Innovation

Making It Easier to Manage and Scale Digital Projects

  • Read Time: 10 min 

In studying agile approaches at more than 50 companies, the authors found that the organizations that achieve the most success with digital projects use processes that allow for continuous learning and that support critical business goals. With everyone following the same processes, companies do better at juggling multiple projects and reaping the benefits of scale. One of the companies studied, Johnson & Johnson, shares its approach.

Why Large Companies Struggle With Lean

Large corporations have found that applying the principles of lean is more complicated than expected. Large organizations aren’t just bigger versions of startups. To make innovation integral to the organization, there has to be a vision of where new ideas will be incubated and how they will be delivered.

How Vigilant Companies Gain an Edge in Turbulent Times

In fast-changing business environments, companies need to stay vigilant and watch for threats from both internal and external sources. The most vigilant companies use systematic approaches to determine where to look for — and how to explore — potential disruptions.

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Closing the Innovation Achievement Gap

  • Read Time: 4 min 

What makes a company an innovation leader? To a great extent, it’s a matter of mindset. Executives whose technology-led transformation projects aren’t delivering the expected value must make strategic shifts in terms of their companies’ technology adoption, technology penetration, and organizational change.

How Tech CEOs Are Redefining the Top Job

About a quarter of high-tech companies are run by CEOs who double as inventors. Through patenting and publishing activity, such leaders contribute their own expertise to their companies’ innovation and production efforts, even as they steer their respective ships. This hands-on approach may sound like a distraction from strategic thinking, but it’s the future for top leaders across many sectors, not just tech — and it is already upon us.

Partner With Entrepreneurs Inside and Out

Companies seeking to drive innovation in the face of constant disruption benefit from adopting a strategy that supports both internal entrepreneurs and external partnerships rather than taking an either/or approach. The benefits: reduced development costs, faster time to market, and a collaborative, engaged workforce.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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