The week’s must-reads for managing in the digital age, curated by the MIT SMR editors.

Is Your Company Approaching Upskilling the Right Way?

Most companies today recognize the critical issue of re-skilling and upskilling in their organizations, but that doesn’t mean they’re going about solving the issue correctly. For Fast Company, MIT’s Gianni Giacomelli looks at the potential for collective intelligence and collaboration to transform the way organizations help their employees learn new skills for the long term.

Visualize Your Data, But Don’t Make It Too Fussy

With so much data at our fingertips, it can be tempting to want to build out the most interactive, complex visualizations to communicate data findings. But that’s not always the best tactic. As MIT SMR columnist Nancy Duarte writes, “Using data to be persuasive in presentations isn’t about dazzling anyone. It’s about telling a clear story plainly so that your audience understands it and knows why they should jump on board.”

New Survey Data on Technology Leaders vs. Laggards

This week, Accenture released new survey data from over 8,000 companies’ IT systems strategies, finding that companies that think in terms of systems are outpacing competitors. And the competitive stakes are high, with the data revealing Leaders see more than twice the revenue growth as Laggards.

4 Ways to Solve the Advanced Analytics Talent Problem

Advanced analytics workers are usually most interested in working for companies with well-established track records in analytics. This contributes to the concentration of advanced analytics talent in major cities, a global phenomenon that’s especially pronounced in China and India and recognizable in the U.S. in areas like Silicon Valley. But for companies not located in these tech hubs, there are several ways to drill new sources of advanced analytics talent.

Strategic Planning Lessons From Airbnb and Eventbrite Veterans

Annual planning: Two words that, put together, probably fill most people with dread. But with Q3 behind us, strategic planning is top of mind for many managers. With dozens of planning cycles under their belts, two former executives from Airbnb and Eventbrite offer their framework for company planning, with practical takeaways for executives, founders, and even team leaders.

To Compete With Blockchain, Companies Must Cooperate

For authors Don Tapscott and Ricardo Viana Vargas, blockchain is a foundational technology, much like the internet was in the early 1990s. Likewise, the authors report that there is still comparable groundwork to be done along the lines of what early internet pioneers did — and doing that work is critical to enterprise strategy.

Quote of the Week:

“You want to maintain that skill of knowing how to learn something new, that willingness to disrupt yourself, to be at the bottom of a learning curve not knowing how to do something — and to keep that muscle very, very strong. Because when you’re able to do that, as industry volatility comes about — which it will — you’re practiced and prepared.”

—Whitney Johnson, Thinkers50 thought leader and MIT SMR author on How to Manage Your Career in the Age of Uncertainty