MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Archive: November 2015

Is Greece missing an opportunity to turn to innovation-driven entrepreneurship?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 10 months and 19 days ago

Projections for the economy in Greece are dire. Economic recovery is not certain, and when it comes, it will certainly be long and painful. And despite BloombergView stating, "While not out of the woods, Greece’s large banks seem to be showing signs of life," there’s still widespread unemployment and an overall bleak outlook.

Phil Budden, Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan, argues in Fortune that the current fiscal crisis can be turned into an opportunity for the country. Budden recommends the country and its people follow the advice of Winston Churchill by "never letting a crisis go to waste." Greece might follow the example of other countries that have struggled economically, and it could begin to "gradually shift its focus away from macroeconomic problems and toward the task of creating an innovation ecosystem."

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Three MIT Sloan Executive Education faculty among prestigious Thinkers50 honorees

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 10 months and 27 days ago

We are proud to announce that three faculty members of MIT Sloan Executive Education were recently named to the Thinkers50 list, the world's most prestigious ranking of management thinkers: Erik Bryjnolfsson, Professor of Information Technology and the Director of The MIT Center for Digital BusinessDouglas Ready, Senior Lecturer; and Hal Gregersen, Senior Lecturer and the Executive Director of The MIT Leadership Center

Brynjolfsson, along with his colleague Andrew McAfee, shared the Digital Thinking Award, which "celebrates the thinker who has done the most to transform the digital revolution into useful management insights." Brynjolfsson and McAfee authored The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.

Ready, a faculty member whose research on aligning purpose, performance, and principles has led to the popular concept of implementing a company's Collective Ambition. He currently teaches in the two-day course, Building Game-Changing Organizations: Aligning Purpose, Performance, and People.

Gregersen explores how leaders in business, government, and society discover provocative new ideas, develop the human and organizational capacity to realize those ideas, and ultimately deliver powerful results. He is the co-author of The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators, and teaches in The Innovator's DNA: Mastering Five Skills for Disruptive Innovation and the Advanced Management Program

Congratulations to our faculty members--the honorees, nominees, and those who continually exemplify the leading-edge management thinking of which we are so proud here at MIT Sloan.

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Business cards still a viable way to connect in the digital age

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 10 months and 24 days ago

business card

While it may not be used in courting as calling cards were in the 1800s, the business card still has its uses, even in this age of dwindling hand written letters where tweets, texts, and emails rule. So says MIT Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management JoAnne Yates, who explains that today's business cards developed from trade cards and visiting cards of earlier centuries.  Trade cards were popular and practical in the 17th century with tradesmen who traveled throughout Europe in an effort to connect with potential customers, leaving cards to allow future contact with them.

By the time the 19th century rolled around the calling card--which was originally used by royalty in Europe to alert hosts of their arrival--had spread to society, with callers of higher social classes leaving cards to indicate their visits even when the person they visited was not present.  Eventually, the trade card and the calling card merged into the business card. It wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century that the business card as we know it was born--largely due to the American work structure, which was expanding and becoming multilayered, adds Yates. "During the early 20th century, many firms grew into large, hierarchical and multidivisional firms, making it desirable for managers to have business cards that indicated their positions within them."

So, in today's fast paced, iphone-oriented society, is there still a place for the once ubiquitous business card? Yates, says, "yes" for several reasons. For one, business cards serve as a tangible way to connect at networking events. It's a lot easier to hand out a business card than it is to enter a potential client's number into your phone, while simultaneously shaking his or her hand, all the while trying to maintain eye contact.

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A Q&A with Andrea Napolitano, participant of Neuroscience for Leadership

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 11 months and 1 day ago

The following Q&A was conducted with Andrea Napolitano, Director of Marketing and Trade Marketing at Elebat Lactalis in Brazil. She was a recent participant in the two day course, Neuroscience for Leadership.

Where do you work, and what is your role there?
I work at Lactalis Brazil as Marketing Director. I have more than 25 years working in big organizations. During my career I’ve had many different roles, responsible for local, regional and global business of different categories and brands.

What prompted you to take Neuroscience for Leadership?
Organizations are, in its essence, made by people. A group of human beings working together to achieve common objectives. Sustainable great performance goes beyond just a great strategy or perfect execution. It reflects the level of engagement, energy, motivation, creativity, capacity to take risks and to accept failures. In this context, great leaders have a strong role to inspire people in the way they behave and do things.

After many years in leadership positions and having had the opportunity to experience different leadership development programs, I was looking for an approach on the subject that could bring my understanding and practice in to new heights. Then I found the description Neuroscience for Leadership on the MIT Sloan Executive Education website and I immediately decided to attend it.   

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Data dilemma: To raise or not to raise the interest rate

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 11 months and 2 days ago

By Roberto Rigobon, Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Management and Professor of Applied Economics at MIT Sloan; a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research; and a visiting professor at IESA.

Roberto Rigobon

Nearly seven years ago the Federal Reserve put its benchmark interest rate close to zero as a way to bolster the economy and has not raised that rate since. For the past several months, the Fed has struggled to decide when it will dictate an increase, and it appears the announcement is imminent this week. While this increase is actually more of a "normalization," a December tightening of rates will have lasting consequences. 

First, let's address why leaving interest rates too low for too long is a bad idea: primarily because low interest rates can lead to bad behavior. Banks might take too much risk--after all, almost every investment looks good when the financing cost is close to zero. Individuals are also more likely to borrow too much and save too little--hence increasing leverage ratios. What harm is a loan when the interest rate is negligible?

By moving interest rate targets up or down, the Fed attempts to achieve maximum employment, stable prices and stable economic growth. The Fed will tighten interest rates (or increase rates) to stave off inflation. Conversely, the Fed will ease (or decrease rates) to spur economic growth. Raising the rates is good for the economy, but only after the economy has consolidated and is in good health. Which, right now, it is.

So if the economy is strong, why is it taking so long for the Fed to decide? To put it bluntly, they have bad data.

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Is a world without ads nirvana?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 11 months and 12 days ago

In October, Apple announced approval of a new application, Been Choice, into the iTunes App Store. The app blocked advertisements in mobile applications as well as in native apps. Shortly thereafter, Apple pulled the app due the potential risk of security breaches. However, the promise of an app that blocks ads in both Safari and in native mobile apps had consumers cheering. After all, who really likes ads interrupting their online browsing, shopping, or reading experiences?

Sinan Aral, Associate Professor of Information Technology and Marketing at MIT Sloan, was recently a featured guest on NPR's OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook, where Ashbrook, Aral and Rebecca Lieb, a research analyst and author, discussed ad blockers and the future of digital advertising.

"I get annoyed by ads, just like other people," commented Aral. "Most people would consider a world without ads to be nirvana. But the bigger question is how to go forward."

As Aral explains, ads pay for the content we all consume on the Internet. When new technologies enable us to block ads, it means that advertisers and content producers need to think about how to pay for the content available today. As many publishers have learned, most consumers are unwilling to pay for content placed behind paywalls. As much as we’d like to think of the Internet as free, the fact is, someone has to pay for the quality content available online

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