooper describes how Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf used the period immediately after her inauguration to set the country on a path to full international debt forgiveness after more than a decade of civil war. Julia Dhar, co-founder and leader of BeSmart, Boston Consulting Group’s behavioral economics and insights initiative, explains how leaders make decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Danny Werfel, Managing Director & Partner at Boston Consulting Group, describes how President Obama implemented the Recovery Act almost immediately after he was sworn into office.
Mar 02, 2021
Goodbye, Kansas
There is perhaps no greater test of government than times of crisis. When conditions are changing rapidly and the nation’s future hangs in the balance, what’s the best way for leaders to move forward? In the second episode of American Metamorphosis, Hollywood producer Jim Bloom finds parallels to presidential challenges in a career spent putting out fires and braving snowstorms in the movie business. Historian Louis Hyman corrects common misconceptions about the New Deal in a look back at how President Franklin D. Roosevelt led the country—and brought electricity to rural America—during the Great Depression. Finally, Emily Serazin, Managing Director & Partner at Boston Consulting Group, assesses how the Biden administration can balance flexibility with stability in its management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Feb 23, 2021
The Collider
Unwritten rules and regulations around presidential transitions leave our government vulnerable to failure. In the debut episode of American Metamorphosis, Congressman Ritchie Torres explains why the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol underscores the fragility of democracy. Max Stier, the CEO of Partnership for Public Service, and Danny Werfel, Managing Director & Partner at Boston Consulting Group, look back at delayed presidential transitions in history, and highlight the consequences for national security and foreign policy. Finally, we examine how the transition playbook can be strengthened to prevent future threats.
Feb 15, 2021