MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Archive: October 2015

Harvard doctors benefit from MIT Sloan custom program

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 23 days ago


Current U.S. health care reform has renewed focus for doctors on improving both quality and efficiency in care delivery, providing an impetus to think like managers in highly complex organizations and to use skills not typically taught in medical schools. Doctors working in academic medical centers face an even bigger challenge, as these organizations are equal parts hospitals, medical training institutions, and research facilities.

In response to these reforms, the anesthesiology department heads at several Boston-area academic medical centers turned to MIT Sloan Executive Education to empower some of their medical professionals with leadership skills that would help to improve patient care.

Working closely with the leadership of Anesthesiology departments, MIT Sloan faculty and Executive Education staff created a cross-institutional, custom program to enable anesthesiologists to solve some of their most persistent problems and to become leaders of change in their organization. All aspects of the program--from teaching curriculum to action-learning projects--were designed to address specific challenges and provide tools that could be applied in actual hospital settings and achieve tangible results. 

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Retailing during the holidays

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 24 days ago


Earlier this week, gear and sports retailer REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) announced that its 143 stores will be closed on the day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as "Black Friday," a day that many retailers view as the most important shopping day of the year. The Seattle-based retailer has launched a campaign "encouraging people to forgo shopping and spend time outside instead."

The issue of retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day has become a contentious one of late. While convenience stores, grocery stores, and liquor stores may be providing essential goods on the holiday, few people really need to go out and buy electronics and other gadgets on a day intended to be about family. As we highlighted on the this blog last year, most people who rely on retail jobs for their income are forced to work on holidays if the store decides to stay open. But the decision to close on the following day is nearly unheard of in the U.S.—especially considering that REI is paying its employees for the day off.

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What flat organizations can learn from the Head of the Charles

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 1 month and 2 days ago

Head of the Charles Regatta

This past weekend thousands of athletes, spectators and volunteers lined the banks of the Charles River in Boston for the 51st Head of the Charles Regatta. It is the largest two-day regatta in the world and draws competitors from colleges, high schools, and clubs from nearly every state in the U.S. and from 28 countries throughout the world. "Regattas such as the Head of the Charles in Boston and the Head of the Schuylkill in Philadelphia are to the rowing world what the New York Marathon and the Boston Marathon are to running," said Susan Saint Sing in The Eight: A Season in the Tradition of Harvard Crew.

To the average spectator at the Head of the Charles, rowing is a graceful, elegant sport, and a fun fall Boston event. But just like any sport where the elite in the field are competing, rowing in the Head of the Charles takes thousands of hours of hard work, dedication, and commitment. And the interpersonal dynamics within a successful, competitive rowing team present some intriguing lessons for those managing companies with today’s preferred "flat" organizational structure—one with few hierarchical levels and looser boundaries. 

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Learning virtually everywhere: MIT Accenture Technology Executive Development Program

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 1 month ago

By Peter Hirst, Associate Dean, MIT Sloan Executive Education

Peter Hirst MIT Sloan Executive Education

I've been writing a lot lately about how industry and higher education institutions need to collaborate to prepare professionals, managers, and leaders for the rapidly evolving marketplace. From the glaring talent gap in the Internet of Things economy, to the complex relationships between business schools and corporate training programs, the need for better, more efficient leadership in the area of talent development continues to be a central issue for me and my colleagues in the field of executive education.

As the Associate Dean of Executive Education at MIT Sloan School of Management and a board member of organizations such as The International University Consortium for Executive Education (UNICON) and the Internet of Things Talent Consortium, I see firsthand how technology-driven companies struggle with finding the right people and training their staff to anticipate and meet market demands. Industry, academia, government, and non-profits are starting to recognize the need to collaborate more and address this problem in a systemic way. However, an industry-wide approach to more effective talent development is yet to manifest.

