CompanyNovember 15, 2021

Inspired Execution: Delivering impact and driving innovation with empathy, creativity, and data

Inspired Execution: Delivering impact and driving innovation with empathy, creativity, and data

Today’s leaders need to be data-driven, open-minded, customer- and execution-obsessed, and empathetic in order to build winning teams and deliver world-changing innovations. If you’re interested in building your own playbook for success and learning how to lead yourself and others, don’t miss Season 3 of Inspired Execution.

Over the course of this abbreviated season, DataStax Chairman and CEO Chet Kapoor has spoken with leaders from Asana, Adobe, Persistent Systems, Google Cloud, and more. Each guest brings a unique perspective and awesome advice. Conversations cover a range of topics, including how to maximize your productivity, the importance of empathy inside and outside of the workplace, what entrepreneurs need to succeed, how to put your customers first, and why it’s important to bet on yourself. 

The latest episode of Season 3 launched today. Chet chats with Jim Baum, an accomplished technology executive, about the steps to building a successful team, the biggest mistake companies make with regards to execution, why the best leaders are "uncoachable," and how to turn your weakness into a superpower. He also shares the story behind his first company—it was called Mr. Tree (inspired by The A-Team actor Mr. T).

In case you missed the last few episodes, here’s a summary of each.

Asana CPO on the science of human-centered design and disruptive innovation

“Human-centered design starts with great empathy for a huge customer problem, and then working your way into that problem by being as expansive as possible, and then narrowing it in the most important elements that you could deliver first, and then doing a lot of prototyping along the way. That's the methodology that works over and over again and it’s how the best products are developed.” –Alex Hood

Growing up in Rochester, N.Y., Alex Hood vividly recalls seeing the impact of disruptive innovation play out with the rise of the cell phone camera and the fall of Eastman Kodak. Alex started his career in the stock market, which sparked an interest in consumer trends and behaviors. He grew his passion for understanding consumers during his tenure at Intuit, where he learned the practice of human-centered design (HCD). Now, Alex is applying HCD as a methodology for building products at Asana. In this episode, Alex discusses what it takes to change user behavior, tips for maximizing productivity, and how simplification and clarification help teams stay grounded during periods of hyper-growth and change. 

Persistent Founder and CEO on empowering entrepreneurs and using data for real-time decision-making

“It takes a lot of drive to keep going. Day after day, you have to do better than you did yesterday, and you have to be hungry to do that on an ongoing basis. You have to have a navigational compass of where you want to go and take the team along. And you have to be empathetic to different kinds of people with different needs and motivations.” –Sandeep Kalra

For the first time on Inspired Execution, we had two guests in one episode: Anand Deshpande, founder of Persistent Systems, and Sandeep Kalra, CEO at Persistent Systems. Anand founded Persistent, an organization that partners with clients on digital engineering and enterprise modernization, more than 30 years ago. He also runs a nonprofit in India that helps turn job seekers into job creators. Sandeep joined as Persistent’s CEO during the pandemic and has helped grow the company with a culture of resilience and empathy. In this episode, you’ll learn about the three things entrepreneurs need to succeed, how to leverage your data for decision-making, what it takes to build a culture of transformation, and why we should look to our parents for inspiration.

Adobe CTO and CPO on building relationships, enabling creativity for all, and three lessons learned from moving to the cloud

“It's always good if you have a genuine need that you want to solve for yourself. And hopefully, that's a need that a lot of people around the planet will benefit from. That's always a good start. Is this a product you would love to use every single day? Then that's probably a good idea to build it.” –Abhay Parasnis

Abhay Parasnis has worked at many large technology companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Adobe. The common thread throughout his career has been a deep passion for technology, products, and building new things. Abhay’s journey provides him with some great insights; for one, no one’s career path is a straight line. There will always be unexpected twists and turns, and lots of things are out of your control. But building relationships along the way is invaluable. In this episode, Abhay shares how Adobe is helping enable self-expression for all, three lessons learned from becoming a cloud company, how AI will impact the way we interact with the world around us, and the power of “shosin,” or “beginner’s mind.” 

Google Cloud's Global Director of Healthcare Solutions on making customers your product managers and turning your passion into your profession

“The difference I draw between a mentor and a sponsor is the following: The mentor is giving advice on how you can do things better for yourself. Whereas in the sponsorship position are the people who advocate for you and create opportunities for you.” –Aashima Gupta

Aashima Gupta started out as a programmer in the finance industry but found her calling in healthcare after experiencing the unexpected loss of her father. From Kaiser to Apigee to Google Cloud, Aashima is making a remarkable impact in the healthcare space. In this episode, Aashima explains how Google Cloud is using AI to enable human connection and create better outcomes for providers and patients, the importance of taking an outside-in approach when you're building products, how to focus on impact versus activities, and the difference between a mentor and a sponsor.

Don’t miss the latest episode of Inspired Execution

Tune in to the latest episode of Inspired Execution with Jim Baum. Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the show, and drop us any questions or feedback at


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