innovation hub


We’ve all heard Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” advice, but are we tipping too far? Writer Maria Konnikova explains why Sandberg’s prescription for success may overlook the science. Read More...

Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder, left, helps a customer apply lipstick in 1966. Credit: Bill Sauro/World Journal Tribune / Wikimedia Commons

Even with hindsight being 20/20, betting on a woman founding an entirely new industry in the throes of the Great Depression seems pretty unlikely. But, as historian and Harvard Business School professor Nancy Koehn tells us, it’s the story of Estee Lauder. Read more...

Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley, television and radio talk show host, says the key to success is learning how to fail. Credit: Center for American Progress Action Fund / Wikimedia Commons

Recently, we caught up with Tavis Smiley - author and host of "Tavis Smiley" on PBS - and asked him: what does it take to succeed, especially for women and minorities who have historically been sidelined? The key, says Smiley, is being willing to fail. Read more...

Heinz products

H.J. Heinz was an ingenious businessman with an obsessive - and odd- personality, says Joshua Kendall. Here, a selection from a 1930 Heinz recipe book. Credit: alsis35 / Flickr Creative Commons

Ever notice that many famous innovators seem a bit…prickly? Joshua Kendall, author of "America's Obsessives," says visionaries - like H.J. Heinz and Melvil Dewey - often exhibit the kind of obsessive behavior that leads to great ideas, but troublesome personal lives. Read more...

grocery store

We talk with authors Michael Pollan and Moises Velasquez-Manoff about the power of bacteria, an element of health that is just beginning to be studied. Read more...


Drugs, alcohol, nicotine ... processed carbohydrates? Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children's Hospital says certain carbs affect our brains, much like addictive substances. Read more...

Dr. David Williams of the Boston Children's Hospital and colleagues may be on the verge of curing the mysterious Bubble Boy Syndrome. Read more...

Our Disappearing Jobs

If you were to travel back in time 20 or 30 years and tell the first person you saw that machines in the future could read your checks, deposit them, and dispense exactly the amount of money you needed whenever you needed it, you probably would get a few raised eyebrows. Yet, how many times have you visited an ATM in the past month instead of a human bank teller? In a new controversial study from Oxford University, researchers Michael Osborne and Carl Frey argue that this kind of automation is only the beginning. They predict that in the next twenty years an astounding 47 percent of American jobs may become automated.

Watson After Jeopardy!

The last time you saw Watson the supercomputer, he was probably cleaning up on the game show Jeopardy! But since roundly defeating reigning champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, Watson hasn't been resting on his laurels. In fact, just two years after his debut, Watson - as Steve Gold, executive at Watson Solutions at IBM describes it - has been "going to work." So what sets Watson apart from the average, run-of-the-mill computer sitting in your cubicle (which, we would hazard to guess, has not recently won thousands of dollars on a television game show?) 

Gadget Spotlight: Around the House

We talked in this week's show about very smart computers - including Watson, the supercomputer and Jeopardy! champion. Want a little taste of Watson in your own home? Gadget guru Ben Saren has some pointers on how the newest gadgets can spruce up your humble abode, from a smart scale to replace the one languishing in your upstairs bathroom to a thermostat that knows exactly how late you like staying in bed on the weekends. 

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