Frontiers

Navigating the Contested Rise of Fintech

Technology adoption based on the technology alone is bound to miss the mark. Fintech will not disrupt the financial industry overnight, but when it does, it will reflect a larger and more complex social debate than its inherent technological or economic merits. Managers need to get involved in this debate now, so they can navigate the uncertainty, and decide to adopt it — or not.

Three People-Centered Design Principles for Deep Learning

As organizations begin adopting deep learning, leadership must ensure that artificial neural networks are accurate and precise to avoid negative impacts on business decisions that hurt customers, products, and services. A designed-centered approach helps address both these short-term concerns as well as the long-term concerns that machines might displace humans when it comes to business decision-making.

You Can’t Afford to Please Everyone

While giving customers what they want — and as rapidly as possible — may be a worthy goal for service organizations, Amy R. Ward at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business notes that businesses can’t always afford to do this. Her research uses probability to understand how best to align resources with customer demand and improve operational efficiency on a day-to-day basis.

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Customer Participation

Even though frontline employees are committed to advancing the objectives of the business, they sometimes see themselves as caught between representing the views of customers and what they think is reasonable. To preserve morale, businesses must keep employees engaged and confident that management has their backs.

‘Just Enough’ Piracy Can Be a Good Thing

When piracy is rampant, its negative impact makes manufacturers and retailers worse off — but anti-piracy measures are often expensive. Before going full force against piracy, organizations should ponder whether doing so would be a worthwhile investment. One factor to consider: Research shows that a moderate level of piracy — not too much, not too little — can actually benefit the manufacturer, the retailer, and consumers, all at the same time.

How Cities Should Prepare for Artificial Intelligence

A key driver of AI’s role in the global economy will be how cities deal with technological developments. Many cities plan to become “smart cities” armed with AI-driven processes, like AI-based traffic control systems. But simply adopting these new technologies won’t be enough to guarantee their success. Like organizations and education experts, cities need to assess and prepare for AI-related skills gaps.

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How Business Ecosystems Rise (and Often Fall)

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 13 min 

It’s tempting to look at high-profile business ecosystems and assume that the model is a reliable formula for success. In fact, many ecosystems never earn a significant market share, and only about 15% dominate their markets over time. An analysis shows that most share a common life cycle, with several critical windows along the way. For management, the key is understanding these windows and adjusting the company’s strategy over time to meet the unique requirements of each.

Why Teams Still Need Leaders

While flat organizational structures have gained favor in recent years, hierarchies continue to provide many important benefits, says the University of Michigan’s Lindy Greer. Depending on the circumstances, the answer isn’t to eliminate hierarchy but to train leaders and teams to use it flexibly.

What Tech Pioneers Can Learn From Emerging Markets

Technology leaders are not shy about pushing the boundaries of their industries, and sometimes they go further — challenging the prevailing rules of society at large. The eagerness of entrepreneurs to test limits isn’t surprising to Tarun Khanna, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School, who has spent more than two decades studying how business strategies play out in emerging markets.

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Why Personalization Matters for Consumer Privacy

Many different factors determine how consumers balance data privacy against a desire for personalized products and services — age, geography, and education among them. Companies can help their customers feel more comfortable with the data collection needed for personalized service by understanding customer values and maintaining transparency and good communication when it comes to data collection.

The Digital Future of Strawberries

Technology may hold the answer to two of the knottiest problems faced by the U.S. economy — the shortage of farm labor and the excess of vehicle traffic. But there’s a flip side: It also enables surveillance so widespread and intrusive, companies can track even our heartbeats — and the data collected by these sensors is far from secure.

Learning to Love the AI Bubble

  • Frontiers

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 5 min 

All bubbles are different. Bubbles occur when the market value of assets decouple 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. Unlike the housing bubble, the effects of a bursting AI bubble wouldn’t cause great harm.

How to Choose the Right Digital Leader for Your Company

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Striking the right balance between competence and credibility is essential to digital leaders’ success, but it depends on what a company expects its CDO to do. While external candidates can bring critical digital competence and experience to organizations seeking a better digital footing, they may struggle to build the necessary credibility for organizational change.

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