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Five Steps To Leading Change Successfully

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Before making a change, you need to identify the influencers who can push the project forward — or who can cause it to stall. “Left unattended, skepticism, fear and panic can wreak havoc on any change process,” write Ellen R. Auster and Trish Ruebottom.

Their solution is a five-step, proactive process designed to help leaders navigate both the politics and the emotions that are churned up by heading in new directions. The steps include mapping the key stakeholders who will be affected by the change and involving the most influential of them.

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Sustainability? Don’t Go It Alone

At the Sustainable Brands seventh annual community in June, a key theme was succinctly framed by Sally Uren, acting chief executive, Forum for the Future: “pioneering companies are hitting the limits of what they can do alone.” To address sustainability-related issues, a growing number of companies are becoming more collaborative. Not merely with suppliers, but with competitors as well. The complexity of business problems connected with sustainability is demanding collective action.

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Eight Steps to Digital Transformation

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Companies want digital transformation, but achieving it is hard. Executives from two transformative businesses, Kim Stevenson, Intel’s CIO, and Mark Norman, the president of Zipcar, discuss how they do it, with Andy McAfee of MIT’s Center for Digital Business and Didier Bonnet of Capgemini Consulting’s digital transformation practice.

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Transparency as a Competitive Advantage: Think Very Carefully About Communicating Your Data Sharing Initiatives

In the weeks following revelations that the NSA has a domestic spying network that taps the electronic and telephone communiqués of nearly every American, consumers have intensified their concerns about corporate complicity in government data snooping. That leads to the question: Are we at the beginning of a consumer backlash that will stymie expected economic growth related to data-sharing? Or are consumers resisting the inevitable: a new era of diminished privacy?

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Mitigation or Adaptation? Lessons from Abolition in the Battle Over Climate Policy

Although both mitigation and adaptation are needed to address climate change risks, says MIT professor John Sterman, adapting to climate change may be taking resources that could be better spent on mitigation and prevention. We have the ingenuity to successfully tackle this complex issue, and can look at the lessons learned from the abolition of slavery to help guide us.

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Mayo Clinic Leads Social Conversations About Healthcare

The Mayo Clinic has been able to leverage and enhance its reputation as a trusted source of health information through a robust online presence and expansive social media program. Through its YouTube channel, Twitter feed, and Facebook page, it brings health information to hundreds of thousands of consumers. The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media coordinates and focuses the Clinic’s various social media initiatives and programs.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Lil Larkie.
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Procedural Versus Strategic Approaches to Social Media

Is your company’s social media team grounded in the culture of your organization? Younger employees often have a procedural understanding of social media tools but need strategic vision, argues Boston College’s Jerry Kane. The most effective social media initiatives may be partnerships between younger employees experimenting with social media technologies while more experienced employees harness their enthusiasm and ideas to give them strategic direction.

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The Pitfalls of Using Online and Social Data in Big Data Analysis

Is Twitter a litmus test for how a segment of society is acting — or thinking — at any given moment? Not quite. Striking new research out of Princeton University and the University of North at Carolina Chapel Hill suggests that inferences based on how people use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be reconsidered because these platforms represent skewed samples from which it is difficult to draw accurate conclusions.

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Valuing Influentials Means More than Just Counting Connections

New research shows that marketers who want to determine the value of a particular online influencer need to look beyond just the size of a person’s network connections. Zsolt Katona, assistant professor at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, found that the value of an influencer depends on underlying factors in the network structure of that individual with the target set of consumers. Specifically, Katona found that people who provide sole influence over consumers are the most valuable.

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Big Data’s Travails Don’t Mean It’s Derailed

Executives are growing dismissive of Big Data’s value. Even the best companies can struggle to get good results from their data. But data isn’t getting smaller, it’s getting much, much larger. Corporate executives should look at what’s emerging from universities like MIT, where researchers are beginning to get answers to longstanding big questions in healthcare, public policy and finance.

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One Size Does Not Fit All in Social Media

How can corporations get more value from their use of social media? They can start by paying attention to research into developmental psychology, argues Boston College’s Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane. Understanding why people use social media differently at different ages can provide considerable insight for corporations that want to interact with customers.

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Analytics is Transforming Customer Service: Should We Worry?

Customer service and … cognitive computing? Really?

Yes, it’s happening. A recent Forbes article, IBM’s Watson Now a Customer Service Agent, Coming to Smartphones Soon, describes cognitive computing’s growing influence on customer service at a wide range of consumer-facing organizations — think financial services, telecoms, retail and insurance companies. ANZ Bank in South Africa offers a glimpse into a present that sounds more fictional than real.

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Sustainable Finance: 7 Steps in Managing Reputational Risk

Financial institutions’ funding decisions makes them gatekeepers for sustainable development. But how do they develop the policies and procedures that will guide how they make decisions and satisfy stakeholders? According to Olivier Jaeggi of ECOFACT, effective decision-making for sustainability can be summed up in a set of seven best practices.

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New Energy Policies for the World’s Sixth Largest Bank

Crédit Agricole, the sixth largest bank in the world, puts its money where its principles are in its recently released social and environmental policies. In keeping with its stated policy of supporting projects that are “sustainably vitalizing,” the bank’s policies prohibit funding energy projects that rely heavily on unsustainable fuels.

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Social Business Is Fast Gaining Ground Across All Industries

In the second annual survey from the MIT and Deloitte Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project, businesspersons from 12 industries were asked if social business was “important to their organization today.” Respondents from all industries reported an increase in importance from the previous year. The energy and utilities industry had the biggest year to year increase, while the technology/media/telecommunications sector rated social business as highest in importance for both years.

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Big Data and Big Change Management: A Path Forward

MIT Sloan School of Management recently held a two-day executive education course, Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler, designed to provide organizations with both an overview of big data and a few techniques to harness some of the illusive power of data. But in all the discussions that surfaced around the big issues from big data, the reality that many organizations grapple with is change management.

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Educating Executives Online in Four Dimensions

I am the proud recipient of an MIT Sloan Executive Education Course certification. Or, my avatar is.

MIT Sloan’s Big Data 4Dx executive education course, held simultaneously in Cambridge and in the virtual world this April, was the first ever to use a gaming interface. Think Second Life for the professional set.

Through the AvayaLive Engage platform, we online students were transported (as avatars) to a virtual auditorium, the classroom setting for the two-day Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler course.

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With 3-D Printing, the Shoe Really Fits

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Few new technologies receive more intense interest than 3-D printing, with some predicting that it will revolutionize manufacturing. That promise remains emergent. But it is taking shape in some industries, such as shoes. The shoe company New Balance thinks that within five years it will custom-make shoes with 3-D printers. And there are already entrepreneurial fashion designers trying to leverage 3-D printing to build up their presence in the market.

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