At the dawn of each New Year, we ask the faculty at MIT Sloan Executive Education to weigh in on the key trends in their fields. Here are six MIT thought leaders on the topics and trends they see developing in the months to come.
Tara Swart on technology and the future of the human brain
"It will be more important than ever to be harness brain agility and diversity of thinking in the face of accelerating technological capability. The people who can leverage their creativity, intuition, and empathy as well as analytical skills will be better placed to succeed in a changing business environment, tolerate ambiguity, and lead to step changes in innovation." Swart teaches in Neuroscience for Leadership.
David Simchi-Levi on
business innovations in retail
"Retail is fast evolving into a complex, multi-channel, and highly competitive environment. Companies are relying on a combination of accessible data, ability to experiment, and analytic technologies to enable a new approach to various processes, such as inventory management and pricing. There have been breakthroughs in the development of models that combine machine learning and optimization for pricing that significantly improve revenue and reduce inventory risks. These trends and breakthroughs will surely affect retailers and their suppliers and customers, in 2016 and beyond." Simchi-Levi teaches in Supply Chain Strategy and Management.
Roberto Rigobon on world financial markets
"The macroeconomic environment is going to be dramatically disorganized--2016 will be the year of volatility. On the one hand, Central Bank objectives from developed nations will diverge as they set the path of interest rates that correspond to their domestic conditions. On the other hand, financial markets will impose a limit on the extent to which interest rates can differ across countries. The big losers will be emerging markets--especially those countries that rely on foreign capital for their growth strategies." Rigobon teaches in Understanding Global Markets: Macroeconomics for Executives, Strategies for Sustainable Business, and the Advanced Management Program.
Steven Eppinger on
design thinking as a smart business
"There has been huge interest of late in applying 'designerly' behaviors to a range of challenges beyond the obvious areas of product and service innovation. Several aspects of design thinking can be applied directly to business process innovation and operational problem solving. Based on the current buzz around a wide range of innovation opportunities, I see this trend continuing in 2016." Eppinger teaches in Managing Complex Technical Projects, Systematic Innovation of Products, Processes, and Services, and the Advanced Management Program.
Steve Spear on failing fast
"Companies that succeed in 2016 will do so by doing the unnatural: aggressively calling out error. The gap between the very best and the rest reflects profound differences in learning fast what to do and how to do it. Apple--consistently ahead in new form, function, and features wins outsized rewards. Intel--higher fidelity to Moore's Law gets disproportionate market share and valuation. Staying ahead by learning better and faster depends first on seeing what is wrong and calling it out, so underlying ignorance can be turned into profound knowledge." Spear teaches in Creating High Velocity Organizations.
Jeanne Ross on the costs of innovation
"The digital economy is generating enormous interest in rapid innovation. However, many companies are learning that while innovation can expand their product line, that expansion won’t necessarily improve performance. Greater product variety is associated with higher levels of customer and employee difficulties, and those difficulties undermine performance. Companies that want innovation to create value will focus their attention on linkages among products. In 2016 we'll see more cross selling, bundling, and solution provisioning, which all work to make new products valuable and mitigate the negative impacts of increased complexity." Ross teaches in Essential IT for Non-IT Executives and Revitalizing Your Digital Business Model.