The Best of This Week
The week’s must-reads for managing in the digital age, curated by the MIT SMR editors.
Developing Pandemic-Era Business Models
The pandemic has exacerbated the lack of resilience in traditional business models heavily reliant on human or physical capital, which have struggled to compete against digitally centric companies. To remain relevant and resilient, companies and leaders must strive to build business models using three key components for growth.
When Algorithms Get a Failing Grade
We’ve looked extensively at the positive and negative impact that algorithms can have in organizations, but it’s also critical to examine how algorithms are shaping other parts of society. Take the recent case affecting student testing in the U.K. Students this year were unable to sit for “A-levels” — the standardized final exams that largely determine college admission — and were subject instead to a new algorithm that decided the students’ scores. A whopping 40% of predicted scores were downgraded, many for students from less affluent backgrounds, leading to widespread protest and a quick reversal by the government.
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Corporate Social Responsibility Can Boost Organizational Resilience
Businesses are most concerned about finding new sources of revenue and cutting costs to stay afloat during the ongoing pandemic crisis — but those aren’t the only risks they need to manage. They must also consider the impact of their activities on their myriad stakeholders. Those organizations that don’t attend to corporate social responsibility may risk making four mistakes that can hurt their performance, their reputation, or both.
How a Legendary Entertainer Steered Her Empire Through the Pandemic
In an interview with Billboard, country music icon Dolly Parton offers a glimpse of her leadership as “Dreamer-in-Chief” of the Dollywood Company — a sprawling empire encompassing the Dollywood theme park, Parton’s many movie and book projects, branding and licensing deals, and more than 50 years’ worth of music. Diversifying her income stream, touring strategically, and retaining control of her music catalog are just a few of the factors that have made Parton a business dynamo with widespread appeal.
Two Key Capabilities Drive Growth in Digital Ecosystems
High-growth companies don’t go it alone. Many are achieving results by creating and orchestrating digitally connected ecosystems — coordinated networks of enterprises, devices, and customers — that create value for all of their participants. Digital ecosystem growth depends on two partnering capabilities: digital readiness and curation. Both capabilities are positively correlated with higher ecosystem market share and higher revenues.
What Else We’re Reading This Week:
- How to mingle in a virtual workplace
- To gain value from AI, leaders must focus on managing gaps in skills and processes
- Months ago, grocery workers were hailed as heroes. Now, “they don’t even treat us like humans anymore”
Quote of the Week:
“The pandemic shows no signs of abating anytime soon, and the challenges will continue to mount. It’s crucial that leaders and managers stay on top of what our employees need in order to meet those challenges — and show our teams that their voices will continue being heard.”
— Adam Roseman, cofounder and CEO of Steady, in “Leading Remotely Requires New Communication Strategies”