Exploring the Digital Future of Management

Video Series: Following the Digital Thread

Our eight-part video series explores how integrated digital technologies can transform business.

PROLOGUE: The Path Toward the Digital Enterprise

EPISODE 1: Revolutionizing Supply Chains

EPISODE 2: Creating a Smart Part and Managing Its Life Cycle

EPISODE 3: Augmenting Part Design With Topology Optimization

EPISODE 4: A Digital Safety Net

EPISODE 5: Fabricating Within the Digital Thread

EPISODE 6: Testing and Validation

EPISODE 7: How the Digital Thread Weaves Its Way Through the Business

EPISODE 8: The Digital Thread Takes Flight

EPILOGUE: Beyond Manufacturing

Switching Technologies

The Hybrid Trap: Why Most Efforts to Bridge Old and New Technology Miss the Mark

March 5, 2018 | Fernando F. Suarez, James Utterback, Paul von Gruben, and Hye Young Kang

Mature companies often lack the vision and the commitment to fully commit to new technologies — even when consumers are ready for them. This leads firms to develop watered down products with limited capabilities and leaves them exposed to upstart competitors.

Bringing Products to Market


A Better Way to Bring Science to Market

Frontiers |

New markets for judgment bridge critical gaps between scientific breakthroughs and commercial markets.


The Power of Product Recommendation Networks

Frontiers |

Online product recommendation networks can spread demand from one product to another.


The Store Is Dead — Long Live the Store

Legacy offline stores and online retailers are each finding their way to a new kind of shopping experience: the showroom.


Finding Applications for Technologies Beyond the Core Business

Many companies overlook the potential of new applications for products they have sold for years.

The Future of Work

How Leaders Face the Future of Work

Some leaders have failed to realize that the daily lives of those who work in their organizations will inevitably be transformed over the coming decades. But it’s the responsibility of leaders to create clarity about the future of work. That means being engaged with creating a narrative about the future of jobs, actively championing the learning agenda, and role modeling work flexibility — for instance, by taking paternity leave or working from home.

Planning for the Future of Work

It’s not going to be enough to identify what jobs will be still be available to humans once computers expand their repertoire. We have to reimagine work altogether.


Improving Business Communication




Is Your Company Creative Enough?

Inspiring Employee Creativity

Frontiers |

Digital technologies are making work increasingly thought-driven, not muscle-powered. In this environment, planning and execution are merely table stakes for leadership. Real leaders must inspire and reward employee ingenuity, and must be bold enough to move creativity from the organization’s periphery to its center. To do that, leaders need to adopt five personal behavior changes, including resisting the temptation to tell people what to do and embracing distributed leadership.

Learning the Art of Business Improvisation

The ability to innovate and rapidly respond to changes in the business environment is critical to competitiveness and success. Improvisation and experimentation combined with focus and flexibility are needed to identify new business opportunities and effectively execute projects. But while improvisation may seem to be spontaneous, managers can foster it through the deliberate development of certain processes and capabilities in an organization’s culture, team structure, and management practices.


Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy