Frontiers

Train Your People to Think in Code

The future of work will entail thinking not just analytically, but also algorithmically — so companies need to retrain workers for writing code, not formulas. Organizations that manage to make code the natural language for diffusing analysis across their organizations can often grow and innovate faster than their peers.

Four Profiles of Successful Digital Executives

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  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 10 min 

Hoping a jack-of-all-trades can lead your organization’s digital transition is unrealistic. We found four distinct types of successful digital executives who can best provide vision and purpose for digital. Crucially, each type has unique strengths and performs best in different contexts.

The Plight of the Graying Tech Worker

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

High-skilled immigration is dramatically transforming the tech sector in the United States. U.S. tech workers over age 40 have good reasons to be concerned. In addition to competing with greater numbers of skilled foreign workers, older tech workers are now also more likely than younger workers to lose their jobs when technical work moves overseas.

Revisiting the Jobs Artificial Intelligence Will Create

It can be easy to get caught up in all the uncertainty and speculation around the future of automation, but when we focus on the future, we may fail to see what’s happening right in front of us. In this audio interview, MIT SMR editor in chief Paul Michelman revisits the work of Accenture researchers Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson to discuss what’s changed in the AI landscape and what leaders should be thinking about next.

How Managers Can Best Support a Gig Workforce

The rise of digital giants in the gig economy has brought new scrutiny to how companies should manage contingent workers. This new landscape offers new flexibility and opportunity, but workers also face unpredictability, with inconsistent incomes and scant benefits. Companies and managers can take three practical measures to help support these workers in the future.

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How Digital Trust Drives Culture Change

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  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 10 min 

Beliefs and behaviors in today’s virtual world blur the definitions and boundaries of responsibility for data privacy, which is reshaping consumers’ expectations of protection. Organizations seeking to adapt their culture toward better digital trust face many challenges but can benefit from four activities in their journey toward better digital trust.

How You Can Have More Impact as a People Analyst

In the messy real world of ambiguous evidence and contentious objectives, organizational decisions — especially those about the people you’re hiring, developing, managing, and trying to retain — usually hinge on relationships and trust. So if you work in people analytics, you must learn to traffic in that currency to make an impact. It’s not enough to be right. You also have to sell your model or idea. These tactics can help.

Getting Your Employees Ready for Work in the Age of AI

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  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 7 min 

How can companies and employees find common ground when it comes to skill development and investment in AI capabilities? To start, senior executives should seek clarity around capability gaps and determine which skills their people need. From there, leaders should take an approach that advances those skills for human-AI collaboration.

Career Management Isn’t Just the Employee’s Job

Now that companies have replaced rigid hierarchies with flatter, more fluid structures to promote agile ways of working, they have also made it harder for employees to chart a path for growth and advancement. This challenge is also a concern for employers, who must — for the sake of engagement and retention — show high performers how they can progress within the organization. Analytics can help highlight opportunities for getting ahead.

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The Myths and Realities of Business Ecosystems

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  • Read Time: 13 min 

The rise of ecosystems requires a new way of thinking about business: the ecosystems perspective. If we can describe this unique perspective, and clear up the myths and confusions surrounding the use of the term, we position ourselves to design strategy effectively in ecosystems.

How to Read and Respond to Weak Digital Signals

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  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 8 min 

In the digital age, the competitive landscape can be transformed in the blink of an eye. Companies can use weak digital signals to help redefine their offerings and the scale and scope of how they compete. Companies that can’t do this in a timely manner put themselves at a competitive disadvantage because they must invest in additional resources to catch up.

Self-Reports Spur Self-Reflection

The disadvantages of asking people to rate themselves are obvious. For instance: You could fake your way to a higher score, or you might lack self-awareness. But self-report surveys have advantages, too. They make data collection efficient, and nobody but you has 24-7 access to your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. And here’s another benefit many people don’t consider: The act of answering the questions can promote greater self-awareness, which opens the door to self-development.

Can We Really Test People for Potential?

A good psychometric test can easily outperform a résumé scan and interview at predicting job performance and retention. Yet personality testing and other ways of analyzing potential present some significant challenges: For instance, not all assessments pass the sniff test, and people’s personalities vary from moment to moment, often depending on the challenge at hand. We need a finer-grained understanding of human potential.

The Surprising Value of Obvious Insights

Findings don’t have to be earth-shattering to be useful. In fact, obvious insights can help you overcome three barriers to change in your organization: resistance to new data (“But that’s not what my experience has shown”), resistance to change itself (“But that’s the way we’ve always done it”), and organizational uniqueness bias (“That will never work here”). You can also gain trust by confirming what people already believe.

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Navigating a New Industrial Infrastructure

Converging technologies are realigning how organizations operate in an increasingly connected world. Companies that take the time to understand and invest in crucial technologies will benefit from lower barriers to entry in new markets and sectors and greater ease in developing and scaling new capabilities in the next generation of business.

The Internet of (Wonderful and Scary) Things

The benefits of smart devices are wide-ranging: the IoT-powered communication and analytics have the potential to do more than just add convenience to our daily lives, but to actually radically improve the way we work and live. But without taking the right cybersecurity measures, products can fail before they have a chance to see wide adoption.

Learning From China’s Digital Disrupters

Digital newcomers who understand their consumers can change the economic status quo. This has been true in China and its banking industry in recent years. The financial arms of Alibaba have used powerful consumer experience insights from their digital ecosystems — and altered the nature of competition for incumbents in the process.

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