Category: Innovation

Even an epic blizzard can't get in the way of disciplined entrepreneurship

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 21 days ago

The 2015 Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) wrapped up at the end of January and was a resounding success—despite epic blizzard conditions in Cambridge!

This year's EDP gradating class included 132 participants from 32 countries—including Nepal, Scotland, Saudi Arabia, Estonia, and Korea. Within the first three hours of the program, participants formed teams around 20 innovation-driven business ideas pitched on the spot. These diverse groups of global executives then embarked on the most intensive week of hands-on learning, rigorous academics, and spirited competition that MIT has to offer.

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News on MIT's Innovation Initiative

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 months and 13 days ago

It's a big news week for the MIT Innovation Initiative. First, Associate Dean for Innovation and Co-Director of the MIT Innovation Initiative Fiona Murray was honored by Queen Elizabeth with the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) award. Murray received the award in recognition for her services to the United Kingdom in entrepreneurship and innovation. As the Boston Globe reported, fellow honorees included Joan Collins of Dynasty, British actress Kristin Scott Thomas, and poet Carol Ann Duffy.

And Murray isn’t the only "celebrity" involved with MIT's Innovation Initiative. On January 13, 2015, MIT announced that former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick would become a visiting fellow at the Innovation Initiative. In this new role, the former governor will make "regular appearances at campus events, including seminars with students and faculty."

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Tackling Climate Change—Collectively

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 months and 7 days ago

Climate change is an enormous issue that affects us all. Unfortunately—according to MIT Sloan Professor Tom Malone and his colleagues at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence—national legislative initiatives, while significant, haven’t done enough. However, now through a crowdsourcing platform called the Climate CoLab, people throughout the world can collaborate with experts and contribute ideas that might alleviate the climate change problem. 

The old adage, two heads are better than one, has never been more applicable than at the Climate CoLab, a virtual think tank based at the Center. Except instead of two heads, we’re talking about 33,000. The Climate CoLab is a platform that gives anyone from anywhere the opportunity to collaborate with experts to create and develop possible solutions that address climate change. By its very nature the Climate CoLab community is diverse—comprised of a mix of concerned citizens, business people, and investors, as well as scientists and policy makers. Talk about collaboration.

 “Anyone is allowed to contribute. No matter who a person is or where they come from, they can contribute ideas and have them reviewed by an international community of thousands of people—including world-renowned experts from organizations like NASA, the World Bank, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, and leading universities like MIT, Stanford, and Columbia,” says Malone, who is Director of the Center and principal investigator for the Climate CoLab. 

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MIT program helps Scotland plan to accelerate its economy

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 months and 17 days ago

When you think of MIT Sloan Executive Education, you probably think about professional skills development and a focus on private sector growth. But that’s only a partial view. MIT Sloan has numerous offerings that serve the public sector as well, including the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), a two-year program designed to help regions accelerate economic development and job creation.

MIT REAP engages teams from key regions around the globe in the development and execution of a well-designed acceleration strategy, focused on entrepreneurial activity that can enhance innovation-driven economic development (IDE) and job creation. The result is a custom regional strategy for enhancing IDE ecosystems.

One recent REAP success story is the result of two years of work by a six-member team of public and private leaders in Scotland. Participants were guided by MIT Sloan faculty, including Fiona Murray, Associate Dean of Innovation; Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship; and Scott Stern, Chair of the School's Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management Group. The Scottish team participated in four multinational residential workshops alongside teams from Finland, New Zealand, Spain, Mexico, and regions of China. These workshops provided a framework for analyzing the country’s IDE ecosystem, using both academic research and stakeholder consultation.

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The downside of wearable fitness technology

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 months and 26 days ago

It’s almost the time of year for making New Year resolutions, and as always, fitness goals will top most lists. With so many fitness products and technologies available, there are no shortage of tools to help to those goals come to fruition. As reported by Investor’s Business Daily, Morgan Stanley “expects wearable device shipments to increase from 6 million units in 2013 to 248 million in 2017.” Samsung has issued its own research, saying “it expects spending on technology such as smartwatches and fitness trackers to increase by 182% this Christmas, compared with last Christmas.”  So is there a wearable fitness device on your wish list—or shopping list—this year?

