Summer 2017 Issue
Volume 58, Issue # 4

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Special Report: Create Your Company’s Future

Create Your Company’s Future

Recently, MIT SMR readers have been looking for information on scenario planning — a trend that may reflect current social, political, and economic uncertainty. This trend led to our Summer 2017 special report on creating your company’s future.

The End of Corporate Culture as We Know It

We are evolving toward the age of networked enterprise, in which the traditional hierarchies of the corporation will be supplanted by self-organizing systems collaborating on digital platforms. In this environment, strong cultures may turn from assets to liabilities.

Features

Mastering the Make-in-India Challenge

Some multinationals have a winning India strategy that involves both local and global value chains.

The Question Every Executive Should Ask

Kaiser Permanente’s CEO says leaders need to ask how well employees’ intelligence is put to work.

Developing Innovative Solutions Through Internal Crowdsourcing

If managed well, internal crowdsourcing initiatives can open up a rich source of innovation.

The Best Response to Digital Disruption

Companies with bold strategies in response to digitization will come out as winners.

Columns

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Frontiers

Exploring the Digital Future of Management

Seeing Beyond the Blockchain Hype

The transformative potential of blockchain is real, but so are the challenges to its implementation.

Choosing Scope Over Focus

New digital technologies are changing the rules of competition by expanding the boundaries of what a company can handle and introducing new sources of advantage.

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Using Scenario Planning to Reshape Strategy

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 19 min 

Rather than trying to predict the future, organizations need to strengthen their abilities to cope with uncertainty. A new approach to scenario planning can help companies reframe their long-term strategies by developing several plausible scenarios.

Building a Winning Business Model Portfolio

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 15 min 

Many companies today are operating several business models at once. But despite the potential that business model diversification has for generating growth and profit, executives need to carefully assess the strategic contributions of each element of their business model portfolio.

How to Catalyze Innovation in Your Organization

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 24 min 

The authors’ research suggests that, rather than leaving the development of innovation to serendipity, executives should create collaborative contexts where innovation is likely to emerge from unpredictable pockets of creativity within an organization. By understanding and tapping the power of employee networks, executives can stimulate the creation of these kinds of collaborative environments.

Create Your Company’s Future

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

A recent trend that reflects our turbulent times: MIT SMR readers are reading up on scenario planning strategies.

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Supply Chains Built for Speed and Customization

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 8 min 

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.

Developing Innovative Solutions Through Internal Crowdsourcing

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 18 min 

Internal crowdsourcing, which seeks to channel the ideas and expertise of the company’s own employees, allows employees to interact dynamically with coworkers in other locations, propose new ideas, and suggest new directions to management. Because many large companies have pockets of expertise and knowledge scattered across different locations, harnessing the cognitive diversity within organizations can open up rich new sources of innovation.

A Data-Driven Approach to Identifying Future Leaders

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 9 min 

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 Missing Piece in Employee Development

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 6 min 

In recent years, organizations have begun to prioritize processes for improving future performance over evaluating employees’ past efforts. Yearly development objectives and annual reviews are being replaced by real-time feedback delivered directly by line managers. Although this shift holds much promise, it risks bumping up against some hard realities — namely, the ability of line managers to help employees develop. In reality, many managers aren’t confident they can change employee behavior.

The Question Every Executive Should Ask

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 18 min 

Gone are the days of centralized control of information and decision-making within organizations. With information now widely distributed among employees, Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard J. Tyson says today’s executives face a critical question: “How do I charge up the organization so that we’re maximizing the intellects of all of our people?”

Rethinking the East Asian Leadership Gap

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Many western multinationals have a tough time finding local talent in East Asia — a problem that global companies originating in East Asia don’t seem to face. One problem: The cultural values and expectations of those doing the hiring and those seeking the jobs are at odds.

The Best Response to Digital Disruption

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 17 min 

Although digitization’s disruptive influence is growing rapidly, there’s surprisingly little empirical evidence on the magnitude of digital disruption — nor any showing how companies are reacting on a broad scale. A new global survey of C-suite executives looks at how digitization unfolds across industries and how incumbents are responding. With some notable exceptions, the answer is: “Not well.”

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Seeing Beyond the Blockchain Hype

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 8 min 

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 Power of Consumer Stories in Digital Marketing

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 10 min 

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.