The Five Bestselling MIT SMR Articles of 2019

This year’s bestselling articles highlight new research on perennial challenges for managers and organizations.

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This year’s bestselling articles examine perennial challenges for leaders and organizations. From predicting how technology will affect markets and outcomes to creating frameworks for strategic decision-making, this collection of articles provides managers with practical insights for leading in an age of uncertainty and disruption.

1. The Magic That Makes Customer Experiences Stick

Stefan Thomke

Research has shown that memorable experiences can drive customer decisions as much as price and functionality. Despite the insights gleaned about customers through advanced technologies and data analysis, something still seems to be missing for most companies.

That missing ingredient is emotion. Years ago, when the author first asked his executive education students for their most memorable experiences as customers, he was surprised by the language they chose: Made me feel special. Really cared. Trusted me. Surprised us. These executives weren’t using the standard language of business. Instead, they were describing emotional impact.

The rational approaches taught at most business schools — offer customers more value for their money, add features, make service more efficient — are not enough. Creating memorable experiences for customers also requires a bit of emotional magic.

2. Learning to Love the AI Bubble

Philipp Gerbert and Michael Spira

All bubbles are different. Bubbles occur when the market value of assets decouples from their intrinsic value, and expectations of rising valuations generate investor demand. Many ambitious infrastructure projects that produced canals, railways, and telecom networks were fueled by bubbles. With investments in artificial intelligence rising rapidly, especially in China and the United States, two questions arise: Are we heading toward an AI bubble? And if so, how bad would it be if the bubble were to burst?

Having studied AI intensely over the course of two years, the authors look to answer these questions, finding that first, yes, today’s fascination with all things AI has most of the trappings of a financial bubble. But unlike the housing bubble, the effects of a bursting AI bubble wouldn’t cause great harm.

3. What to Do When Industry Disruption Threatens Your Career

Boris Groysberg, Whitney Johnson, and Eric Lin

Volatility in an industry should concern not only the companies within it but also the people who work for them.

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