Category: Faculty Author

What Sort of Brexit Is It: Light Continental or Full English?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 13 days ago

Contributed by MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer, Phil Budden


Late last June, the British referendum on the EU resulted in a "vote heard 'round the world." In the weeks after that shocking result, we saw market volatility, the departure of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and much speculation around how and when the UK would formally leave the EU. Fortunately, the state’s automatic stabilisers kicked in—from the Bank of England, through the Civil Service, to the reassuring presence of the Queen.

As the summer comes to an end, and the initial turmoil has subsided, many executives are asking what’s now going on, and what do they need to know for the fall. One thing is clear: the so-called "Brexi"” is a process, not a single event. The referendum on the 23rd of June was "advisory," so—in the British parliamentary system—it is for the Government (now led by Theresa May) to take this forward, including when to trigger the formal two-year process of negotiating with the EU under Article 50, and when to bring a deal to Parliament.

While the initial shock waves of uncertainty roiled the currency and stock markets (as well as the political parties), the immediate economic picture is still uncertain: it could have been much worse without the major efforts of the Bank of England, HM Treasury and wider Civil Service. Markets have now stabilised, but the fundamental economic picture will not be clear for a while. This is unsettling for executives making medium-to long-term plans, as the short-term state will remain so unclear until further data comes in, with those for the first quarter after the referendum (i.e. Q3) perhaps not being out before Thanksgiving.

Post Brexit: What to watch for?

I am often asked what sorts of issues executives might be watching out for in the coming months. A challenge is that those advocating Brexit did not have a fixed plan: this is partly how the "Leave" coalition secured the 52% vote, i.e. by not specifying what a vote for Brexit would entail.

At the end of this piece, I set out two extremes on the spectrum for Brexit options, with Britain's opening negotiating position likely somewhere between, depending on how the following key issues are addressed

Reviewing the statements of the “Leave” campaign’s members (and polling of its voters), it is possible to identify four key issues which would need to be addressed in the UK’s negotiating position: these are immigration, "control," budget, and the market (mnemonic: 'ICBM'). The issue now is for the Government—assisted by its professional Civil Service (known informally as "Whitehall")—to define a negotiating position that respects the 52%'s vote, identifies the national interest for the whole country, is acceptable to a majority in Parliament, and might be negotiable with the rest of the EU.

1. Immigration

Immigration was, effectively, the emotional issue that won the Brexit vote, but it is not clear how this will translate into a negotiating position. In the heat of the debate, it was often forgotten that “immigration” is a two-way street (with many Brits benefitting from living in the rest of the EU), and that most of the immigrants come into the UK from outside the EU. Exiting the EU (with its "free movement of people") would not stop the bulk of the immigrants into the UK, but it would put in jeopardy the rights of Brits in the rest of the EU.

Looking closely at immigration into the UK, it’s clear that some places with the greatest numbers (e.g. London) were in favour of this influx (as its Mayors had recognized), and it voted heavily to remain in the EU. This openness had helped London become Europe's hotbed of innovation-driven entrepreneurship. Other communities—which had already been experiencing wider social and economic challenges, and then faced a recent rapid rise in immigration—voted to leave the EU. (Sadly, one of the side effects of the Brexit vote has been a spike in racist attacks in England.) Immigration will clearly be one of the thorniest topics.

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Productivity wisdom: My top 5 articles

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 14 days ago

Contributed by Bob Pozen, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan Executive Education

Regardless of location, industry or occupation, productivity is a challenge faced by every professional, following us throughout our respective careers. Even as a professor and published author on the topic, I still find myself improving my own skills, both at work and at home, to get the most out of each day.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that there is a crowd of journalists, thought leaders, and gurus tackling the topic from almost every conceivable angle. While I have my own conclusions on the best ways to stay productive, which you can read in my book and learn more about in my class, Maximizing Your Personal Productivity, staying tuned into the perspectives of other productivity experts is critical to a well-rounded outlook. In the spirit of broadening our collective productivity wisdom, below are five great articles on the topic I've enjoyed:

  1. Inc.: "Why the Excuse "I'm Overloaded" Doesn't Work Anymore" This is a harsh reality to those who think they're too busy, but it points to a fundamental rule of productivity--prioritizing. One of the first lessons I teach in my course is how to prioritize. It seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people looking to be more productive don’t prioritize tasks appropriately.
  2. Fast Company: "This Googler Explains How to Design Your Time Rather Than Manage It" Creating to-do lists is a vital task to daily productivity. In this article, Google’s Thomas Davies describes his "Quadrant-style" to-do list that categorizes his tasks under 4 responsibilities or "quadrants" that help prioritize tasks.