Adapting to a changing marketplace

One example of a learning experiment that is currently underway at MIT Sloan Executive Education and Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company, is the MIT Accenture Technology Executive Development Program. Accenture serves clients in more than 120 countries and employs over 358,000 people across its five businesses--Accenture Strategy, Accenture Consulting, Accenture Digital, Accenture Technology, and Accenture Operations. How can a company of this size and complexity keep its sights on the future and remain nimble enough to solve its clients' problems and anticipate their needs quickly and constantly? How can employees around the world acquire new skills to stay ahead of the competition in a marketplace that changes in a blink of an eye? What skills do they need now and in the long term?

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Who will power the IoT economy?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 1 month and 6 days ago

By Peter Hirst, Associate Dean, MIT Sloan Executive Education

IoT smaller

From driverless cars and sensor-laden industrial equipment to connected kitchens and smart cities---the Internet of Things (IoT) is cropping up everywhere, or so it seems. Recognizing the tremendous economic potential, tech giants and startups are investing heavily in IoT products and platforms. A recent report estimates that "the IoT will result in $1.7 trillion in value added to the global economy in 2019." Yet many employers are struggling to find the talent to propel the rapidly developing IoT economy towards the full extent of its promised value.

At last year's Internet of Things Word Forum in Chicago, Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, Vice President and General Manager of Cisco Services, presented startling findings based on data from CareerBuilder, IBSG, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • One-million shortage of qualified workers in the Internet security industry in the next five years
  • Two million jobs needed in information technology and communications in the next ten years
  • Over 11 million people unemployed in the United States at that time
  • 45% of employers unable to find qualified candidates for open jobs

 As of this August 2015, the number of unemployed people in the U.S. dropped to 8 million. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth came primarily from healthcare, social assistance, and financial services sectors--not technology companies.

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System Architecture, a new book by Bruce Cameron

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 1 month and 14 days ago

System Architecture

A new book, System Architecture: Strategy and Product Development for Complex Systems, by Bruce Cameron, Director of the System Architecture Lab at MIT and a Lecturer in Engineering Systems, focuses on modern complex systems and the science behind them. It is the result of 20 years of research by Cameron and his fellow co-authors Edward F. Crawley, President of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow and Daniel Selva, a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell.

At the highest level, Cameron explains how to look at system architecture as a series of decisions that can be actively sorted and managed. Readers are provided with examples of good architectures and the modes of thinking required to analyze system architectures. The case studies presented range from building farm equipment to the International Space Station.

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Aspen Faculty Pioneer: MIT's Thomas Kochan earns lifetime achievement award

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 1 month and 11 days ago

Thomas Kochan, the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems at MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Co-Director for the Institute for Work and Employment Research at MIT was recently named the "Lifetime Achievement" award winner of this year's prestigious Aspen Faculty Pioneer Awards from the Aspen Institute of Business & Society Program. The Faculty Pioneer Awards were created in 1999 to honor educators who "demonstrate leadership and risk-taking--and blaze a trail toward curriculum that deeply examines the relationships between capital markets, firms and the public good." 

According to the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program, the focus on this year's awards was to recognize and honor faculty who are teaching about inequality in their MBA classrooms. The awards honor faculty who are prompting students to think expansively about their role as managers as well as global citizens, now and over the long term.

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Aker Solutions taps into MIT philosophy for customized approach to organizational learning

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 years and 1 month and 18 days ago


Although Aker Solutions is an international company with 28,000 employees in more than 30 countries, the company discovered it needed a stronger level of management if the company wanted to reach its ambitious growth targets in an increasingly complex marketplace.

The Norway-based company that provides oilfield products, systems, and services for customers in the oil and gas industry worldwide, turned to MIT Sloan Executive Education Custom Programs for assistance.

"It was important that the school we partner with is responsive and adaptive to our business," says Bjarte Johannessen, Head of Organisation Development at Aker Solutions. "The reason we chose MIT is the Mens et Manus philosophy. It resonates well with us, because we are an organization of highly competent people who deliver products, systems, and services to very demanding customers. A very strong academic, scientific foundation combined with practical application is key to how we think about organizational learning in our company."

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