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Two questions for AI managers; the DAO of blockchain business; standing up a successful innovation lab.
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Bringing high-tech inventions built on patented technologies to market can be complicated and risky. The threat of added costs from patent infringement lawsuits has led technology companies to pool their talents — and patents — in technology consortia. Joining a tech consortium requires managers to weigh intellectual property value against the value of future collaborations and assess the consortium’s pros and cons for innovation, competition, and market creation.
Unlike agriculture, where cutting-edge technologies are being aggressively adopted, forestry and its related industries are something of a technology laggard. But the prospect of the industry using sensors in the field, both in sawmills and even embedded within trees themselves, is emerging. Eric Hansen and Scott Leavengood, both professors at Oregon State University’s Wood Science and Engineering department, discuss how the Internet of Things could help drive efficiency and improve quality in the forestry sector.
Analytics offers managers a great way to fine-tune processes, but too many executives focus on metrics at the expense of the bigger picture. The blinders and focus that work well to optimize the details of a problem may prevent managers from seeing other options, and intense focus on a narrow measure can address only the well-specified puzzle — resulting in a myopic view of the problem. Executives who desire bigger breakthroughs need to encourage exploration.
At its roots, life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a method to quantify total sustainability impacts — like resource use and environmental damage — over the entire life of a product, from “cradle to grave.” While there is informational value in the basic exercise, the real utility of LCA is comparison — that is, comparing one product’s sustainability impacts with another’s. Given the effort and cost involved, what are the strategic benefits of LCA? And should you be employing such a process?
Chinese companies are opening up a new front in global competition. It centers on what the authors call accelerated innovation — that is, reengineering research and development and innovation processes to make new product development dramatically faster and less costly. The new emphasis is unlikely to generate stunning technological breakthroughs, but it allows Chinese competitors to reduce the time it takes to bring innovative products and services to mainstream markets. It also represents a different way of deploying Chinese cost and volume advantages in global competition.
During a recent Exec Ed course, Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler, MIT Sloan offered its first-ever virtual 4Dx course. Through the AvayaLive Engage platform, online students were transported, as avatars, to a virtual auditorium. That was the classroom setting for the two-day program.
Despite the considerable amount of attention paid to social media by business, the press, and academia, managers still don’t have a clear understanding of what social media actually is. Managers need to understand the nature of social media so that they can understand its strengths and weaknesses for their own business. If they don’t — in a market environment increasingly influenced by social media — they may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
In a webinar recorded in March 2013, the speakers present findings from the recent global study they co-authored, “From Value to Vision: Reimagining the Possible with Data Analytics.” In their study, they identified leaders of the analytics revolution they call “Analytical Innovators.” These companies share three key characteristics: a widely shared belief that data is a core asset; more effective use of more data for faster results; and support for analytics by senior managers shift power and resources to those who make data-driven decisions.
A data and analytics survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review in partnership with SAS Institute Inc. found a strong correlation between the value companies say they generate using analytics and the amount of data they use. The creators of the survey identified five levels of analytics sophistication, with those at Level 5 being most sophisticated and innovative. These analytical innovators in Level 5 had several defining traits. This article explores those traits.
This year’s winning story details how, to build more collaborative and innovative organizations, executives should analyze employee collaboration networks to discover how high-performing individuals and teams connect.
Michael Schrage of the MIT Center for Digital Business asks: “Who do you want your customers to become?” Your answer shows whether just how much authentic innovation you have to offer.
Global design firm IDEO develops rich profiles of employee capabilities and performance and shares them across the organization. The goal: uncover talent and staff projects more smartly.
Innovation doesn’t just come from the geniuses who come up with completely original ideas. Instead, it’s tweakers like the engineers in the British Industrial Revolution and Apple’s Steve Jobs who take existing ideas and turn them into something better.
The single best question companies should ask themselves is what megatrends are coming around the corner. That’s according to MIT Sloan’s Michael A. Cusumano. Two megatrends that stand out in the industries he studies: “the rising importance of industrywide platforms as opposed to stand-alone products, and the rising importance of services or service-like versions of products,” he says.
In this interview, MIT Sloan School of Management professor of management Michael Cusumano discusses traits that will help companies through disruptive transitions. One trait is agility, which has four principles: capabilities rather than strategy; pull rather than push concepts; economies of scope rather than scale; and an emphasis on flexibility rather than efficiency. A second trait is deep, differentiating capabilities, which can be found in processes (such as supply-chain management).
Project leaders should sequence and articulate messaging about their projects in the same way a marketing manager would organize an external branding effort to promote a company’s products and services. Just as product branding creates awareness and sustains value in the minds of an organization’s external customers, shareholders, and constituents, a brand mindset can empower a project leader to develop strategically-timed messages to create visibility and engagement among key targets.
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