Spring 2019 Issue
Volume 60, Issue # 3

Access the full Table of Contents below.
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Special Report: Leading Digital Change

The Only Way Manufacturers Can Survive

The Only Way Manufacturers Can Survive

For industrial manufacturers, digital transformation is the only way to stay alive.

How Digital Leadership Is(n’t) Different

How Digital Leadership Is(n’t) Different

Leaders need a blend of traditional and new skills to steer their organizations into the future.

It Pays to Have a Digitally Savvy Board

It Pays to Have a Digitally Savvy Board

Having board members with digital business experience is a new financial performance differentiator.

“Leading Digital Change”

This collection of MIT SMR articles offers hints for leaders on what to expect and how to overcome the hurdles as they integrate digital into their business model. (Registration required.)

Articles included in this collection:

The Only Way Manufacturers Can Survive
By Vijay Govindarajan and Jeffrey R. Immelt
 
How Digital Leadership Is(n’t) Different
By Gerald C. Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan Copulsky, and Garth Andrus
 
It Pays to Have a Digitally Savvy Board
By Peter Weill, Thomas Apel, Stephanie L. Woerner, and Jennifer S. Banner

Leading Digital Change - PDF

Deloitte

Free download of this collection MIT SMR articles is brought to you by Deloitte.

From the Editor

Growth Is Not a Zero-Sum Game

March 12, 2019 | Lisa Burrell

The Spring 2019 issue of MIT SMR takes a close look at market evolution and growth. Does a disruptive industry’s success necessarily come at the expense of another entity? Or are there mechanisms to business growth that can expand opportunities without (necessarily) spelling doom to existing systems?

Features

What to Do When Industry Disruption Threatens Your Career

If your industry faces disruption, first diagnose the volatility. Then act preemptively to disrupt your own career.

A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions

A rigorous process for navigating strategic decisions can mitigate errors and improve judgment.

Understanding China’s Next Wave of Innovation

Thousands of emerging innovators in China pose a threat to established multinationals.

When Patients Become Innovators

Health care consumers are contributing their skills, money, and time to develop effective solutions.

Cover Story

Nondisruptive Creation: Rethinking Innovation and Growth

February 21, 2019 | W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

Many people have come to view disruption as a synonym for innovation. This single-minded focus leads companies to overlook an alternative path to growth: the nondisruptive creation of brand-new markets where none existed before. It’s time to embrace the idea that companies can create without destroying — and expand the conversation about the problems they can solve and the opportunities they can seize.

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Frontiers

Exploring the Digital Future of Management

Columns

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Executive Briefings

An Executive Guide to the Spring 2019 Issue

March 12, 2019 | MIT Sloan Management Review

Advice for shielding your company — and career — from disruption. A step-by-step structured decision-making process. Entrepreneurship in China and medical innovations from patients. That’s what you’ll find in MIT SMR’s Spring issue.

How to Get Others to Adopt Your Recommendation

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

When a business is growing fast, decisions can get lost in the fray — especially if it’s unclear that a decision even needs to be made. People in the workplace bring recommendations to four audiences: a manager or top executive (those who approve a recommendation), and peers or a broader set of stakeholders (those who execute a recommendation). To sell an idea and get others to take action, you have to understand what your particular audience needs to hear.

How Digital Leadership Is(n’t) Different

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 14 min 

Many of us assume that the leadership handbook must be completely rewritten for the digital age. Is this true? Or are we overly focused on what’s changing and thus neglecting the fundamentals? There is something to be said for both arguments. While many core leadership skills remain the same, the demands of digital disruption call for certain new ones, as well. This article explores which are which and what we can learn from organizations that are digitally maturing.

How You Can Have More Impact as a People Analyst

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 10 min 

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.

A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 20 min 

Many decisions about strategy require that senior executives make evaluative judgments on the basis of extensive, complex information. Such work is prone to common errors, but a disciplined, sequential approach can mitigate those errors and improve the quality of both one-off and recurrent decisions in an array of business domains. The process described in this article is easy to learn, involves little additional work, and (within limits) leaves room for intuition.

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Growth Is Not a Zero-Sum Game

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

The Spring 2019 issue of MIT SMR takes a close look at market evolution and growth. Does a disruptive industry’s success necessarily come at the expense of another entity? Or are there mechanisms to business growth that can expand opportunities without (necessarily) spelling doom to existing systems?

Career Management Isn’t Just the Employee’s Job

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 5 min 

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.

The Only Way Manufacturers Can Survive

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 27 min 

Although most manufacturers are beginning to flirt with digital technologies, not one has successfully pulled off a digital transformation. CEOs still have to figure out its art — and science — forcing them to draw up their game plans on the fly, which inevitably leads to tension and trauma. But they are learning. Here’s how GE has navigated its own digital transformation process.

Nondisruptive Creation: Rethinking Innovation and Growth

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 23 min 

Many people have come to view disruption as a synonym for innovation. This single-minded focus leads companies to overlook an alternative path to growth: the nondisruptive creation of brand-new markets where none existed before. It’s time to embrace the idea that companies can create without destroying — and expand the conversation about the problems they can solve and the opportunities they can seize.

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When Patients Become Innovators

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 17 min 

Patients are increasingly developing sophisticated medical devices and services to meet their own needs — often without help from companies that produce or sell medical products. In this way they are able to benefit from advances that aren’t commercially available. Here, we’ll look at two examples — a solution for managing Type 1 diabetes and one for managing Crohn’s disease — and consider them within the context of the free innovation movement that’s gaining momentum across industries.

Self-Reports Spur Self-Reflection

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 8 min 

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.

It Pays to Have a Digitally Savvy Board

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 10 min 

Companies whose boards of directors have digital savvy outperform companies whose boards lack it: Among companies with over $1 billion of revenues, 24% had digitally savvy boards, and those businesses significantly outperformed others on key metrics such as revenue growth, ROA, and market cap growth. Companies can improve their boards by knowing what characteristics to look for in existing and new board members, managing board agendas differently, and cultivating new learning opportunities.

What to Do When Industry Disruption Threatens Your Career

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 20 min 

Volatility in an industry should concern not only the companies within it but also the people who work for them. To stay ahead of developments that may disrupt your professional life, you must make two evidence-based diagnoses: How volatile is your industry? And what explains the volatility? The answers will equip you to disrupt your own career preemptively.

Can We Really Test People for Potential?

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 10 min 

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.

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Understanding China’s Next Wave of Innovation

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 16 min 

In recent years, a handful of Chinese companies like Alibaba, Haier, and Tencent have garnered a lot of attention as they have emerged as global innovators. They are challenging the R&D strategies of foreign companies and offering lessons on how to make ideas commercially viable. But there’s another, less obvious force to be reckoned with in China: thousands of innovative companies that are quietly disrupting numerous industries and developing new products and new business models.

The Surprising Value of Obvious Insights

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 7 min 

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.