Innovation

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.

Navigating the Contested Rise of Fintech

Technology adoption based on the technology alone is bound to miss the mark. Fintech will not disrupt the financial industry overnight, but when it does, it will reflect a larger and more complex social debate than its inherent technological or economic merits. Managers need to get involved in this debate now, so they can navigate the uncertainty, and decide to adopt it — or not.

Improving the Rhythm of Your Collaboration

With so many digital tools in the workplace, collaboration has gone omnichannel. Given how hyperconnected people are, the authors set out to explore the implications for organizations and teams. In their research, they discovered that always-on connectivity was good for fact finding and information sharing but not for problem-solving, as we tend to assume. For tasks that require imagination, it’s better to alternate between connectivity and quiet focus. Leaders must help establish a good rhythm.

The Magic That Makes Customer Experiences Stick

Research has shown that memorable experiences can drive customer decisions as much as price and functionality. Yet there have been few meaningful improvements in customer experience over time. The missing ingredient? Emotion. Customers want their choices to align as much with their feelings and senses as with their values and ethics. The rational approaches taught at most business schools — offer more value for money, add features, make service more efficient — are not enough.

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The New Role for Managers in Workplace Learning

  • Read Time: 4 min 

A recent survey found that managers do not as a rule encourage or enable employee learning. In the evolving skill-centered economy, that needs to change — but many companies simply have no process in place to support re-skilling and upskilling. Simply imposing an education plan for employees isn’t enough. Managers also need to support, encourage, offer feedback, and lead by example if employees are to gain needed skills that will benefit the company long term.

How Shared Responsibility Can Shape a Compelling Vision

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Teams perform better and are more likely to achieve the leader’s vision if they feel a shared sense of responsibility for the outcome. By communicating their rationale about how to balance priorities, a leader can help their team make decisions aligned with the collective vision even when the leader is not present. In effect, this involves scaling a sense of responsibility and creating a culture that shares the same values.

What Tech Pioneers Can Learn From Emerging Markets

Technology leaders are not shy about pushing the boundaries of their industries, and sometimes they go further — challenging the prevailing rules of society at large. The eagerness of entrepreneurs to test limits isn’t surprising to Tarun Khanna, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School, who has spent more than two decades studying how business strategies play out in emerging markets.

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Pathways to Progress for Women Entrepreneurs

  • Read Time: 4 min 

The hidden obstacle to women who want to found B2B startups is often rooted in the way they are mentored and advised in the business world. Where men are more often coached in strategy and business tactics, women are more likely to be taught how to avoid internal politics and “fit in” culturally. This difference in mentoring leaves women at a disadvantage with respect to entrepreneurship.

People and Machines: Partners in Innovation

Thoughtful adoption of intelligent technologies will be essential to survival for many companies. But simply implementing the latest technologies and automation tools won’t be enough. Success will depend on whether organizations use them to innovate in their operations and in their products and services—and whether they acquire and develop the human capital to do so.

AI Can Help Us Live More Deliberately

AI spares us from many mundane, time-consuming, nerve-wracking annoyances. The problem is, such annoyances play a key adaptive function by helping us learn to adjust our conduct in relation to the world around us. But AI designers can tackle that problem through system enhancements. By incorporating cognitive speed bumps, they can prompt users to engage in reflective thought rather than “outsourcing” cognitive, emotional, and ethical labor to software.

Where China Is Leading the Mobility Revolution

  • Read Time: 5 min 

China is shaking off its reputation for “copycatting” and establishing itself as a digital leader. One of the key areas where it’s moving ahead of the U.S. and Europe is transportation. China has made strides in electronic and autonomous vehicles as well as high-speed rail in recent years — and its most important development has been to transform itself into an innovation-focused, entrepreneurial hub of technical prowess.

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Accelerating Digital Innovation Inside and Out

In the 2019 Digital Business Report, MIT SMR and Deloitte’s survey analysis and executive interviews unveil the distinctive characteristics of innovation in digitally maturing organizations. Ecosystems and cross-functional teams allow them to be agile, but this increased agility demands a thorough consideration of governance as well.

Learning to Love the AI Bubble

  • Frontiers

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 5 min 

All bubbles are different. Bubbles occur when the market value of assets decouple from their intrinsic value and expectations of rising valuations generate investor demand. Many ambitious infrastructure projects that produced canals, railways, and telecom networks were fueled by bubbles. Unlike the housing bubble, the effects of a bursting AI bubble wouldn’t cause great harm.

How Digital Platforms Have Become Double-Edged Swords

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 13 min 

The most valuable companies in the world have harnessed platforms’ power to achieve rapid growth and market dominance. But as these platforms have grown in size and scale, the opportunity for abuse has become very real — while profitability isn’t coming easily even for successful platforms. In an interview with MIT SMR, the authors of The Business of Platforms bust the myths and outline the pitfalls of platform strategy.

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