Michael Schrage

Research Fellow with MIT Sloan School's Initiative on the Digital Economy


Michael Schrage

A research fellow with MIT Sloan School's Initiative on the Digital Economy, Michael Schrage’s research, writing and advisory work focuses on the ‘behavioral economics’ of models, prototypes and metrics as strategic resources for managing ‘innovation risk’ and opportunity. He is author of award-winning ’The Innovator’s Hypothesis’ [MIT Press 2014],  ‘Who Do You Want Your Customers To Become?’ [Harvard Business Review Press 2012] and  ‘Serious Play’ [Harvard Business Review Press 2000].  His next book, ‘Recommender Systems,’ will be published this year by MIT Press as part of its ‘Essential Knowledge’ series. He’s run design workshops and executive education programs on innovation, experimentation and ’strategic measument' for organizations all over the world.

He's pioneering work in ‘selvesware’ technologies - he coined the word - designed to augment aspects, attributes and talents of productive individuals. Current research efforts examine the interplay of ’network effects’-driven innovation, such as recommender systems, and human capital creation for the enterprise. His work exploring the ‘future of KPIs,’ digital ‘performance management’ dashboards and machine learning - in collaboration with Google, McKinsey and the Sloan Management Review – builds on that theme, i.e. what happens when 'essential metrics' become ’software agents.' This research – part of a global ‘Strategic Measurement’ initiative – is widely cited. These efforts have led to ‘future of workforce capability and design’ research in collaboration and co-sponsorship with Deloitte. He is particularly interested in the future co-evolution of ‘expertise,’ ‘advice' and human ‘agency’ as technologies become ‘smarter’ than the people using them. 

Consulting and innovation/experimentation/KPI clients have included Prudential, Pfizer, Microsoft, PwC, BASF, SNCF, ZF, Amazon, Mars, BT, Google, Raytheon, Edmunds, Embraer, among others.  He’s conducted non-classified research for the U.S. Department of Defense [Office of Net Assessment] and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on cyber-conflict, complex systems procurement and ‘other’ issues. 

Previously, a Merrill Lynch Forum Innovation Fellow, he founded and was executive director of its Merrill Lynch Innovation Grants Competition for doctoral students worldwide. An angel investor in several digital media and machine learning start-ups, he’s been a featured and top trafficked blogger on the Harvard Business Review site. His work has been published in the Sloan Management Review, Fortune magazine (where he was a columnist), the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Nikkei Asian Review, the CACM as well as other peer-reviewed publications. 

Faculty Media

  • Opportunity Marketplaces: Aligning Workforce Investment and Value Creation in the Digital Enterprise

    In response to unrelenting digital disruption, many leaders are rethinking how they value and invest in their workforces. Across the business landscape, corporate leaders are seeking to develop...

  • [Innovation@Work Webinar] Getting Beyond Remote: Empowering "The Next AI"

    For serious organizations, the pandemic has provoked new recognition around both the potential and real value of high-performance ‘workplace analytics.’ For the distributed/dispersed digital...

  • Smart Strategies Require Smarter KPIs

    Digital processes, platforms, and predictive algorithms transform the strategic role and purpose of key performance indicators. KPIs are becoming measurably smarter, more dynamic, and more adaptive...

  • Does AI-Flavored Feedback Require a Human Touch?

    Companies must choose whether humans or machines should get the last word on employee performance.

  • Great Digital Companies Build Great Recommendation Engines

    Perhaps the single most important algorithmic distinction between “born digital” enterprises and legacy companies is not their people, data sets, or computational resources, but a clear real-time...

  • HowTechnology-enabled ‘Selves-improvement’ Will Drive the Future of Personal Productivity

    Are better bots and smarter software servants truly the best way to drive people’s personal productivity?

  • How Digital Media Will Bring Out Our Best Selves in the Workplace

    Tomorrow’s most effective individuals will combine their personal capabilities with customized digital boosters.

  • [MIT Press Podcast] The Innovator's Hypothesis

    MIT Sloan's Michael Schrage discusses his book, "The Innovator's Hypothesis."

  • 4 Ways to Be the Brady and Belichick of Business

    Fact is, being successful in sports, in business and in life requires many of the same traits.

  • Like It or Not, You Are Always Leading by Example

    How do you lead by example? That means asking leaders to detail instances and anecdotes where their actions set standards for others. What do they actually do that influences and inspires?


Contact Information

Email: schrage@mit.edu
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Teaches In

Getting Beyond Remote: Empowering "The Next AI"

For serious organizations, the pandemic has provoked new recognition around both the potential and real value of high-performance ‘workplace analytics.’ For the distributed/dispersed digital workforce, the AI that matters most focuses more on ‘Augmented Introspection’ than ‘Artificial Intelligence.’ In this brief talk, Michael Schrage highlights ‘real world’ insights from organizations that have chosen to use ‘remote work’ as a way revisit and redefine ‘high performance fundamentals.’