The options are starting to feel endless. According to Wired, “As of September 30 [2014], there were 266 wearable devices on the market (including 118 fitness wearables), with 23 slated for release before the year is out.” Most fitness trackers monitor activity, steps, calories, sleep, and more. Popular devices come from FitBit, Jawbone, Garmin, Samsung, Microsoft, TomTom, and other technology and sports equipment vendors. Fitness bracelets, for example, monitor everything from your heart rate to your sleep cycle, providing a range of metrics that can be analyzed on smartphones and/or computer applications.

What to do with all this data? Users can decide to increase the amount of time they exercise, add more walking steps to their daily routine, adjust their hours of sleep, or recalibrate their calorie intake. The metrics these technologies provide are intended to help users eliminate the “mystery” behind meeting their own fitness goals, whatever they may be.

But what most consumers don’t realize is a potential big downside to these smart devices: the potential loss of privacy. While the average consumer may think that the data collected lives on their device or in their app, it really lives on servers owned and maintained by the device providers. For this reason, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has called these devices a “privacy nightmare.”

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What can enterprise architecture do for your organization?

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

As the business world continues to digitize and grow in complexity, many businesses will need to avail themselves of “enterprise architecture”—the process of defining every aspect of an organization’s structure for the successful development and execution of strategy. Enterprise architecture may not be synonymous with enterprise transformation, but it is a means to that end.

There are some significant challenges to leveraging enterprise architecture for success. By definition, architecting a business is a vast undertaking; designing every aspect of an organization’s structure including people, processes, strategies, and accountabilities requires time, resources, and education. The biggest challenge blocking most businesses from prioritizing enterprise architecture is its emergence as a new discipline. Because it is new, most organizations don’t know what enterprise architecture is and/or how to utilize it. 

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How should hotels respond to the sharing economy?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 6 months and 15 days ago

The sharing economy—also known as the collaborative consumption or the peer economy—is disrupting many industries. The sharing economy is one where participants share products or services—such as cars or spare rooms—instead of individual ownership. 

Airbnb is the one of the pioneers of the sharing economy and seems to be a major disruptor in the traditional hotel/hospitality market. (Incidentally, one of the founders of Airbnb was a student of Nelson Repenning, Professor of System Dynamics and Organization Studies at MIT Sloan; Repenning mentions this in his innovation@workTM webinar, “Useful Does Not Always Mean Used”.) Airbnb rents lodgings in more than 34,000 cities in 190 countries and has served more than 17,000,000 guests. What was once thought of as a place to find vacation housing is now frequently used by business travelers as well; as of late July 2014, the company saw 10% of its revenue from business travelers.

One would think the hotel industry would be up in arms, worried, and reacting the way the taxi cab industry is to Uber and Lyft. According to Fast Company, however, the hotel industry is not overly concerned—or so they claim. The magazine quotes Hilton Worldwide EVP Jeff Diskin as saying he “loves what Airbnb is doing … [offering a more] home-like experience.”

It appears the actual revenue impact is minimal; one recent research report found that “every 1% increase in listings [on Airbnb] in a given market would result in a 0.05% decrease in quarterly hotel revenues.” While the revenue Airbnb is siphoning from hotels is having minimal impact, its rapid growth is still worth watching. As noted in Fast Company, “At the current rate of expansion, Airbnb … will soon surpass the InterContinental Group and Hilton Worldwide as the world’s largest hotel chain.”

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The real challenge for self-driving cars

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 8 months and 4 days ago

It’s a given that almost all new technologies foster some unintended consequences. Take mobile phones: what was once viewed as revolutionary is now something ubiquitous. But the ubiquity of mobile phones has resulted in 1.3 million vehicle crashes in 2011—a full 23% of auto collisions that year involved cell phones. Despite the large number of incidents, the laws around texting while driving vary widely. Thirteen states— Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—all ban drivers from using mobile phones while driving. Forty-four states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all ban text messaging while driving.

It makes one wonder how the U.S.—either federally or state-by-state—or any government for that matter, will determine how to react to the emergence of commercially available self-driving autonomous cars. What was once viewed as “science fiction” is soon to be a reality on the roads. As Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor of Information Technology at MIT Sloan School of Management, told the Wall Street Journal, “About 10 years ago, I was teaching a class at MIT. One of the topics of discussion was what machines can do and what machines can’t do. One of my examples of things that machines can’t do was drive a car.” Fast-forward to 2012, when Brynjolfsson was able to take a test drive in a fully automated Google car. And, Google’s not the only innovator working on self-driving cars—Nissan has committed to having commercially viable autonomous drive vehicles on the road by 2020. So, it’s not a matter of if, but when.


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