Collaboration & Networks

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How Crowdfunding Influences Innovation

Crowdfunding is changing how entrepreneurs bring new products to market. It has allowed thousands of innovating entrepreneurs to raise money, build brand awareness, and join a broader conversation with large numbers of potential backers — all while still in the product development process. But crowdfunding’s potential goes beyond financing and marketing. The people who back projects can also be important sources for product feedback and ideas.

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Crowd-Based Capitalism? Empowering Entrepreneurs in the Sharing Economy

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 12 min 

NYU Stern School of Business professor Arun Sundararajan is excited about the sharing economy. Although the sharing economy presents challenges for both corporations and start-up peer-to-peer marketplaces, Sundararajan sees a host of benefits for what he calls “micro entrepreneurs.” In an interview with MIT Sloan Management Review, Sundararajan discusses the challenges of ensuring success with this alternative business model — and steps companies can take to make sure they’re not left out.

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How to Reconnect for Maximum Impact

Reconnecting with people from previous chapters of one’s life (such as former colleagues, old friends, and other associates) is as valuable, if not more so, than connecting with currently active ties. But some reconnections are more beneficial than others. The challenge: selecting the best ones. The most valuable reconnections often turn out to be people who provide novelty, which can mean reaching out to reconnect with higher-status people or to people you didn’t know very well to begin with.

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When Customers Become Fans

Beijing-based smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. has actively involved enthusiastic customers — known as “Mi Fans” — in both software and hardware development processes. Tech-savvy users test interfaces and products as volunteers, doing much of their communication on the Internet. Customer involvement in the product development life cycle has not only helped Xiaomi reduce R&D costs but also enabled the company to cultivate a sense of participation and pride among lead users.

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Social Media Expands Horizons for Workers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Social media is a tool that allows autistic workers to better express their unique abilities — and tech companies are taking notice. Software giants such as SAP and Microsoft are now actively looking to hire people with autism, and SAP plans to have autistic employees make up at least 1% of its workforce by the year 2020. “Only by employing people who think differently and spark innovation will SAP be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st century,” says Luisa Delgado, a member of the SAP executive board.

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Are You Part of the Email Problem?

Over-reliance on email as a communication tool is sapping people of their time and energy. Author, speaker and consultant Phil Simon says there are better ways — and many new and better tools — to do things. “As consumers, it’s never been easier. Hundreds of millions of us use Dropbox, Facebook, Snapchat, texting, Skype, and other tools to communicate with each other,” says Simon. “Why do we resist change at work?” Embracing new tools, he argues, will result in better communication and far less wasted time.

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‘People Analytics’ Through Super-Charged ID Badges

The data points employees generate about everything from how often they interrupt others to how many people they sit with at lunch tell surprisingly useful stories. Ben Waber, CEO and co-founder of Humanyze, describes how his company is providing the tools and analytics to interpret this social data, helping businesses identify the best collaborative practices of their most effective people.

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Social Media’s Expanding Relationship Universe

Social psychologists studying technology have created new classes of relationships among people. To understand the potential value of social tools within the enterprise, technology platforms need to take into account four factors identified by researchers studying offline social networks — proximities, interactions, relationships and flows.

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Are Social Media’s Benefits Getting Lost in Translation?

One key positive of social media and social networking is that it encourages communication — between the organization and its customers as well as among employees in different departments or even different business units. But particularly among multinational companies, there is one key drawback: language. Even when companies designate an “official” language for communication, the language barrier can impede both outward-facing customer interactions and internal collaboration. One solution: employ a multilingual approach tailored to the organization’s needs.

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The Unexpected Payoffs of Employee “Eavesdropping”

In an experiment with social media, researchers uncovered an interesting and unexpected outcome. When employees were asked if using an internal social network had helped them learn about coworkers’ skills, they all said “No” — yet their ability to identify coworkers who could help in collaborative projects had skyrocketed (as had their performance). How was this possible? The answer: employees had acquired information so incrementally, they were unaware that they’d learned something of value.

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Are Companies Ready to Finally Kill Email?

Embracing social collaboration tools could raise productivity by 25%. So what’s the hold up? The problem is that too many companies have installed the right products and networks but have not implemented them into the fabric of how they work. “Full implementation means not only that people know how to use the new tools from a technological perspective, but that they adjust their communication,” writes Terri L. Griffith, author of The Plugged-In Manager.

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Intro Video: Making Social Business Work

A video introduction to “making social businessCompanies are getting better at managing social tools. A new survey finds that 40% of companies say theyíre getting value out of social business, double the rate of a year earlier. Behind the increased usefulness of social business are companies that have leaders committed to making the technology work, putting it into corporate strategy planks, and developing ways to measure social business and to reward employees for using the technology. But at many companies, social business remains stuck in first gear.

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Video: Making Social Business Work in Organizations

Companies are getting better at managing social tools. A new survey finds that 40% of companies say they’re getting value out of social business, double the rate of a year earlier.

Behind the increased usefulness of social business are companies that have leaders committed to making the technology work. These leaders are also putting it into corporate strategy plans and developing ways to measure social business and to reward employees for using the technology. Still, at many companies, social business remains stuck in first gear.

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Designing Effective Knowledge Networks

In today’s interconnected world, networks for sharing knowledge are important. Authors Katrina Pugh of Columbia University, and Laurence Prusak, coauthor of the book Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know, write that by paying careful attention to eight dimensions of network design, leaders of knowledge networks can facilitate desired behaviors and outcomes.

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BMW Test-Drives Mobile Microvideo

BMW is pursuing consumer-to-consumer marketing using microvideo on mobile phones. The company wants to see if mobile social media can help boost sales. Wolfgang Breyer, head of international advertising, online communications and social media at BMW, says the company wants to see how mobile sharing compares to PC-based sharing, and whether microvideo offers an effective format for consumers. BMW is planning a pilot this fall.

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What Is Social Media, Anyway? (And Why Managers Should Care)

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.

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What Can Managers Learn about Social Media from the Boston Marathon Bombing?

Now that the crisis and chaos of the Boston Marathon bombings and the hunt for the suspects have passed, managers can consider the critical role that social media played in identifying and apprehending the bombers. Key management lessons can be gleaned from these awful events: (1) recognize what is possible for your organization and (2) effective collaboration is a learned skill that, with time and leadership, can improve productivity for a significant number of employees.

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Can CIOs Step Up and Be Leaders in Social Media?

CIOs support social business and want to increase their knowledge about social media in the enterprise, but they face barriers to expanding their role. One of the big challenges is the increase in the IT capabilities and resources of the CMO as more digital tools are used in marketing functions. The roles of the CIO and CMO may be blurring, so the future of the CIO as a leader in social business is uncertain.

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Redesigning Innovation at Chubb

As new markets emerge, large multinationals can find it hard to respond to them quickly. In the mid-2000s, specialty insurer Chubb felt it needed to move faster, both in its product development and in the way it responded to questions and issues field representatives had. Chubb integrated multiple social media tools into a social business platform that has improved response time. It also has held more than 50 online innovation gatherings, yielding several successful new businesses.

Showing 1-20 of 60