Digital Business

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The Only Way Manufacturers Can Survive

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.

The Myths and Realities of Business Ecosystems

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 13 min 

The rise of ecosystems requires a new way of thinking about business: the ecosystems perspective. If we can describe this unique perspective, and clear up the myths and confusions surrounding the use of the term, we position ourselves to design strategy effectively in ecosystems.

How to Read and Respond to Weak Digital Signals

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 8 min 

In the digital age, the competitive landscape can be transformed in the blink of an eye. Companies can use weak digital signals to help redefine their offerings and the scale and scope of how they compete. Companies that can’t do this in a timely manner put themselves at a competitive disadvantage because they must invest in additional resources to catch up.

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How to Create Belonging for Remote Workers

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Feeling a sense of belonging, which is when we feel safe and valued for embracing what makes us different, makes us happier and more productive. Not belonging, on the other hand, is among the strongest predictors of turnover. This issue can be exacerbated for remote employees, who don’t benefit from the same in-person, day-to-day interactions their colleagues have.

What Would Happen if Baseball Outlawed the Shift?

Baseball teams routinely use analytics to shift fielders’ positions so they can be placed where a hitter is most likely to hit the ball. This works well for preventing the opposing team from hitting and scoring — but it’s not so great for the game, which relies on base hits and scored runs to keep fans excited and engaged. Should “shifting” be banned for the sake of the fans?

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Learning From China’s Digital Disrupters

Digital newcomers who understand their consumers can change the economic status quo. This has been true in China and its banking industry in recent years. The financial arms of Alibaba have used powerful consumer experience insights from their digital ecosystems — and altered the nature of competition for incumbents in the process.

Act Like a Startup

  • Column

  • Column
  • 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

  • Blog
  • 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

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

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

  • Video | Runtime: 1:01:06

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

  • Blog
  • 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

  • Blog
  • 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.

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