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? The second 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
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