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Mass Customization and the Do-It-Yourself Supply Chain

  • Read Time: 5 min 

With the help of third-party developers, customization is shifting from the producer to the customer. While Industrial Age customization did enhance options for different customer preferences, those options were hardwired into a firm’s supply chain in ways that preserved efficient scale. Customers could choose only from those options that a firm had already programmed to deliver through established supply chains. Digital Age customization allows customers options outside the boundaries of a firm’s traditional supply chain.

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A Note to Our Readers and Contributors

  • Read Time: 2 min 

While MIT SMR seeks to publish new research-based ideas across a wide range of management topics, we are taking a particular interest in work that explores the role of technology in transforming the practice of management. Even as we have been witnessing digital technology’s organizational impact for several decades, it’s our belief that we are on the crest of a new wave of change that will force leaders to fundamentally rethink the way their companies function and produce value.

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In Analytics, Resolution Must Be Accompanied by Resolve

For organizations, there is no shortage of hype about the potential for data and analytics. But the reality is that creating competitive advantage from data is elusive for many organizations. Our 2016 report on data and analytics, “Beyond the Hype: The Hard Work Behind Analytics Success,” outlines just how much resolve companies need to make an analytics strategy work.

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MIT for Managers: How Insecure Is The Internet of Things?

This new blog from MIT Sloan Management Review explores ideas from different corners of the MIT community that are relevant to business executives. We will introduce you to research, people and events you might not otherwise encounter — things we hope you find useful and perhaps provocative. This week we look at gaping security holes in the Internet of Things and revisit the analytical revelations of Michael Lewis’s Moneyball.

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Variety, Not Volume, Is Driving Big Data Initiatives

The past several years have been period of exploration, experimentation, and trial and error in Big Data among Fortune 1,000 companies, and the result has been a different story. For these firms, it is not the ability to process and manage large data volumes that is driving successful Big Data outcomes. Rather, it is the ability to integrate more sources of data than ever before — new data, old data, big data, small data, structured data, unstructured data, social media data, behavioral data, and legacy data. Guest blogger Randy Bean, CEO of NewVantage Partners, explains why the “variety challenge” has emerged as the top data priority.

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What AlphaGo Means to the Future of Management

Is AlphaGo the supersized model of your future machine management assistant? What to consider when you’re in the market to enhance your company’s digital capabilities. And if you are looking for a way to enhance the value of transparency, try videotaping – and maybe even broadcasting – your executive meetings.

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How a Lack of Systemic Thinking Threatens a Sustainable U.S. Energy Policy

Even the best laid plans can cause unintended consequences. But organizations that operate at less-than-optimal performance levels and are unable to think systematically are especially prone to surprising outcomes. Consider the impact of U.S. ethanol legislation on energy supply chains. Supply chains are complex eco-systems that often span multiple industries and geographies. Changing the balance between supply and demand can have a profound impact on each link in the chain. Failing to appreciate these far-reaching consequences can be disastrous and very difficult to undo.

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Five Steps to Strategic Sustainability and Abundance

Kenyan mobile money pioneer M-Pesa is just one of many companies in developing economies that build virtuous cycles where solving ecological problems and building resilient communities opens new opportunities. Adopting an abundant perspective, argues author Jay Friedlander, provides concrete economic, social, and environmental objectives that unleash new possibilities.

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Is It Time to Build Your Own Platform?

If you really want to create value, forget about burning platforms and start building them. A platform, explain professors Geoffrey Parker and Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Choudary, founder and CEO of Platform Thinking Labs, in Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You, is a “business model that uses technology to connect people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem.”

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Free Webinar: Foundations of Analytics Strategy

The 2016 MIT SMR/SAS Data and Analytics report, “Beyond the Hype: The Hard Work Behind Analytics Success,” finds that competitive advantage from analytics is declining — but that organizations achieving the greatest benefits have figured out how to ensure that the right data is being captured. In this webinar, the authors of the report explain how companies are making this transition and which are seeing the most success.

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When to Hire a Robot

In a new report, International Data Corp. forecasts a near doubling of the robotics market over the next 4 years. Meanwhile, President Obama sent The Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisors to Congress which says that advances in robotics technology are “presaging the rise of a potentially paradigm-shifting innovation in the productivity process.” So how should companies use robotics between now and then? One answer: Hire robots for supporting, rather than primary, roles.

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Halting the Corporate Brain Drain

  • Read Time: 4 min 

Companies often don’t know what their employees’ experience contributes until employees leave, taking their unique knowledge assets with them. But digital tools have the potential to reshape the relationship between organizations and retiring employees. First, when used for collaboration, advanced social media platforms can record all interactions between employees and preserve them for later use. And second, digital platforms introduce the possibility of redefining the relationship companies have with retired staff.

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Tech Savvy: March 3, 2016

This week’s Tech Savvy looks at what’s happening in wearables at work, virtual reality in hiring, enhancing big data ROI, and digital transformation preparation. For instance, in a Netherlands warehouse, employees wearing smart glasses to pick orders show a 25% improvement in efficiency. And in big data, Wharton’s Eric Clemons notes that “Where big data analytics may create local fiefdoms, online social networks create distributed pockets of autonomous connection, affiliation, and even affection.”

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Tech Savvy: February 26, 2016

Peter Drucker defined the work of business leaders by three principal tasks: delivering financial results, making work and workers productive, and managing a company’s social impacts. Technological advances have transformed — and continue to transform — the world in myriad ways since Drucker published that definition in 1974. But technology hasn’t changed Drucker’s tasks. Instead, it is giving rise to new and better ways of executing them. This new column aims to help you identify big ideas and new tactics at the intersection of technology and management.

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We Are Open For Business

  • Read Time: 1 min 

On February 23 and 24, MIT Sloan Management Review is completely dropping the site’s paygates, allowing visitors to freely explore all of our articles, reports, posts, videos, webinars, tools, and case studies. Why? We want to encourage the world to get to know all the remarkable things that MIT SMR has to offer. We work to collect here the best new ideas, research, and tools, and we want to give visitors the chance to experience all of it.

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Tradeoffs in Sustainability-Oriented Innovations

The 1987 UN document Our Common Future notes that sustainability means ensuring that future generations inherit an intact planet. If sustainability is framed as a tradeoff between business and society, addressing this tradeoff for the short term may actually exacerbate long-term problems — compromising sustainability. Firms that find a win-win between profits and planet but fail to consider intertemporal tradeoffs may cost the planet in the long term.

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The Revolution Will Be Customized (and Recycled and Solar-Powered)

The director of Michigan Tech University’s Lab in Open Sustainability Technology, Joshua Pearce, says that while the manufacturing revolution offered by 3D printing may be in its infancy, the time isn’t far when printers — already available open-source — will be solar-powered and use 100% recycled raw materials. “I think people are going to start producing a lot of their own things, whether it’s kids’ toys or scientific instruments, purely based on the economics,” he says.

Showing 61-80 of 830