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Bridging the Leadership Gap Between Tech and Business

  • Read Time: 5 min 

For so many of organizations today, technology is the business. Yet, for many companies, the persistent separation of the IT function within the organization creates siloes and sets up a false dichotomy between technology and business leaders. To remain flexible and adaptable in the face of constant change, business and technology leaders alike need to take bold action.

Why Sports Is a Great Proving Ground for Management Ideas

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Because of its sharp focus on measurable outcomes, the study of sports analytics brings many of the most critical issues in management into high relief. Through the lens of sports, there is a great deal to learn about leadership, performance management, decision-making, innovation, and, most of all, managing with data. MIT SMR’s sports analytics podcast, Counterpoints, is a great entry point to the playing field of data-driven management practice.

New Frontiers in Re-skilling and Upskilling

Everyone at some point will have to spend time either reskilling (learning new skills for a new position) or upskilling (learning current tasks more deeply). Embracing this idea requires an individual sense of agency, but corporations also have to step up. There are promising pilots underway: Some companies are figuring out how to engage on this issue, to the advantage of both individuals and the businesses themselves.

Closing the Gender Gap Is Good for Business

While the corporate world has made progress in advancing women’s careers in leadership roles, there is a long way to go to achieve workplace gender equality. By supporting women’s career development and advancing them into managerial positions, a company’s customers, teams, and bottom line will benefit.

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How Previous Generations Influence Our Decisions

Folktales and stories from our ancestors were designed to keep new listeners from repeating the mistakes of the past. But in an era when employees move between companies at a faster pace than decades ago, leaving little time to transmit organizational mythology, are companies at risk of losing touch with the lessons of the past? In a time of great technological change, which demands reflection and clear corporate culture, this is a vital question.

What Does an AI Ethicist Do?

Microsoft has been active in advocating for an ethical perspective on artificial intelligence, and in 2018 it appointed its first general manager for AI policy and ethics. Tim O’Brien, who had been with the company for 15 years, says his activities as “AI ethics advocate” include extending the community of people who are focused on the ethics topic, meeting with Microsoft customers, and leading a research effort to develop a global perspective on tech ethics.

Imaginary Time Travel as a Leadership Tool

Leaders can help employees manage immediate problems by harnessing the human capacity to think beyond the moment and recognize that “this too shall pass.” Psychological tools such as temporal distancing help ease the sting of current troubles. And the tool of “failure premortems” can help people identify dangerous risks and delusions in new projects by imagining they’re in the future looking back at why a project failed.

Pathways to Progress for Women Entrepreneurs

  • Read Time: 4 min 

The hidden obstacle to women who want to found B2B startups is often rooted in the way they are mentored and advised in the business world. Where men are more often coached in strategy and business tactics, women are more likely to be taught how to avoid internal politics and “fit in” culturally. This difference in mentoring leaves women at a disadvantage with respect to entrepreneurship.

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Let Your Mind Wander

Leisure time does two important jobs for us. Recharging is the obvious one. But it can also heighten our powers of creativity, given the cognitive benefits associated with letting our minds wander — and that gives us an edge over AI in the battle for jobs. Kellogg professor Adam Waytz makes this research-based argument in “Leisure Is Our Killer App,” the lead article in MIT SMR’s package on talent in a digital age. Check it out, along with the other pieces, in the fall issue of the magazine.

Where China Is Leading the Mobility Revolution

  • Read Time: 5 min 

China is shaking off its reputation for “copycatting” and establishing itself as a digital leader. One of the key areas where it’s moving ahead of the U.S. and Europe is transportation. China has made strides in electronic and autonomous vehicles as well as high-speed rail in recent years — and its most important development has been to transform itself into an innovation-focused, entrepreneurial hub of technical prowess.

Why Personalization Matters for Consumer Privacy

Many different factors determine how consumers balance data privacy against a desire for personalized products and services — age, geography, and education among them. Companies can help their customers feel more comfortable with the data collection needed for personalized service by understanding customer values and maintaining transparency and good communication when it comes to data collection.

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Customer Centricity in the Digital Age

  • Read Time: 4 min 

As AI moves from the hype stage to implementation within organizations, retailers and marketers have new competitive opportunities with customer centricity. AI enables companies to apply data about their customers’ wants, needs, and preferences to customize their offerings, create personalized shopping experiences, and make the purchase process simpler and more convenient.

The Digital Future of Strawberries

Technology may hold the answer to two of the knottiest problems faced by the U.S. economy — the shortage of farm labor and the excess of vehicle traffic. But there’s a flip side: It also enables surveillance so widespread and intrusive, companies can track even our heartbeats — and the data collected by these sensors is far from secure.

Make Gender Equality a Value, Not a Priority

  • Read Time: 3 min 

To make gender equality a reality, organizations need to shift their thinking about what it means to them — that is, to make it part of their company’s values and a permanent driver of culture rather than a mere priority that might change in time. Lessons can be learned from the energy sector, which saw a cultural shift take place around another crucial workplace issue: safety.

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