Digital Business

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Act Like a Startup

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  • Read Time: 7 min 

As leaders of established businesses focus on becoming digital, they often embrace the mantra, act like a startup. A startup is an experiment, and its early goal is to learn, as quickly and inexpensively as possible, if an idea has merit. That same ability to figure out how a new value proposition might create revenues and profits is key to digital success. Established companies that want to test ideas for such propositions should be nurturing four traits of startups.

Digitizing Products for Sustainability’s Sake

Digitization opens opportunities for the world’s sustainability challenges, but it also transforms industries, holding out the possibility of dramatically improving their social and environmental performance. To capitalize on this development, an emerging area of opportunity is the digitization of physical products and production.

Beyond a ‘Winner-Takes-All’ Strategy for Platforms

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Platform companies with the largest user networks offer significant value for consumers. Yet total network size isn’t the only key to competitive advantage; platform users may place equal or greater weight on having access to specific, local, or higher-quality platform users or information about the network or its participants.

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The Top MIT SMR Articles of 2018

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In 2018, MIT Sloan Management Review readers gravitated toward new articles that will help them prepare for the future of work, including topics as varied as skills needed in the age of AI and digital communication tools for virtual teams. The most popular article of the year focused on an area high on the list of most CEOs’ agendas: how to transform your organization successfully.

Putting Artificial Intelligence to Work

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For companies just starting their investigation of AI’s capabilities, there’s a lot to think about. What can AI do for your company to provide value? And just as important: What can’t it do? A third consideration that many companies overlook (but shouldn’t) lies in the realm of ethics: Understanding when AI offers a capability that companies could use, but should not.

The Machine Learning Race Is Really a Data Race

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Companies are racing to apply machine learning to important business decisions, only to realize that the data they need doesn’t even exist yet. In essence, the fancy new AI systems are being asked to apply new techniques to the same old material. The result is a visible arms race as companies bring on machine learning coders and kick off AI initiatives alongside a behind-the-scenes, panicked race for new and different data.

Every Leader’s Guide to the Ethics of AI

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  • Read Time: 9 min 

As artificial intelligence-enabled products and services enter our everyday lives, there’s a big gap between how AI can be used and how it should be used. A 2018 Deloitte survey of AI-aware executives found that 32% ranked ethical issues as one of the top three risks of AI, but most companies don’t yet have specific approaches to grapple with the challenges. Here, we list the seven actions that leaders of AI-oriented companies — regardless of their industry — should consider taking.

The Enabling Power of Trust

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  • Read Time: 8 min 

Examining skill sets and mind-sets will help leaders understand what it means to be a leader in the digital economy. This will include requirements such as changing mastery, executing excellence, nurturing relationships, and, notably, building a culture of radical trust.

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Trapped in the Data-Sharing Dilemma

There are clear benefits for companies allowing website users to login with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google. But the ease of user access that social logins make possible comes at a price: The platforms learn a great deal more about users’ buying and searching behavior via these agreements — information that could wind up helping the company’s competitors (including the platform itself) down the line.

Is Your Company Ready for a Cyberattack?

Increasingly, military-inspired exercises are becoming standard elements of corporate risk mitigation and resiliency efforts. They include tabletop exercises,” designed to help executives envision how they would handle different risk scenarios; “red team exercises,” designed to ferret out weaknesses through contained attacks conducted internally to see how cybersecurity teams respond; and engaging ethical hackers to test the organization’s cybersecurity defenses.

Key Words for Digital Transformation

By many rights, one might have expected to find Adobe on the register of companies disrupted by digital. And yet the 35-year-old software developer has persevered by embracing the very technological forces ― think cloud, mobile, platforms, IoT ― that could very well have been the harbingers of demise for a legacy producer of packaged software designed for the desktop.

Using Artificial Intelligence to Promote Diversity

What if, instead of perpetuating harmful biases, AI helped us overcome them? What if our systems were taught to ignore data about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other characteristics that aren’t relevant to the decisions at hand? They can do all that — with guidance from the human experts who create, train, and refine them.

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How Banks Can Lead the Shift to AI-First

Banks and financial startups were some of the earliest adopters of mobile-first strategies and now they continue to innovate with AI. Learn about the four pillars driving change and AI adoption in banking and how these strategies can apply to organizations across any industry.

Preparing for the Coming Skill Shifts

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

CEOs worry about ensuring that their companies have the right skills mix to thrive in the age of AI and automation, and they’re smart to be thinking about talent at a strategic level. But the external labor market can do only so much to address the anticipated shifts in demand. So companies should double down on retraining the people they have, with an emphasis on lifelong learning and adaptability.

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