Developing Strategy

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How Leading Organizations Are Getting the Most Value From IT

  • Read Time: 6 min 

For companies across industries, every major technology choice now represents a vital business decision, and “good enough” decisions are anything but. Recent research shows that in order to move from average to exceptional, CEOs and IT executives will need to begin matching their technology investments to their ambitions.

The 360-Degree Approach to Digital Reinvention

Company leaders need to take a 360-degree approach to digital transformation — by reinventing both outward-facing strategy and inward-facing operations, says IBM’s Mark Foster. In this episode of the Three Big Points podcast, he explains how the combined impact of quality data, technology, and a sense of humanity enable a digital reinvention to succeed.

Fighting the Gravity of Average Performance

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 8 min 

New research shows that market leadership is increasingly temporary. Just 17% of companies are able to significantly outperform their industry average for five years. The ones that do continually find new sources of competitive advantage by reinventing their businesses and adapting to evolving market conditions. Their example offers lessons for leadership teams trying to fight the relentless pull to the mean.

Why the ‘Just Do Something’ Strategy for AI Won’t Work

For all the giant leaps promised by artificial intelligence, when it comes to business, what we’ve seen so far amounts to just tiny steps. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; many smart people advise companies to start small with AI. But as Boston College professor Sam Ransbotham notes in this week’s Three Big Points podcast, when you think small, you get small results.

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How to Succeed Without Being the Smartest Person in the Room

  • Column

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  • Read Time: 7 min 

Traditionally, many management roles have involved defining individual tasks and specific processes for completing them. Today, leaders need three very different management approaches, particularly as they rely more on empowered teams. Instead of defining jobs, they need to be establishing missions. Instead of making decisions, they need to be facilitating decisions. And instead of allocating resources, they need to be eliminating obstacles.

How to Avoid All-or-Nothing Thinking in Your Tech Strategy

  • Read Time: 4 min 

The belief that automation is an all-or-nothing proposition is preventing some companies from incorporating technology into their workflows. But holding on to that (mistaken) belief means companies are missing out on opportunities to streamline their processes and free employees for more important and less repetitive tasks. Three key steps can help these companies overcome legacy approaches and apply technology solutions where they can do the most good.

Preparing for the Risky World of Extended Reality

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 9 min 

Technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality show great promise in fields like medicine and manufacturing, but they come with risks to individual and societal well-being that could be incredibly hard to reverse. Now is the time for business leaders to take measures to prevent, or at least mitigate, the potential downsides of such tools.

Don’t Set Your Next CEO Up to Fail

Boards often have only an implicit sense of what they want a new CEO to do — in particular, how much they want the strategic direction and organizational model to change and how they expect it to happen. Clearly defining the mandate and matching it to the CEO’s profile is critical. CEO mandates can be divided into four types: continuation, evolution, transformation, and disruption. They each require different candidate profiles and different approaches to the job.

Why Multinationals Should Consider Geographic Complexity First

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 9 min 

Well-executed international expansions can provide access to new markets, customers, and revenue streams. But many companies underestimate operational complexity and end up with a country portfolio that slowly and subtly erodes profitability. New research offers a framework for managing successful country portfolios and making some key decisions before the next recession hits.

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The Five Bestselling MIT SMR Articles of 2019

  • Read Time: 3 min 

This year’s bestselling articles examine perennial challenges for leaders and organizations. From predicting how technology will impact markets and outcomes to creating successful frameworks for strategic decision-making, this collection of articles gives managers practical insights for leading in an age of uncertainty and disruption.

Every Number Tells a Story

You stand in front of a roomful of decision makers and present an iron-clad case for a compelling, data-backed proposal. The group’s reaction? Tepid, at best. So, what happened? Nancy Duarte would likely tell you that you were missing the story behind the data. In this episode of Three Big Points, Duarte shows us how to bring data to life in a way that will win people over to your idea.

How Will U.S. Companies Respond to Regulation Rollbacks?

This month’s MIT SMR Strategy Forum poll looks at the recent rollbacks from the Trump administration on a wide variety of U.S. regulations pertaining to water, air, land, and public health. We ask our panel of experts to weigh in on whether corporations will decide to adhere to rules that closely resemble original standards, or if they will embrace deregulation.

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Winning With AI

AI promises rewards but also comes with risks ― namely, that competitors figure out how to successfully use it before you do. This year’s 2019 MIT SMR-BCG Artificial Intelligence Global Executive Study and Research Report shows early AI winners are focused on organization-wide alignment, investment, and integration.

Why Analytics Don’t Always Pay Off in the Playoffs

Every team has a data-based strategy for regular season play — but the playoffs are a completely different story. In this episode of Counterpoints, we talk with Mike Trudell, a reporter who covers the Los Angeles Lakers for ESPN and other sports news outlets, about the mysterious intangibles that come to the foreground during the playoffs.

Digital Transformation Should Start With Customers

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Few organizations have the resources necessary to transform operations, business models, and customer experience all at the same time. They need to prioritize. Focusing on the transformation of the customer experience should be first. This is not because it’s necessarily the easiest, but because doing so is far more likely to keep a company viable than changing other aspects of business.

Tell Your Colleagues: MIT SMR Is Unlocked Today Through Thursday

  • Read Time: 2 min 

On Oct. 8-10, MIT SMR is dropping its paywall — all of the content is freely available to visitors. Readers will have immediate access to ideas, research, benchmarks and tools, all grounded in the reality of our technologically driven economy and society. We’re offering some recommendations based on what readers tell us are some of the most pressing problems they’re facing right now.

The Best of This Week

This week’s must-reads for managing in a digital age: just because companies recognize re-skilling and upskilling is critical doesn’t mean they’re doing it right. Also, how to choose charts everyone understands, where blockchain is headed in the enterprise, and words of wisdom for managing your career in an age of uncertainty.

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