MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Category: Faculty Insights

MIT Sloan faculty forecasts: What 2018 means for business

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 8 days ago

2018 Faculty Forecasts

We asked the MIT Sloan Executive Education faculty to weigh in on trends in their fields and offer business advice for 2018. Learn why Bill Aulet says inclusive entrepreneurship is more imporant than ever; Jeanne Ross says companies need to distinguish between digitized and digital; Ben Shields thinks analytics will continue to change the game; and more.

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5 commitments worth keeping: New Year’s resolutions from our faculty

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 16 days ago

New Year's Resolutions from MIT Sloan Executive Education Faculty

Do you want to become more productive, balanced, and impactful in the New Year? Before you set lofty resolutions that are hard to keep, try these research-based recommendations from our faculty, from asking more questions to getting more sleep. These five committments might just help you attack your challenges with renewed energy and inspiration.

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The need for speed: Steve Spear on why faster is better for business, and for the Navy

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 5 days ago

Steve Spear is helping the Navy create high-velocity learning

There’s been tremendous encouragement for creativity and innovation as critical elements for success—rightly so. Bringing new forms of value to market creates the chance to reap rewards for providing better solutions to problems, some of which customers may not have even been able to articulate. Less well articulated is the essence of speed in capturing the benefits of new, novel, innovative, and creative.There’s been tremendous encouragement for creativity and innovation as critical elements for success—rightly so. Bringing new forms of value to market creates the chance to reap rewards for providing better solutions to problems, some of which customers may not have even been able to articulate. Less well articulated is the essence of speed in capturing the benefits of new, novel, innovative, and creative.

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Speeding the cure for cancer: Financial engineering and Dynamic Work Design

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 27 days ago

Speeding the cure for cancer: Financial engineering and Dynamic Work Design

A business school may not seem like the most logical place to find a solution for virulent disease. However, several MIT Sloan scholars have recently taken a deep look at cancer research and treatment in an effort to speed the development of a cure. From the way research is funded to the efficiency of genomic sequencing, the methods and models created by these MIT Sloan professors have the potential to reshape the industry and raise the probability of finding a cure.

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Overcoming discord means getting beyond survival instincts

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 6 months and 13 days ago

MIT Sloan Lecturer Tara Swart TEDx

Recent national votes in the U.S., Britain, and elsewhere have exposed bitter divisions based on things like country of origin, economic status, political persuasion and other factors. MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Tara Swart, a neuroscientist, leadership coach, medical doctor and executive advisor, has a theory about how some of our basic survival instincts have resulted in this widespread political rancor—and how to get beyond it.

In a TEDx talk on neuroscience and nationalism at the London School of Economics, Swart explains that humans have evolved and thrived in group settings. Survival required people to cooperate to obtain food, keep warm, and protect each other. “When we lived in caves, being cast out of the cave meant certain death,” she says. “We became the most successful animals on the planet because we could exist in large groups.”

However, the flip side of our social tendencies is an “us vs. them” mentality. The group has to protect itself from threats from other groups—and “others” are those who look, speak, and act differently from us. In prehistoric terms, “engaging with someone outside your tribe could prove fatal,” and over time, differences began to be defined not just by race, language or gender but also by social class, education, religion, and more,” Swart says.

“It’s not about your or my opinion, or being right or wrong, or even our political choices. It’s about the evolution of the human brain from tribal origins through ethnic and geographical diversification to the creation of the nation-state all the way up to modern nationalism,” Swart says. “It’s about why we created ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups in our societies, whether we’re hard-wired to act on stereotypes or whether we can change, and how we regulate our fears and other emotions.”

The human brain evolved to give “survival emotions”—fear, anger, disgust, shame—a lead role in shaping our behavior. As a result, “it’s easy to motivate people based on fear or disgust,” Swart says. In political terms, this may mean that Candidate A highlights Candidate B’s scandals and potential threats rather than focusing on the positive things he himself has to offer. Loss aversion—the fear that someone outside your tribe could take away what you value—is another form of safety wiring in the brain, and all these emotions in turn result in unconscious biases.

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Getting unstuck: Easy steps for achieving conversational breakthroughs

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 6 months and 19 days ago

Breaking Through the Gridlock

When was the last time you tried to have a productive conversation with someone, despite diametrically opposing viewpoints? Were you successful? Or did your conversation get … stuck?

Jason Jay, a longtime environmentalist and director of MIT Sloan's Sustainability Initiative, often found himself frustrated by stonewalled discussions and the poor results of impassioned arguments with those he most hoped to persuade. Jay teamed up with Gabriel Grant, a social entrepreneur and doctoral candidate at Yale University, and the two began six years of research stemming from a question they both shared: How do we turn these conversations around?

