Dev Patnaik is a thought leader in the area of empathy in business culture. Dev shares some key insights about what makes companies great and how a business culture based on empathy brings the best out in people. We have a great discussion about Conscious Capitalism and dig deeper into Dev’s comment at Conscious Capitalism 2017: “I went to India a Socialist and came back a Capitalist.” Welcome to the show and enjoy this amazing conversation with Dev Patnaik!
- 00:52 Intro to Dev Patnaik, creative business strategist and thought leader around empathy in business.
- 01:39 Dev’s TEDx SoMa talk and the “corporate iguana” and the United Airlines response, meaning no lymbic system, no morality and no empathy.
- 03:00 Dev Patnaik talks about his friend and mentor, Rolf Faste, former head of the design program at Stanford and father of Design Thinking.
- 05:00 The debacle of United Airlines and why it operates like a “corporate iguana.”
- 05:31 Human beings aren’t good robots. You can’t leave your humanity and your empathy at the door.
- 06:03 The vulnerability of looking into each other’s eyes in a world where business is war, competition, kill-or-be-killed mindset. Humans are incredibly sensitive to context. People behave as the system is designed for them to behave. Note the Zimbardo / Stanford Prison experiment.
- 08:05 How did you create a context where people can connect empathy and work? How Dev and Jump Associates started their culture of empathy.
- 08:40 The benefit of working with some of the world’s most amazing companies – the difference between highly transformative companies and those who are just stuck is an organization-wide sense of empathy – for those inside the walls and out.
- 09:50 The difference between Nike and Reebok – empathy and perspective.
- 11:32 Empathy isn’t necessarily a lovey-dovey thing. The difference between empathic and empathetic.
- 13:25 Having compassion and empathy for those companies who are struggling
- 14:20 Modeling the excellence in companies to cross-pollinate into others to make your company better as itself. The interesting experience of being on the Silicon Valley Innovation Tour.
- 15:22 Become a better version of you – not “be like Google.” The shift in mindset that leaders need to develop.
- 16:33 The joy of helping people be fulfilled at work and how to help companies become their best “possible self.”
- 17:25 If the bottom-line or money wasn’t an issue, who would you let yourself be?
- 18:20 The special experience of Conscious Capitalism events. Getting that special feeling that IS Conscious Capitalism for the CC Portland.
- 19:42 The powerful experience that Frank Foti brought to the launch of CC Portland that allowed the audience to witness the space open in Portland.
- 22:05 Being a business tourist
- 23:20 Dialing in to the conversation about capitalism that is happening in society. Adam Smith described a different sort of capitalism than many talk about today at its lowest common denominator.
- 24:55 How do we really count equity? Is it the stuff or the joy in our day?
- 26:15 Dev Patnaik grew up in the IBM “company town” – and how it impacted who he is today. In the days when the company did right by the people and the people did right by them. They tried to do something like that at Jump Associates. Not your typical Silicon Valley CEO.
- 28:18 What it’s like to work with Jump Associates. Extreme empathy. Extreme curiosity. And living by their purpose “to transform lives through learning and growth.”
- 31:05 The cross-functional nature of Jump’s approach – social sciences, design, and traditional business acumen – hybridity brings the ability to work through highly ambiguous tasks and emerge with innovative solutions
- 32:15 Are we in the next Renaissance? If we get lucky.
- 34:33 The question that started it all. How is it that we can top out on love? There are some emotions that are more acceptable than others, both in companies and in society.
- 36:15 The low-grade feeling of sadness that is pervading our society and how it’s showing up. What’s underneath it?
- 38:55 How do companies who are in the “joy business” continue to be relevant in this current emotional climate of sadness.
- 39:44 We are more connected than we realize. The role of leadership is to make it OK to talk about what needs to be talked about, to create context, and hold the energy so that it doesn’t dissipate in destructive ways.
- 40:55 What kind of rituals does Jump have to handle those moments?
- 42:00 Jump is an HR experiment disguised as a consulting firm. How it lives on through its culture.
- 42:30 Dev Patnaik tells the story of his comment at Conscious Capitalism 2017, “I went to India a Socialist and came back a Capitalist.” How Dev witnessed the tangible creation of wealth as capitalism raised people up out of poverty of wealth and spirit.
- 47:53 How we find inspiration to create a better world through business. Do you believe that people can get better? That companies can get better? What beliefs uphold worthy work?
- 49:48 Speed round!
- 53:00 After the round….a bonus conversation about balance.
Today’s Guest: Dev Patnaik
Dev Patnaik is the CEO of Jump Associates, a strategy and innovation firm. Jump helps companies create new businesses and reinvent existing ones. Jump works with some of the world’s most admired companies, including Nike, GE, Samsung, Target, and Virgin.
Jump has helped companies to learn and grow in times of rapid change. In recent years, Jump has become particularly well-known for its pioneering culture. Jump was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best places to work in America.
Dev is a frequent speaker at business forums and his articles have appeared in numerous publications, including BusinessWeek, Forbes, and Fast Company. He is also the author of the book Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy. Noted author Malcolm Gladwell called Wired to Care “just what we need for the lean years ahead.”
Fast Company magazine recently named Dev one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. His forthcoming book, Unleash, is a playbook for leaders trying to grow their businesses in times of extreme change.
When he’s not working at Jump, Dev Patnaik is an adjunct professor at Stanford University, where he teaches a course called Needfinding. In the class, students draw upon methods from social science, design and business strategy to discover insights about ordinary people and create new products and services.
There are seven sins in the world:
Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice, and
Politics without principle.”
– Mahatma Ghandi
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Jump Associates – CEO Dev Patnaik runs this strategy and innovation firm in the Bay Area.
- Dev Patnaik – TEDx SoMa – Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy
- Rolf Faste – One of Dev’s mentors and teachers. Visit the Rolf A. Faste Foundation for Design Creativity, a tribute and continuation of Rolf’s work.
- Design Thinking – This Forbes article overviews the design thinking approach.
- Stanford Prison Experiment – Dev mentioned this experiment as an example that context drives behavior.
- Conscious Capitalism – The CC2017 conference took place in Philadelphia in April. Follow this link to find your local chapter.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy
And, Dev says – “Go to the classics” to learn about humanity and how to lead.