Take on Tomorrow: The podcast

How can business help solve society’s biggest problems?  PwC’s strategy+business’ new podcast, ‘Take on Tomorrow’ brings together leading experts from around the globe to figure out what business could and should be doing to tackle the greatest challenges facing the world; from privacy to climate change to crypto. 

Join hosts Ayesha Hazarika, columnist and former senior political advisor in London and Lizzie O’Leary, business journalist in New York, to hear some of the brightest minds and boldest thinkers on how they’re taking on these problems, and how you could too. 

The first seven episodes are available to listen:

1. What’s the price of privacy?

Data is one of the most valuable and most dangerous things a business can collect. Though gathering data helps businesses better understand customers, it also exposes them to concerns about privacy, security, and trust. And if trust is lost, it is very difficult to earn back. So, does taking privacy seriously make for better business?    

Lizzie and Ayesha are joined by Jane Horvath, chief privacy officer at Apple, and Pat Moran, a leader in cybersecurity and incident response with PwC Ireland (Republic of). We’ll hear the lessons they’ve learned working across high-level privacy and cybersecurity issues, and find out why this topic is more important than ever for business leaders.

2. How can humanity jump-start breakthrough innovation

The rapid development of covid vaccines shows that breakthrough innovation can happen at great pace when needed—so what’s holding us back in other areas? How can the world—and business—deliver transformational new technologies at speed?   

Drawing on lessons from the development of other breakthrough technologies, Ken Gabriel, the COO of Wellcome Leap and former acting director of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), talks about the recipe for breakthrough—rather than incremental—innovation. 

He is joined by Leo Johnson, who leads PwC UK’s disruption and innovation practice, to discuss the future of innovation in some of society’s biggest challenges and the crucial issue of trust. 

3. How can business prepare for the next disaster?

Cyberattacks, supply chain disruptions, hurricanes, and pandemics: the list of things that can go wrong for a company is long, and it is growing. So how can business prepare for the unknown?  

Lizzie and Ayesha meet with the former head of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Craig Fugate—inventor of the Waffle House Index, by the way—and PwC UK crisis and resilience partner Bobbie Ramsden-Knowles to discuss how business can help society and organisations be better prepared, before the next disaster strikes. 

4. Will crypto revolutionise the financial system?

There’s an old saying: people overestimate the impact of technology in the short term and underestimate it in the long term. Is that what’s happening with crypto? There’s a lot of news about cryptocurrencies, but are we paying too little attention to the long-term impacts of the underlying technology? 

Joined by Sheila Bair, the former chair of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Vicki Huff Eckert, a retired PwC US partner who served as vice chair for PwC’s US technology, media, and telecommunications sector, we’ll ponder how blockchain, and the cryptocurrencies that exist because of it, could affect financial systems and transform business and society—ready or not.

5. Can corporate reporting deliver change?

The reporting of corporate data matters—and not just to accountants and stock analysts. The way in which companies make progress when dealing with climate change, building more diverse workforces, and complying with regulation has become a differentiating factor. Stakeholders of all kinds are demanding information that is more detailed, more readily measured, and more easily verified. Understanding how reporting builds trust is a key item on leaders’ agendas.

This week, we get an important download on the power of reporting. We’ll hear from Emmanuel Faber, chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board; Eelco van der Enden, CEO of the Global Reporting Initiative; and Nadja Picard, PwC’s global reporting leader, and listen in on a panel discussion they held at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos. Then, Nadja joins Lizzie and Ayesha to discuss what it all means for society.

6. What’s the point of stakeholder capitalism?

Stakeholder capitalism is the idea that businesses have a responsibility to groups other than their shareholders. But is that really capitalism? Why are so many businesses embracing this idea? And, given that stakeholders often have conflicting views, can it work in practice?  

Lizzie and Ayesha are joined by Alison Taylor, the director of Ethical Systems at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and Richard Oldfield, PwC’s global markets leader, to discuss what stakeholder capitalism means for businesses and for society. 

7. What’s the role of tax in tackling climate change?

If you want less of something, tax it more. That’s what many governments have been trying to do with carbon. But carbon pricing is controversial and difficult to implement technically. So, given the urgency to reduce the use of fossil fuels, reduce emissions and reach more aggressive climate goals, should businesses prepare for an expansion in carbon taxation? Should it be a priority for people who care about climate change? 

Our hosts talk with Danae Kyriakopoulou—from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment—about the role this kind of tool can play in the race to net zero, and with Ian Milborrow, a sustainability and climate-change partner with PwC UK, about what business needs to know. 

8. What’s the future of worker empowerment?

People don’t want to be taken for granted. That’s the message coming from employees around the world, who are finding new confidence and empowerment in the shifting world of work. Their call to employers is to listen, learn, and engage. So, how can businesses and employees find fresh opportunities in this era of new expectations?  And can they find ways to thrive together?  

Lizzie and Ayesha speak with Standard Chartered’s group head of human resources, Tanuj Kapilashrami, and the joint global leader for PwC’s people and organisation practice, Pete Brown, to dig into what workers really want and how today’s leaders can tap into the power of their people for the future.

Looking for more? New episodes are released weekly so make sure to check out the podcast’s main landing page.

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