Jay and Grant conducted more than 2,000 workshops at 15 universities, drawing lessons from the experiences of people who got stuck in conversations and tried again using new frameworks. In following up with workshop participants, they gained significant anecdotal evidence that profound shifts were possible if conversations were approached in the right way. Jay and Grant crafted and honed a methodology to make progress in difficult conversations, including how to address our own biases and approach people with a more positive mindset. The tool sets they developed, tested, and have since deployed in workshops, conferences, universities, and organizations around the country are now shared in their new book, Breaking through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World.

Opening the lines of communication

Values-laden conversations—whether political, social, or other—can quickly become heated and feel hopeless. No matter your side, it’s easy to make polarizing moves that you don’t even realize you’re making. In fact, Breaking Through the Gridlock will make you laugh in recognition of some of your own divisive blunders. Jay and Grant offer easy steps for opening the lines of communication when conversations get stuck, and a way forward for groups that feel trapped in seemingly zero-sum conflicts. These tools are even more relevant now than when the authors began this project six years ago.

“In the beginning, we were writing for progressive advocates who wanted to create positive movements for change,” says Jay. “In fact, our working title was Beyond the Choir. Then, in the middle of last year, as the U.S. election was heating up, the landscape was becoming more and more polarized. Brexit happened. And all of a sudden, people were knocking on our door. We realized these tools, this book, are not just for advocates. We’re all embroiled.”

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New research shows integrated solutions are key to digital transformation

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 4 days ago

MIT CISR

Digital disruption is rapidly changing the entire competitive landscape for companies, prompting them to learn how to apply new technology and organizational capabilities. In a working paper published earlier this year, "Designing Digital Organizations—Summary of Survey Findings," researchers including Jeanne W. Ross of the MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) looked at the digital capabilities of 171 senior business and IT leaders and offered recommendations on how companies can stimulate their digital transformations.

Digital disruption, as Ross explains in this 2016 video, involves the impact of "SMACIT"—social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and the Internet of Things. In the course of their research, the paper's authors noted that efforts to leverage digital technologies and enhance customer information and engagement is resulting in the need for greater integration of products, services, and processes across entire organizations.

Among the report's key findings:

  • The extent to which digitized solutions are integrated and customer engagement is personalized predicts a company's performance relative to competitors.
  • Companies that create both integrated digitized solutions and personalized customer engagement demonstrate more innovativeness and agility.
  • Companies rely on three key technology resources to build this innovativeness and agility: an operational backbone; a digital services platform with reusable business, technology, and data components; and linkages between newer digital services and data and infrastructure services embedded in the operational backbone.

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Hot off the presses: The latest books by MIT Sloan faculty

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 9 months and 6 days ago

Learn new strategies for starting companies, solving conflicts, and harnessing the digital revolution. Check out these recent titles, written by our faculty.

Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook by MIT Sloan's Bill Aulet

Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook
By Bill Aulet

A companion piece to MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Bill Aulet’s Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup—a book that transformed the way professionals think about starting a company—the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook demonstrates ways to implement practical steps in the entrepreneurship process, such as how to conduct research or interact with customers. It also includes worksheets, a visual dashboard to track progress, creativity tools, and real-world examples that help entrepreneurs set their businesses up for success. Aulet teaches in the Entrepreneurship Development Program and the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program and is Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship at MIT.


Breaking Through the Gridlock

Breaking through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World
By Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant

You probably recall the last time you had a disagreement with someone, possibly about a political, social, or environmental issue. Did you have a breakthrough? Or did you get stuck and retreat to your own camp? Breaking through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World, is a new book co-authored by MIT Sloan Lecturer Jason Jay that offers ways to turn difficult confrontations into positive dialogue. Through practical exercises and examples, this book explains how to communicate when you are on opposite sides of an issue. Jay, who is Director of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, teaches in Strategies for Sustainable Business.


Handbook of Collective Intelligence edited by Thomas Malone

Handbook of Collective Intelligence
Edited by Thomas W. Malone and Michael S. Bernstein

Selected by Choice magazine as an “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2016, The Handbook of Collective Intelligence, edited by MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Malone, includes essays by various authors who examine interconnected groups of people and computers doing intelligent things collectively and cover disciplines such as artificial intelligence, cognitive and social psychology, and organization theory. Malone is Director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.Learn new strategies for starting companies, solving conflicts, and harnessing the digital revolution. Check out these recent titles, written by our faculty.

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