Big Ideas Initiatives

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

We conduct global surveys and in-depth interviews with frontline 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 the practice of management.

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 including artificial intelligence, digital leadership, sustainability, data and analytics, the internet of things, and performance management.

MIT SMR’s Big Ideas Research Reports

Accelerating Digital Innovation Inside and Out

Accelerating Digital Innovation Inside and Out


In the 2019 Digital Business Report, MIT SMR and Deloitte’s survey analysis and executive interviews unveil the distinctive characteristics of innovation in digitally maturing organizations.

Performance Management’s Digital Shift

Performance Management’s Digital Shift


The 2019 Performance Management Global Executive Study and Research Project by MIT SMR and McKinsey & Co. finds that organizations are focusing less on individual employees and more on skills and teams. Feedback — how it’s both given and acted upon — is more data-driven and flexible.

Artificial Intelligence in Business Gets Real

Artificial Intelligence in Business Gets Real


The 2018 Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy Report shows early leaders are building competencies and pushing forward in their AI efforts, with an eye toward scale and revenue generation over cost efficiencies.

Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy

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 our latest research report, Coming of Age Digitally. For more on digital leadership:

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.

For more:

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?

For more:

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. Through a series of regular blogs and a forthcoming report and interactive experience, the research focuses on the specific attitudes and behaviors that distinguish the best leaders.

For more:

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?

For more, consider:

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.
For more, explore:

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.

For further reading: