Frontiers

Inspiring Employee Creativity

Digital technologies are making work increasingly thought-driven, not muscle-powered. In this environment, planning and execution are merely table stakes for leadership. Real leaders must inspire and reward employee ingenuity, and must be bold enough to move creativity from the organization’s periphery to its center. To do that, leaders need to adopt five personal behavior changes, including resisting the temptation to tell people what to do and embracing distributed leadership.

Supply Chains Built for Speed and Customization

Thanks to emerging technologies like 3-D printing, manufacturers can offer consumers customized products and do so with unprecedented speed. Intrigued by a new product you saw in a YouTube video? Well, someday soon you may be able to personalize it, order it via the company’s website, and have it in your hands in a matter of days. But to enable this phenomenon at scale, an entirely new model of supply chain is required.

A Data-Driven Approach to Identifying Future Leaders

Many executives believe they are good at identifying leadership talent. However, when asked how they make their decisions, they often cite intuition or “gut” instincts. Social science research, on the other hand, suggests that individuals are often prone to cognitive biases in such decisions. Rather than just relying on the subjective opinions of executives, some companies are using assessment tools to identify high-potential talent.

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The Power of Consumer Stories in Digital Marketing

New research finds that stories about consumers’ positive experiences with a brand significantly increase users’ engagement with brand websites, and stories originating from consumers are especially powerful in shaping brand attitudes in social media. Indeed, companies that aren’t offering experiences that leverage consumer input in brand-related narratives are missing out on important opportunities to connect in a meaningful way with potential buyers.

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Platform Business

There’s a great deal of enthusiasm about platform strategies these days. Entrepreneurs pitch their startups as the next Uber, the next Facebook, or the next Airbnb, while executives in established companies are retooling their strategies around platforms to drive growth and compete digitally. But creating a successful platform business is not easy — as economists Richard Schmalensee and David S. Evans explain in this MIT Sloan Management Review interview.

The Need for Culture Neutrality

Companies today work with an incredibly diverse array of people. To thrive, these organizations need culturally neutral, globally coherent leadership standards. These standards should promote needed outcomes without prescribing behaviors, since some behaviors are outside of the cultural norms in some countries. Inevitably, significant advantage will accrue to companies that ready their people for truly global leadership.

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Seeing Beyond the Blockchain Hype

Blockchain has recently taken center stage in the conversation about management’s digital makeover. Many believe the impact of blockchain on the ways organizations function and produce value may be greater than other technologies that have grabbed most of our recent attention — data and analytics, the cloud, even artificial intelligence.

The Jobs That Artificial Intelligence Will Create

A new global study finds several new categories of human jobs emerging. These roles are not replacing old ones. They are brand-new positions that complement the tasks performed by AI machines and will require skills and training that have never before been needed.

How Digital Media Will Bring Out Our Best Selves in the Workplace

Tomorrow’s most productive individuals will have more and better digital versions of themselves. The vision: Individuals will be able to utilize customized software and digital tools to improve their performance and productivity, with these digital versions of themselves able to significantly outperform their average self. In this world, AI will stand for “Augmented Introspection” as well as “Artificial Intelligence.”

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Reframing Growth Strategy in a Digital Economy

Too many big companies are formulating their growth strategies using traditional planning approaches — yearly cycles, historical analytics, incremental thinking. The velocity that characterizes this new digital economy means this kind of growth planning is obsolete. To assert digital dominance, big companies need to capitalize on their ability to do things the disruptors can’t — like plan globally and mobilize considerable resources.

Beyond Viral: Generating Sustainable Value From Social Media

Social media provides the fuel for unpredictable, temporary mobilization, rather than steady, sustainable change. To reverse this trend and reap more enduring benefits from social media requires a fundamental change in focus. Research shows that incentive networks are an important middle layer between ideologies and activity in online digital platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. So, too, is a focus on establishing loyalty and stickiness rather than just “likes” and retweets.

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