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Technology Solutions for Health Care Need a Continuous Process

It’s no secret that the fee-for-service model in U.S. health care is a driving factor in spiraling costs. WellPoint’s innovative plan to shift to a value-based payment plan may prove to be a key innovation that keeps a lid on those costs. But as commentator Sam Ransbotham points out, their effort to change the payment system also highlights a need for process changes at WellPoint itself.

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The Digital C-Suite

A new study finds that executives at large companies are unhappy with their digital strategies and ability to make decisions on technology. The problem? Lack of cohesion and coordination among departments. Having all C-level executives engage with technology and digital business strategy might be the answer.

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How to Win With a Multisided Platform Business Model

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“Increasing awareness of business models and the spectacular MSP successes from the past decade have prompted many entrepreneurs and investors to attempt building or identifying ‘the next eBay,’” writes Andrei Hagiu, an associate professor in the strategy group at the Harvard Business School. But successful MSPs such as PayPal, eBay and Alibaba are the exception rather than the rule. Haigi offers four observations about what new companies can do to position themselves to be among the winners rather than the losers.

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Mobilizing the Insurgency

The sustainability director’s goal? Empower allies inside of companies to link social intelligence with their job responsibilities and the company’s overall sustainability strategy. In the third installment of the series on corporate social responsibility insurgencies, Gregory Unruh examines how managers offer leadership in establishing and nurturing sustainability projects — and culture — in their companies.

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The Trouble with Supply Chains

The UN’s Global Compact report identifies auditing the supply chain as the biggest obstacle to putting sustainability principle into practice. Companies simply don’t have enough information about suppliers’ sustainability practices to determine which links on the supply chain will provide the best outcome. But as global data sources become more all-encompassing — and companies’ analytics capabilities grow more sophisticated — that is changing.

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New MIT Sloan Management Review App

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MIT SMR announces the launch of its new app, available for both iOS and Android devices, effective with the Spring 2014 issue. The app features all the magazine content from each issue in a format tailored to a tablet or smartphone.  Features include an easy-to-access table of contents, zoom-in exhibits and sidebars, instant-read footnotes with no scrolling, sharing tools and downloading for offline reading.

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In Sports, It’s Quants Versus Managers

There have been a number of stunning sports upsets that make it clear that the lines are fading between intuition and experience on the one hand, and data and analytics on the other. Where the “gut” instinct of managers and owners once ruled, analytic insights are fast becoming a standard part of the playbook. What’s at stake? Seemingly everything: trophies, revenues, funding and fans, not to mention the sheer thrill of victory. That’s particularly the case in elite professional sports.

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Own Your Time, Boost Your Productivity

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MIT Sloan’s Robert Pozen has an array of strategies to make work time more productive. In a session on “Maximizing Your Personal Productivity” at MIT Sloan Executive Education, Pozen explained that people often don’t articulate their biggest goals and don’t have the right tools to make them true priorities. “You’re unlikely to achieve your top goals if you haven’t written them down,” said Pozen. “If they’re vague and in your head, you haven’t crystallized things.”

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Harnessing Quant Power

A new book by Thomas H. Davenport and Jinho Kim says that if companies can’t turn all the data they’re swimming in into better decision making through quantitative analytics, they’re “probably creating suboptimal performance.” The book, Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics, is geared toward executives who are not analytics experts but whose jobs require them to deal with those who have such expertise, both inside and outside their organizations.

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Human Rights: The Next Frontier

It is becoming more and more commonplace for companies to take human rights into account when sourcing materials or manufacturing processes. Guest blogger Olivier Jaeggi of ECOFACT explains why this trend has significance for sustainability — and how corporate standards are increasingly taking the position that paying attention to human rights is a necessity for companies’ risk management strategy, rather than an act of good will.

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How to Avoid a Social Media Fiasco

If you think social media crises are uncommon things that happen only to other companies, you’re kidding yourself. A panel at the 2014 South by Southwest festival highlighted some of the most prominent recent fiascoes and offered a compelling view of just how commonplace these events have become. Five key takeaways from the panel offer suggestions for keeping a company from being the next entry on the steady parade of social media disasters.

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Leadership Lessons from the Boston Marathon Attack

As the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings draws near, the response of leaders in the public sphere offers some lessons for the effective use of social media — which has shown itself repeatedly in recent years to be the key means of communication during a crisis. Six specific lessons on how to manage crisis communications via social media can be drawn from the Boston Marathon crisis and its aftermath.

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Ethnography in Action at Wells Fargo

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How do companies gain value from ethnography — the in-person study of how people actually use a product or service? Wells Fargo Bank commissioned an ethnographic project and found out for itself. The bank was able to determine that customers approach retirement with three styles: they were either Reactors, Poolers or Maximizers. The bank learned, for instance, that the language of customers who were Maximizers would not resonate with Poolers — and so it developed new kinds of messaging for each.

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Rent The Runway: Organizing Around Analytics

Treating analytics as a strategic asset at the senior level has enabled a fashion-focused startup to innovate. Rent The Runway, an online service that rents occasion dresses, caters to its fashion-forward clientele through unique services such as on-call stylist advice and customer’s “style moment” photos. These services, driven by data and analytics, are what set Rent The Runway apart from its small pool of competitors.

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ComScore: The Art and Science of Big Data, From the Inside

ComScore is among the world’s biggest data purveyors — the digital measurement and analytics company has collected about 14 petabytes of online data from around the globe. But it has to execute on all that data internally in order to be successful externally. This is where a lot of organizations stumble. A recent report by MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) details how comScore organizes its assets to capture value from big data.

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The Big Upside of Customer Participation

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Encouraging customers to provide feedback and recommendations directly to a company engages them in valuable ways. Researchers looked at customers of a global bank who engaged in either positive word of mouth, or provided suggestions, or both. They found that customers who ranked high in participation tended to purchase more products and services. In other words, participation was more closely associated with customer spending than word of mouth was.

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Is Hostility to Blame for Sustainability’s Leadership Gap?

When a conservative think-tank challenged Apple’s sustainability programs at a recent shareholder meeting, CEO Tim Cook didn’t back down, refusing to bow to its calls to suspend any activities that didn’t “add to the bottom line.” Apple’s shareholders rewarded him with resounding support. If sustainability is to increase its profile as a business priority, more executives will need to follow Cook’s lead.

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