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MIT REAP helps London scale its innovation ecosystem

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 8 months and 9 days ago

Contributed by MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer, Dr. Phil Budden.

REAP London small

MIT's Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) is fostering a worldwide innovation and entrepreneurship movement helping regional ecosystems. The latest region to take its REAP learnings to the next level is Team London, which is one of the regions in REAP's Cohort Two (essentially, the second round) which comes to a close this June 2016.

REAP is MIT's unique, two-year global Executive Education initiative designed to help regions around the world, with an average of eight teams per Cohort, to accelerate economic growth and job creation through "innovation-driven entrepreneurship" (IDE).  Each team has to include representatives of the five key stakeholders in an "innovation ecosystem," and must work together--with the help of MIT faculty and their research--to analyze their region’s strengths, determine a strategy based on their regional comparative advantage, and then implement a first step to achieving that strategy. Teams attend four workshops over the two-year program and must collectively achieve a great deal in the action phases before and after the workshops.

Team London's stakeholders, after participating in three REAP workshops (2014-2015), determined that their region produces a lot of start-ups but not enough of these scale to their full potential. This insight confirmed that efforts by a variety of stakeholders--including the UK Government of Prime Minister David Cameron--had successfully accelerated the innovation-driven enterprises in their ecosystem, which early insights had highlighted. With "London calling," MIT responded with its insights from Kendall Square, and then a place for London--following the visit of the British Prime Minister to MIT--in its second REAP cohort. (See "London's tech hub looks to capture 'MIT magic'")

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Insights for GE as it relocates to Boston's unique "innovation ecosystem"

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 9 months and 9 days ago

Formerly known as General Electric, GE announced this January that it is moving its corporate headquarters from suburban Connecticut to downtown Boston. In the Boston Business Journal's recent coverage of the story, GE Chairman/CEO Jeff Immelt said: "GE is a $130 billion high-tech global industrial company, one that is leading the digital transformation of industry. We want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations."

Formed by the 1892 merger of Thomas Edison’s company with Massachusetts' own Thomson-Houston Electric Company, GE is not alone in considering the Boston area as a world-class hub of innovation. Earlier this month, Bloomberg confirmed what many of us who live and work here know to be true: Massachusetts is the most innovative state in the nation.

So what does GE's move to Boston mean for the Commonwealth, for the City, and in particular for our innovation ecosystem? And what might GE like to know, even at this stage, as it thinks through how best to leverage the innovation and entrepreneurship that drive much of the activity in Greater Boston and beyond?

Let us start with defining the expression "innovation ecosystem" that has been so widely used in the discussions of GE's decision.  In our work at MIT, we define an innovation ecosystem as the connections among five key stakeholders: entrepreneurs (of course), universities (as you'd expect), and risk capital providers (beyond just VCs)--but also with key roles for government and large corporations. 

Innovation model

In our research on, and teaching about, such ecosystems around the world, we emphasize that an ecosystem relies upon the collective actions that these stakeholders take to contribute and share resources (talent, ideas, infrastructure, money, connections). 

Our work also shows that such innovation ecosystems are complex and sometimes fragile things.  Many places in the world wish to emulate such an innovation hub, but few pull off the alchemy necessary to launch or sustain such ecosystems.  As such, we have been increasingly highlighting (e.g., in BetaBoston,) the importance of a certain innovation diplomacy within and among the various stakeholder groups, recognizing the interests of the other parties, and taking actions that find opportunities for mutual long-term benefit.

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It’s time to rethink wages

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 3 months and 25 days ago

For the last year or so, there’s been a significant amount of news coverage around the wages paid to low-income earners, such as those working at fast food outlets and in retail stores. There have been public protests, calls for boycotts, and legislation to raise the minimum wage in some states.

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Learning sustainable methods for increasing your productivity

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 8 months and 27 days ago

By Robert Pozen

Are you feeling overwhelmed at work?  Do you feel like you don't have enough time for family and friends?

If so, take my executive education course at MIT Sloan Executive Education: Maximizing Your Personal Productivity, March 20–21. The course consists of four substantial sessions over two days, with time to network and make friends. Each session will help you master a different and important aspect of personal productivity.

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MOOCs: the true costs of free online education

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 2 months and 29 days ago

Free isn’t necessarily good, especially when it comes to Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs—a recent development in distance education. While traditional online courses charge tuition, carry credit, and limit enrollment to a few dozen to ensure interaction with instructors, the MOOC is usually free, credit-less, and caters to thousands of students at a time. The New York Times dubbed 2012 "The Year of the MOOC," and it has since become one of the hottest topics in education. But how free are MOOCs? Given that there are real costs and quality issues associated with any type of higher education, what are some possible downsides of a free or low-fee college education?

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