We live in a time of rapid technology-driven change. One of the questions this raises for business executives is: What about our business needs to be revamped — and what should remain constant?1
As we were producing this issue of MIT Sloan Management Review, that question seemed especially relevant. Two articles in this issue — “Thriving in an Increasingly Digital Ecosystem” by Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner and “Is Your Business Ready for a Digital Future?” by Gerald C. Kane, Doug Palmer, Anh Nguyen Phillips and David Kiron — directly address the topic of business changes driven by digital technologies. A third article, “How Twitter Users Can Generate Better Ideas,” by Salvatore Parise, Eoin Whelan and Steve Todd, reports on fascinating research about how a digital platform — in this case, the social media network Twitter — is changing the way some businesspeople develop new ideas.
The “How Twitter Users Can Generate Better Ideas” article, which we first published online on the MIT SMR website in early June, quickly attracted attention from Twitter users — several thousand of whom visited the article page on our site or tweeted about the article within the first two days of its online publication. It was exciting to watch, via the Internet, as Twitter users — including the CEO of Twitter, Inc. — rapidly shared some of the article’s highlights around the globe.
Technology will almost certainly continue to transform how we disseminate MIT Sloan Management Review content. Yet despite all of the change in our business, there’s also a degree of continuity that’s occasionally surprising. For example, one of the authors included in this issue, Henry Mintzberg, published his first article in MIT Sloan Management Review — then called Industrial Management Review — in 1967,2 when he was a doctoral candidate at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Mintzberg went on to become a renowned scholar known for pioneering work in areas such as strategy and the role of managers. In this issue of MIT SMR, Mintzberg’s work plays a dual role: He is both cited in the article “Staying in the Know,” by Davide Nicolini, Maja Korica and Keith Ruddle and is the coauthor, with José Carlos Marques, of “Why Corporate Social Responsibility Isn’t a Piece of Cake.”
It’s unusual to have an author publish in MIT SMR over the course of 48 years. But we hope that speaks to something that endures: our commitment to bridging the gap between management scholars and business executives by disseminating important management research and ideas to a business audience.
Martha E. Mangelsdorf
MIT Sloan Management Review
1. For a thoughtful discussion of the importance of developing new strategic narratives that link past, present and future , see S. Kaplan and W. Orlikowski, “Beyond Forecasting: Creating New Strategic Narratives,” MIT Sloan Management Review 56, no. 1 (fall 2014): 23-28.
2. H. Mintzberg, “The Science of Strategy-Making,” Industrial Management Review 8, no. 2 (spring 1967): 71-81.