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Industry: Work

If it were up to her, Jessie Wisdom would nudge everyone toward happier, more productive lives. She’s the social-scientist cofounder of Humu, along with Wayne Crosby and Laszlo Bock, the former SVP of people operations at Google. The venture-backed technology firm has invented a behavioral “nudge engine” platform that is being used by companies to help boost productivity, innovation, and retention in the workplace. But unlike the hoodie-wearing keyboard jockeys of older venture cycles, Wisdom grounds her philosophy in empathy. “Technology’s come a long way—and can do a lot of things—but it can’t feel,” she says. Wisdom has a Ph.D. in behavioral decision research from Carnegie Mellon and has assembled a team that includes organizational psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists. “When we make product decisions, we make sure that the whole team is considering the complexity of what it really feels like to be a person at work on any given day.”

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