MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Category: Faculty Insights

Falsehoods triumph on Twitter: Groundbreaking MIT study proves that fake news wins

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

Groundbreaking MIT study on false news

Fake news, rumors, propaganda—the scourge of deliberate misinformation is a hot topic these days, as is the role social media plays in the rapid dissemination of these falsehoods. Sinan Aral, co-lead of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, reveals the truth about false news based on the largest-ever longitudinal study of the spread of false news online, published in Science on March 8, 2018.

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The latest books by MIT Sloan faculty

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

Machine Platform Crowd - New Faculty Books from MIT Sloan

Spring is the season of growth. What better time to expand your mind and grow your business acumen with new books by MIT Sloan faculty? Delve into topics like social media management, innovation, and the future of work. Here is the line-up of latest books, including Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew Lo, Machine Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Erik Brynolfsson and Andrew McAfee, and many more.

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MIT Sloan faculty forecasts: What 2018 means for business

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 9 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 - 5 months and 17 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 - 9 months and 7 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 - 9 months and 29 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 - 11 months and 14 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 - 11 months and 21 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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