MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Archive: April 2014

Big data shouldn’t mean business as usual

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 8 months and 24 days ago

The big data gold rush has become a stampede. Technology vendors are racing to bring big data solutions to the market, and companies with a never-ending flow of data are looking to big data to make better sense of their business—and to generate better value as a result.

The challenge is that amidst all this hype, the true value of leveraging big data may be lost as companies continue to operate as “business as usual.” As Tom Davenport, Fellow with the MIT Center for Digital Business, shared in a Booz & Company article, “A lot of [companies] aren’t really thinking differently about what to do with Big Data. Instead, they’re simply asking, ‘How can we use these technologies to save money?’”

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Communicating effectively through a crisis

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 8 months and 28 days ago

Many professional communicators take a crisis communications course during their studies. These almost always reference the Tylenol crisis of 1982, when seven people died after taking Tylenol capsules that had been tampered with. The manufacturers of Tylenol—Johnson & Johnson—and its executives took quick and definitive action, and went to great lengths to tell the media what it knew and when. As a result, the company and brand recovered from the crisis and is generally acknowledged to be one of the most successful cases of crisis management.

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Should you apply for that job?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 8 months and 30 days ago

Job seekers often limit themselves to looking outside of their company for a new position. But there are a number of factors that point out that job seekers should also consider looking within their own organizations for a new role.

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Pitch perfect: Using human signals to convince and persuade

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 9 months and 7 days ago

The art of the business plan pitch could fill volumes of b-school literature. But what if the real secret sauce had less to do with content and everything to do with delivery?

Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, Director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, has conducted research around the power of unconscious forms of communication. The tools have revealed subtle patterns in how people interact, enabling Pentland and his colleagues to predict outcomes of situations ranging from job interviews to first dates to pitches for funding.

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Certificate holder Bertrand Liang on his experience at MIT Sloan Executive Education

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 9 months and 12 days ago

I have been fortunate to have multiple careers—from working in the university setting to the buy-and-sell side of the financial industry to the product development environment. Making the transition from a technically oriented academic career to a practitioner is definitely a humbling experience in the business milieu.

Acquiring a commercial perspective was important to my career, which is why I went to business school to get my MBA, sponsored by my company. However, more than 10 years later, times have changed, and business-oriented instruction is becoming less available for technical staff, both because of constrained resources and lack of time. Numerous articles in publications like MIT Sloan Management Review and the Wall Street Journal have commented on the “commoditization” of the B-school degree, noting that companies are becoming reticent to spend dollars and time on MBA programs.

Is there a way to get what is needed within the forum of a B-school, but without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and years in school? Executive education programs, concentrating on areas as diverse as negotiation, improvement strategies, and product development, have recently been emphasized as meeting the needs of technical personnel. They provide a level of updated information that can directly and practically address key issues that face the emerging or established technical executive first-hand; moreover, the opportunity costs are relatively low, given the two to five days needed to participate. If more time is available, enrolling in more immersive programs (such as MIT Sloan’s Advanced Management Program) or completing an executive certificate can provide additional hands-on learning experiences and are viable alternatives to full- or part-time MBA programs.

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Political Innovation: Embracing and understanding customer service

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 9 months and 16 days ago

Politics is a pursuit inherently built on customer service but without enough attention paid to those who matter the most: voters. In politics, voters are the customers, and instead of asking for a refund or an exchange, they can vote the politician out of office.

So why isn’t voter relations one of the top priorities of a campaign? Campaigns should hire a Chief Voter Relations Officer to manage voter relations and develop an organization that is always striving for perfection. In that way, the organization would be actively embracing customer service as an asset, not a chore.

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MIT Sloan Executive Certificate holder named to "America's Most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under" list

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 9 months and 18 days ago

It’s one thing to be recognized for accomplishments earned over a long and illustrious career. It’s quite another to receive similar kudos at the young age of 39. Such is the case with Justin Hutchens, who for the third consecutive year was named to America’s Most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under list, published by Forbes. To make this list, you had to be the chief executive of one of the 20 biggest publicly traded companies in the U.S. that have CEOs aged 40 or under.

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