MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Archive: March 2015

Can data analysis help change behaviors?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 5 months and 25 days ago

Can scientists prove whether individual behaviors, such as eating or exercise habits, are contagious? Research from Alex 'Sandy' Pentland, Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and the Director of the Human Dynamics Lab at MIT, shows that may be possible.

"If individual behavior is contagious, then we can change this behavior either by changing the behavior of several influential elements in the social network, or by changing the social network itself," concludes Pentland.

Pentland and his research team studied 70 college students living in a residence dormitory at a North American university, with the student subjects spread evenly across the freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior grade levels. Participants were given a Windows mobile phone, through which scientists collected data from self-reported surveys designed by experts in political sciences and medicine. Cell phone sensors recorded proximity and location every six minutes and documented communication.


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Stress: It's a mind-body connection that affects us all

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 5 months and 27 days ago

No matter what we do in life, we all deal with some level of stress. As an executive leadership coach, medical doctor, neuroscientist, frequent keynote speaker and MIT Sloan Senior lecturer, Tara Swart certainly must know about stress.

Yet Swart, CEO of The Unlimited Mind, understands the connection between brain and body better than most—as well as how stress can affect both and manifest itself in different ways. For example, Swart says stress is "essentially a brain and body chemistry problem" that can affect a variety of different things, such as our ability to make decisions, concentration levels, how we express emotions, and the well being of our physical selves. Common symptoms of stress that manifest physically include back pain, headaches, clenched jaws, or nail biting.

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MIT Sloan Professor Catherine Tucker Receives Top Marketing Award

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 6 months and 1 day ago

In recognition of her accomplishments as an emerging female marketing scholar and mentor, MIT Sloan Professor Catherine Tucker recently received the 2015 Erin Anderson Award, presented each year by the American Marketing Association Foundation (AMAF). 

The award recognizes the life of Erin Anderson--a widely respected mentor and marketing scholar from INSEAD whose research made significant contributions to marketing. It was presented in February at the AMA (American Marketing Association) Winter Marketing Educators' Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

As an Associate Professor of Management Science and the Mark Hyman Jr. Career Development Professor at MIT Sloan, Tucker has expertise in online advertising, digital health, social media, and electronic privacy. Tucker says she "is interested in how technology allows firms to use digital data to improve their operations and marketing and in the challenges this poses for regulations designed to promote innovation."

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High tech's shifting glass ceiling

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 6 months and 2 days ago

The current lawsuit in Silicon Valley by Ellen Pao against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins is drawing more attention to hot button issues in high tech, namely the very real and varied gender gap that continues to plague the industry.

According to the Forbes article, "Women in tech are losing, from top to bottom," only 9% of all CIOs are women. Why is the technology career path a tough road for women, and why do their numbers dwindle as they climb up the ranks? A recent study from MIT shows that women already inside the technology industry are experiencing what is known as a shifting glass ceiling, and it starts with the recruitment process.

Internal promotion vs external recruitment

In his paper, "Gender Sorting and the Glass Ceiling in High Tech," Roberto Fernandez, Professor of Organizational Studies at MIT Sloan, challenges the popular assumption that the prominent glass ceiling in the high tech industry is the result of disparities in the internal promotion processes. Instead, Fernandez claims that glass ceilings can also be the result of external recruitment.

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Corp. EDU: The role of corporate universities in addressing the talent gap

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 6 months and 15 days ago

By Dr. Peter Hirst, Executive Director of MIT Sloan Executive Education

Not long ago, I wrote about the "talent gap," which was widely discussed at the Internet of Things World Forum in Chicago last October. The problem is real for many employers, particularly those in industries that rely on innovation driven by science, technology, engineering, infrastructure services, etc. In response, companies must be increasingly systematic and purposeful about organizational learning and addressing their talent development needs. More and more are doing so with little or no help from us in academia, relying on internal resources and the commercial education sector instead.

With respect to internal provision of corporate education, UNICON, the trade association of university-based executive education providers, released two studies recently on the complex relationships that exist between business schools and the growing phenomenon of "corporate universities." The studies--"Same Solar System, Different Orbits: Opportunities and Challenges in Executive Education and Corporate University Partnerships" and "Minding Their Business By Flexing Our Minds: A Guide To Corporate University Partnerships"--offer interesting comparisons between the two business education models. While these reports were written primarily for an audience of academic executive education providers, they are worth a read for anyone who is interested in how the business education landscape is changing.  

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A career move strengthened by MIT Sloan courses

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 6 months and 22 days ago

I never planned on a career in education. In fact, I left the film industry and came to Ball State University primarily for family reasons. Neither my boss nor I thought I’d stay long. However, what I found was a forward-thinking institution in a sector full of challenges and opportunities. I found my passion at the intersection of innovation, learning, and technology. Now with the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to explain how everything came together over the past five years.

I earned my Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT Sloan School of Management at just the right time. In 2009, I was tasked with forming a new administrative unit within IT at Ball State named "Emerging Technologies and Media Development." With this unit, I was able to immediately implement many of the lessons learned in my MIT courses at my daily job. From administrative structure to office layout, my goal was to follow best practices.

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