Big Ideas Initiatives

MIT Sloan Management Review’s Big Ideas Initiatives develop innovative, original research on the issues transforming our fast-changing business environment.

We conduct global surveys and in-depth interviews with front-line leaders working at a range of companies from Silicon Valley startups to multinational organizations to deepen our understanding of current trends and their influence on how people work and lead.

Working with collaborative partners, we publish our findings in annual research reports, case studies, videos, articles, and interactive data visualizations.

For over a decade, MIT SMR’s Big Ideas Initiatives have explored topics such as artificial intelligence, digital leadership, sustainability, data and analytics, the internet of things, and performance management.

MIT SMR’s Big Ideas Research Reports

Achieving Individual — and Organizational — Value With AI


Achieving Individual — and Organizational — Value With AI

New research shows that employees derive individual value from AI when using the technology improves their sense of competency, autonomy, and relatedness. Likewise, organizations are far more likely to obtain value from AI when their workers do.

To Be a Responsible AI Leader, Focus on Being Responsible


To Be a Responsible AI Leader, Focus on Being Responsible

New research shows that although leaders agree that responsible AI should be a top management concern, few have prioritized such initiatives. As AI failures expose companies and their customers to risks, and regulatory attention grows, evidence points to the value of cultivating RAI policies even before an AI system rollout.

Orchestrating Workforce Ecosystems


Orchestrating Workforce Ecosystems

New research examines the challenges of leading and coordinating workforces that increasingly rely on external contributors.

Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise

Future of the Workforce

Future of Leadership

Research on the ever-changing nature of leadership looks at the evolving mindsets and skills executives need to keep pace with changes in our fast-evolving world. The 2021 research report, “Leadership's Digital Transformation: Leading Purposefully in an Era of Context Collapse” suggests leaders have overlooked a crucial component in digital transformation: themselves. The report offers actionable recommendations to help leaders transform themselves and their organizations in critical ways.

Performance Management

MIT SMR’s research on performance management focuses on the tensions between traditional ways of working and newer styles of team-based collaboration and the implications they have for managing individual, team, and organizational performance. Through interview-driven research reports and case studies, the initiative explores the benefits and dangers of technological approaches to feedback and performance improvement, implications for the human resources function, and the future of organizational structures.

Strategic Measurement

The Strategic Measurement initiative explores leadership's burgeoning use of next-generation measures, including key performance indicators. Through a series of research reports, video interviews, and an interactive self-assessment, these programs explore the role of key performance indicators (KPIs) as a leadership tool. A key, cross-cutting theme is to develop a deeper understanding of best practices around KPIs: What distinguishes KPIs from other metrics?

Digital Leadership

The Digital Leadership initiative explores the growing use of digital technologies in the business landscape. Through a series of annual reports, blogs, articles, and case studies, the exploration examines how companies are cultivating opportunities and addressing risks in a fast-moving, digital environment.

Read the latest research report, Accelerating Digital Innovation Inside and Out.

Competing With Data and Analytics

The Competing With Data and Analytics initiative has investigated how technology enables competitiveness, answering the key question: How are organizations leveraging data and analytics to increase operational efficiency, engage key stakeholders, and report on business successes?

Leading Sustainable Organizations

MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) focused for eight years on the topic of sustainability. Over the course of the program, the partnership produced cutting-edge research on business adoption of sustainable practices and the integration of sustainability into business strategy.

We developed detailed analyses of the business cases for sustainability, sustainability-related profitability, and issues around collaboration and investment. Our recent focus has been the interface between corporations and the benefits of sustainable business practices.

Internet of Things

As organizations continue to champion the value of data to shape their futures, MIT SMR took a closer look at the internet of things. Our research found that obtaining business value using the connections the IoT creates between an organization and its customers, suppliers, and competitors depends on companies’ willingness to share data with other organizations.

Social Business

MIT SMR first investigated the topic of social business in 2010, long before Facebook boasted billions of monthly users and dominated digital advertising spending and e-commerce logins.

Our initial research and new thought leadership explore the challenges and opportunities presented by social media.