MIT Sloan Executive Education

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Yearly Archives: 2013

Mapping risk with the beer game

As MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman told MIT Technology Review, “there’s no actual beer in the Beer Game.” Instead, it’s an exercise for MIT Sloan students that simulates the supply chain of the beer industry. The roles include retailer, wholesaler, distributor, and brewer; the goal is to make operating costs as low as possible.

The Beer Game demonstrates the fluctuations of inventories and backlogs and how they impact the bottom line. In the real world of the “beer game”—that of the craft beer industry—the stakes are very high. And, one wonders if they’d benefit from mapping their own risk by playing MIT’s Beer Game.

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Post PRISM: The relationship between innovation and privacy

In the aftermath of whistleblower Edward Snowden and the ongoing press coverage of the National Security Association’s (NSA) clandestine surveillance program, the political ramifications of all of the above remain uncertain. What is apparent, however, is the immediate, collective increase in awareness of just how much data we “give away” every day online, and how that data is used by organizations—government and business alike—for their benefit.

Many business leaders and marketers are wondering how a resurgence of consumers attempting to regain their privacy will affect innovation in the global economy. While there is a clear relationship—and now a growing tension—between innovations that rely on consumer data and the protection of consumer privacy, there may be compromises to consider that are amenable to both the innovator and the consumer.

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How the digital marketplace is redefining customer relationships

Many people today buy their household telecommunications services—house landlines, Internet access, and digital TV—in bundles. Yet go to the average telecommunications services provider’s website and you have to select which product you are inquiring about or need fixed.

From an organization’s perspective, this makes complete sense. There’s a division for phone service, a division for Internet service, and a division for television. Specialists and technicians exist in each department to help you with whatever you need. But you get one bill each month, so why can’t the company recognize you as one customer with multiple products, instead of three separate customers?

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Business success in the U.S. doesn’t guarantee international success

Today, companies large and small are expanding their operations globally for a variety of reasons: lower labor costs, the possibility of a skilled talent pool, and the anticipation of newer, more lucrative markets.

However, just because a company is successful stateside doesn’t mean that success will automatically translate overseas. MIT Sloan Professor José Santos, who teaches the MIT Sloan Executive Education program, Strategy in a Global World, says to succeed globally companies must expand their focus beyond traditional world views.

Tips for Making Your International Business a Success

A recent article in CIO magazine—“7 Tips to Help IT Leaders Make Their Business an International Success”—offers these guidelines for going global successfully.

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Launching a successful start-up #1: The brainstorming phase

This is the first post in a series on launching a successful startup.

One of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make is trying to be everything to everyone in the hopes of increasing their market share. In the beginning, many new entrepreneurs can be overwhelmed by their own brainstorming taking an “act now, plan later” approach to get a jump on the competition. But the foundation stage of a new venture is critical because it’s the stage when entrepreneurs must define the specific ingredients that make their product or service competitive—the stage where they determine a target market that will use that product or service. Failure to do either could result in a business that never finds its niche, and therefore, never sells.

Thankfully, budding entrepreneurs now have a road map. In Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful StartupBill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, goes beyond theory to outline several concrete steps anyone can take to be a successful entrepreneur. In his book, Aulet stresses the importance of segmenting your market to find the sweet spot that will guarantee a successful business. He defines a sweet spot as that place where a product or service connects with a target audience that will buy, use, and wholeheartedly adopt that product or service, eventually spreading the word to other potential customers.

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