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Platform Sprawl Leaves No Industry Behind

  • Read Time: 5 min 

A decade ago, Apple’s iPhone cornered the mobile phone market by developing a platform interface that expanded its product from a simple one-task tool to a multitask utility. Using platforms to gain competitive advantage is no longer unique to Apple — it is happening in other industries across the board as readily available platform options grow in number.

The 10 Most Popular New MIT SMR Articles

  • Read Time: 2 min 

In the first half of 2017, MIT SMR website visitors showed high interest in articles about how artificial intelligence will affect the job market and organizations. In fact, three of the 10 most-read pieces of new MIT SMR editorial content during that period address some aspect of that question. But the other seven most popular new articles cover a wide range of topics — from dealing with negative emotions in the workplace to exploring the organizational implications of blockchain technology.

Video: Preparing for the Changes AI Will Bring to Tomorrow’s Jobs

At the MIT Sloan School of Management’s 14th annual CIO Symposium, “The CIO Adventure: Now, Next and… Beyond,” senior IT executives came together to discuss key technologies, including how AI will transform the workplace. The goal: to help prepare these tech leaders for challenges they face, including shepherding ongoing digital transformations, building a digital organization, and managing IT talent.

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Ethics Should Precede Action in Machine Intelligence

As analytics and big data continue to be integrated into organizational ways and means from the C-suite to the front lines, authors Josh Sullivan and Angela Zutavern believe that a new kind of company will emerge. They call it the “mathematical corporation” — a mashup of technology and human ingenuity in which machines delve into every aspect of a business in previously impossible ways.

Why the Business Case for Sustainability Will Win Out

U.S. corporations still have considerable incentive to move forward on their own climate plans, despite the softening of federal government support. Organizations as diverse as Anheuser-Busch, Duke Energy, and Timberland have robust programs in motion around renewable electricity, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and tracking the climate impact of manufacturing. These plans were built on tangible business cases, not just goodwill.

Balance Efficiency With Transparency in Analytics-Driven Business

Algorithms are affecting many aspects of daily life, but most people have no clarity as to how they work — even in the companies that create and use them. But individuals and organizations need to carefully consider what this lack of transparency means when it comes to fairness and honesty in commercial interactions and decide where to draw the line on data ethics.

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Romantic and Rational Approaches to Artificial Intelligence

Organizations have made rapid gains in their ability to generate big data sets, but the ability of managers and executives to develop insights from that data has lagged behind. Data processing by artificial intelligence offers the prospect of speeding things up — but it also risks expanding the gap, as managers lack understanding of how AI reaches its data-based conclusions.

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.

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The Silicon Valley Caravan: What Sets the Tech Upstarts Apart?

  • Read Time: 5 min 

For tech giants and startups alike, Silicon Valley success is grounded in core business values and processes rather than technological know-how — with a unique twist. Tech businesses have made a commitment to flexibility that allows them to reshape their business models to the needs of an ever-changing digital environment, which gives them an advantage over less-adaptable traditional companies.

I Come to Praise the Annual Performance Conversation, Not Further Bury It

  • Read Time: 3 min 

As many experts have noted, the annual performance review is rife with faults. It emphasizes what has already happened rather than shaping what is yet to come. It can feel punitive or at least judgmental. It is reductive and, in some cases, forces ridiculous formulaic comparisons between employees. It fails to emphasize the kind of timely feedback that can make a real difference in performance. And yet I have just scheduled year-end performance conversations with each of my direct reports.

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