MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Category: Innovation

Innovation, failure, and progress in the pharmaceutical industry: Takeda's Andy Plump speaks at MIT

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 29 days ago

Andy plump speaks at MIT

In the Innovative Leadership (iLead) Series by MIT Sloan and the MIT Leadership Center, top thought leaders share their views on business challenges and achievements. Here, Andy Plump—Chief Medical Scientific Officer for pharmaceutical leader Takeda—shares his thoughts on his company’s approach to drug development, as well as the role MIT and the surrounding biotech community plays in it.

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How to cultivate the challenge-driven leadership of MIT at your organization

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 months and 20 days ago

How to cultivate the challenge-driven leadership of MIT at your organization

Tackling tough problems requires innovation and a diverse range of talent, along with the desire to take an unconventional approach. According to Deborah Ancona and Hal Gregersen of the MIT Leadership Center, these talents and traits are intrinsic to challenge-driven leaders. In a recent article published to strategy+business, Ancona and Gregersen explain that challenge-driven leaders also tend to be experts in their fields and entrepreneurial in spirit.

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Neil Ackerman has put his MIT Sloan Executive Certificates to work—and to great success

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 months and 8 days ago

MIT Sloan Executive Certificate Holder Neil Ackerman

MIT Sloan Executive Certificate holder Neil Ackerman is a highly successful supply chain and strategy executive currently serving as Senior Director of Global Supply Chain Advanced Planning and Innovation for healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson. His accomplishments in supply chain innovation throughout his career have been many—so, it’s hard to imagine a time when Ackerman wasn’t sure where he wanted to go, or how he was going to get there. But for the now-accomplished executive, there were several turning points in his career that required deep thought, new ways of thinking, and giants leaps of faith.

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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 6 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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If you think process improvement only works on the factory floor, think again

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 3 days ago

Dynamic Work Design

“Intellectual work is different," says Don Kieffer, Senior Lecturer in Operations Management at MIT and Managing Partner of ShiftGear Work Design. "But contrary to the argument that process improvement ‘only works in the factory,’ my experience is that, when properly applied, the concepts and principles underpinning Toyota and Lean methods produce more powerful results and far more quickly in the office.”

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MIT Sloan Executive Education hosts Mass Innovation Nights

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 18 days ago

Mass Innovation Night 101 at MIT Sloan Executive Education

This week, MIT Sloan Executive Education is hosting Mass Innovation Nights 101 (#MIN101), the Boston region’s premier monthly startup showcase and networking event. This month’s event, to be held on Wednesday, August 9th, will be held at MIT’s Samberg Conference Center and will feature new startups influencing innovation and tackling process improvement.

“Over the last eight years, we’ve built a successful social media-powered group that has worked together to support local entrepreneurs,” said Bobbie Carlton, Founder of Innovation Nights and Innovation Women. “It’s really a great example of how much a group can accomplish working together, without huge budgets and expensive tools.” Carlton adds, “as a major global driver of innovation, MIT is a natural partner for us.”

Free-of-charge and open to the public, monthly Mass Innovation Nights events feature business experts, networking, tabletop demos, and presentations from the winners of an online vote taken before the event. Here are the innovations participating in Mass Innovation Nights 101:

  • Openbridge is an integration platform that helps teams harness the power of performance data across a variety of sources, including social networks, video platforms, and web analytics tools.
  • TwelveJobs uses detailed information from job seekers and employers to algorithmically help find the perfect match.
  • WatchRx uses a smartwatch to help the elderly take their medications on time and to live independently in their homes as long as possible.
  • Vinolytics simplifies wine management, offering what to drink when, what it is worth, where it comes from and how to buy or sell it.

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A third way of innovating: The Power of Little Ideas

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 24 days ago

Power of Little Ideas

There is no shortage of innovation advice—you have surely heard the persistent drumbeat, “disrupt or be disrupted,” for example. Conventional wisdom says that there are two types of innovation: incremental or radical. But this is a false dichotomy.

According to David Robertson, MIT Lecturer and author of The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation, there is another way to innovate. This distinctive approach, which Robertson refers to as the Third Way, improves the value of a core product by innovating around it.

This third strategy consists of creating a family of complementary innovations around a product or service, all of which work together as a system to carry out a single strategy or purpose. And crucially, unlike disruptive or radical innovation, innovating around a key product does not change the central product in any fundamental way. While continual improvement of your product is, of course, a good thing, Robertson encourages respect for what made that product great in the first place.

“People will tell you to drop your core product and go ‘disrupt,’ … but it didn’t work for LEGO!” says Robinson. “Innovation can be damaging.”

Robertson is referring to LEGO’s reaction to competitive threats and market shifts in the late 1990s that caused the company to innovate away from its signature snap-together bricks in favor of diverse new products, including a line of toys designed around two blockbuster movie franchises, Harry Potter and Stars Wars. When no new movies from either franchise appeared in 2003 or the first half of 2004, however, a harsh reality was revealed: the bottom had dropped out for LEGO. Its attempts to create revolutionary change almost pushed the company into bankruptcy.

In the wake of that disaster, the company examined its series of failed experiments, and one bright spot emerged—a quirky construction toy called Bionicle, which differed in three key ways from what the company had done before: the plastic pieces were used to construct action figures; the toy came with a LEGO-created story of heroes battling villains to the save the world; and the plastic pieces were surrounded by complementary innovations, from new packaging to comics to an array of licensed merchandise.

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Fashion statements apropos of MIT

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 28 days ago

© 2012 Tangible Media Group / MIT Media Lab / Photo by Hannah Cole

The latest fashion trends can be found in couture magazines and the runway at Bryant Park, but did you know that you can also spot the latest innovations in fashion here at MIT?

In fact, MIT has a long history at the intersection of high fashion, high tech, and innovation—from our pioneering efforts in textile programing, adaptive clothing for people with disabilities, wearable computing, new biologic fabric that literally breathes, and the many successful ventures spun out of our Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship.

A surge of startups

For years, fashion-minded MIT students and alumni have been creating companies targeting niche consumer styles and voids in the retail industry. These companies include everything from traditional ventures in textiles and garments to tools that enhance the online shopping experience to completely reinventing the stiletto.

  • Ministry of Supply, co-founded by a group of MIT Sloan students and an MIT engineering alumnus, uses thermal analysis, robotic engineering, and advanced materials to design better-fitting men’s business attire. The company has developed a rapidly growing science-based clothing line and the industry’s first 3-D robotic knitting machine.
  • AHAlife is a curated online marketplace of thousands of luxury fashion items and other high-end products. AHAlife re-creates the in-store experience of discovery while shopping online by featuring quality, well-crafted products with a story.
  • Sundar, a global mobile search engine startup for sourcing materials and suppliers, was incubated at MIT and founded by MIT Sloan alumnus Jag Gill. “Our mission is to streamline the discovery and sourcing process by providing sophisticated search, curation, and data-driven insights on what to purchase, produce, and stock to buyers and sellers 24/7,” said Gill in this Forbes feature.

A minisurge of MIT start-ups like these in recent years is driven by a budding category of fashion industry entrepreneurs. “About two years ago, we thought these companies were outliers,” said Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, in this Boston Globe article. “Now the pace has definitely picked up.”

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