Technology Innovation

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Developing Successful Strategic Partnerships With Universities

Collaborations between companies and universities are critical drivers of the innovation economy. As many corporations look to open innovation to augment their internal R&D efforts, universities have become essential partners. However, companies often struggle to establish and run university partnerships effectively.

Digital Transformation On Purpose

As digital technology advances, the opportunity to use it to create a more sustainable, equitable world should not be overlooked. The first step: Define key terms and set up a framework for understanding how the digital revolution can also become a revolution for sustainable development.

Focusing on What 90% of Businesses Do Now Is a Big Mistake

It’s not smart to base any part of your strategy on what you see in the rear-view mirror — and that’s particularly true when you develop strategies for navigating modern, thorny environmental and social challenges. The norms and expectations about how companies manage sustainability issues are shifting fast: Just six years ago, only 20% of the S&P 500 companies produced sustainability reports, while by 2016, 82% did. Change is coming to business — and executives need to adjust.

Sustaining Advantage With Transitory Technologies

Just when you have your data collection and analysis systems in place, technology changes mean that your company needs new, updated systems. This is a problem for many companies — but it can also be an opportunity. Organizations that work with data from old and new equipment can learn more about the shortcomings that modern techniques have in this context and can gain advantage in developing tools that no one else has.

Your Company Doesn’t Need a Digital Strategy

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As sexy as it is to speculate about new technologies such as AI, robots, and the internet of things, the focus on technology can steer the conversation in a dangerous direction. Because when it comes to digital transformation, digital is not the answer. Transformation is. In various industries, including banking, paint, and shipbuilding, digital leaders are finding that technology’s value comes from doing business differently because technology makes it possible.

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Five Management Strategies for Getting the Most From AI

A global survey by the McKinsey Global Institute finds that AI is delivering real value to companies that use it across operations. C-level executives report that when they adopt AI at scale — meaning they deploy AI across technology groups, use AI in the most core parts of their value chains, and have the full support of their executive leadership — they are finding not just cost-cutting opportunities, but new potential for business growth, too.

Digital Disruption Is a People Problem

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The key problem facing organizations with respect to digital disruption is the different rates at which people, organizations, and policy respond to technological advances. The gaps between innovations and their adoption — and organizations’ ability to adapt — pose a challenge for companies.

Accelerate Access to Data and Analytics With AI

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Detailed and data-rich insights won’t help your company if your employees don’t know where to find them — but that’s a problem AI can solve. Machine learning can enable faster organizational learning by helping each employee quickly understand what others in the organization understand — forming a knowledge distribution network.

Supply Chains Built for Speed and Customization

Thanks to emerging technologies like 3-D printing, manufacturers can offer consumers customized products and do so with unprecedented speed. Intrigued by a new product you saw in a YouTube video? Well, someday soon you may be able to personalize it, order it via the company’s website, and have it in your hands in a matter of days. But to enable this phenomenon at scale, an entirely new model of supply chain is required.

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Seeing Beyond the Blockchain Hype

Blockchain has recently taken center stage in the conversation about management’s digital makeover. Many believe the impact of blockchain on the ways organizations function and produce value may be greater than other technologies that have grabbed most of our recent attention — data and analytics, the cloud, even artificial intelligence.

Getting Past the Hype About 3-D Printing

Despite the promise of additive manufacturing, the authors argue, near-term expectations about how 3-D printing will revolutionize manufacturing are overblown. Much of the technology is still being hammered out, and the authors examine three important myths about additive manufacturing.

Companies Brace for Decade of Disruption From AI

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With investments in Big Data bearing fruit, what do executives expect from the future? A new survey finds that artificial intelligence and machine learning are rapidly emerging avenues for innovation — and disruption. Nearly half of senior executives surveyed, from companies like American Express, Disney, Ford Motors, and General Electric, see disruptive change coming fast.

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Organizing for New Technologies

When faced with an emerging technology, many companies have trouble responding — not because they don’t recognize how it impacts their business, but because they have difficulty managing the uncertainty around the new technology’s competitive viability. And when the technology significantly disrupts the company’s existing business, it can create structural impediments to pursuing opportunities.

Why Innovation Isn’t Enough

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There is an unprecedented explosion of innovation going on all around us. And yet, as Fredrik Erixon and Björn Weigel point out in their new book, The Innovation Illusion, GDP growth, productivity, and corporate investment in the capitalist economies of the West are all on the decline. The authors peg this counterintuitive reality to “gray capitalism, excessive corporate managerialism, second-generation globalization, and complex regulations.”

Taking a Value-Chain Perspective on Innovation

Market leaders have many advantages when adopting new technologies such as e-business, but they don’t always make the move. Why? It’s partly because new technology can be leveraged along a chain of related companies only if business partners also make the leap to adopt these changes. And research reveals that when large companies are significantly concerned about customer adjustment costs of new innovations, these powerful and otherwise highly capable organizations often resist change.

Digital Today, Cognitive Tomorrow

Digital transformation is happening all around us, but it’s the foundation for a much more profound transformation still to come. With huge challenges facing humanity on many fronts — climate, disease, population, food and water — we need cognitive technologies to augment human problem-solving capabilities. And those technologies are almost here.

A Note to Our Readers and Contributors

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While MIT SMR seeks to publish new research-based ideas across a wide range of management topics, we are taking a particular interest in work that explores the role of technology in transforming the practice of management. Even as we have been witnessing digital technology’s organizational impact for several decades, it’s our belief that we are on the crest of a new wave of change that will force leaders to fundamentally rethink the way their companies function and produce value.

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