Digital Business

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Let Your Mind Wander

Leisure time does two important jobs for us. Recharging is the obvious one. But it can also heighten our powers of creativity, given the cognitive benefits associated with letting our minds wander — and that gives us an edge over AI in the battle for jobs. Kellogg professor Adam Waytz makes this research-based argument in “Leisure Is Our Killer App,” the lead article in MIT SMR’s package on talent in a digital age. Check it out, along with the other pieces, in the fall issue of the magazine.

Strategy For and With AI

Executives intent on exploiting AI to enhance processes or products tend to focus on having a strategy for AI. But creating strategy with AI can matter as much or even more. In a machine-learning era, enterprise strategy is defined by the KPIs that leaders choose to optimize —the measures organizations use to create value, accountability, and competitive advantage. AI can help determine what KPIs are measured, how they are measured, and how best to prioritize them.

Accelerating Digital Innovation Inside and Out

In the 2019 Digital Business Report, MIT SMR and Deloitte’s survey analysis and executive interviews unveil the distinctive characteristics of innovation in digitally maturing organizations. Ecosystems and cross-functional teams allow them to be agile, but this increased agility demands a thorough consideration of governance as well.

Building Digital-Ready Culture in Traditional Organizations

For legacy companies, culture change is often the biggest challenge of digital transformation. How can they become more agile and innovative without alienating their best employees or wrecking their best existing practices? This article provides a framework for leaders in any industry. The process begins with understanding four key values of digital culture: impact, speed, openness, and autonomy. It then involves adopting or refining a set of digital-ready practices, grounded in these values.

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Learning to Love the AI Bubble

  • Frontiers

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 5 min 

All bubbles are different. Bubbles occur when the market value of assets decouple from their intrinsic value and expectations of rising valuations generate investor demand. Many ambitious infrastructure projects that produced canals, railways, and telecom networks were fueled by bubbles. Unlike the housing bubble, the effects of a bursting AI bubble wouldn’t cause great harm.

Train Your People to Think in Code

The future of work will entail thinking not just analytically, but also algorithmically — so companies need to retrain workers for writing code, not formulas. Organizations that manage to make code the natural language for diffusing analysis across their organizations can often grow and innovate faster than their peers.

Four Profiles of Successful Digital Executives

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 10 min 

Hoping a jack-of-all-trades can lead your organization’s digital transition is unrealistic. We found four distinct types of successful digital executives who can best provide vision and purpose for digital. Crucially, each type has unique strengths and performs best in different contexts.

10 Principles of Modern Marketing

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 19 min 

Mastering technology is not the only criteria for success in the modern marketing era — the right people and processes must also be put in place to properly develop, manage, and nurture the benefits of emerging tools. To be successful in the digital era, marketers should adopt the best new modern practices as well as rethink and refine classic approaches.

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Why Hypotheses Beat Goals

  • Column

  • Column
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Companies that aggressively pursue learning must accept the possibility of failure. But simply setting goals and being nonchalant if they fail is inadequate. Instead, companies should focus organizational energy on hypothesis generation and testing. Hypotheses force individuals to articulate in advance why they believe a given course of action will succeed. A failure then exposes an incorrect hypothesis — which can more reliably convert into organizational learning.

Four Ways to Get Your Innovation Unit to Work

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 7 min 

Considering how deeply companies rely on innovation, it is astonishing how bad most of them are at finding, developing, and implementing new ideas. When it comes to innovation, there is no single best way to structure and operate internal teams. The real key to success is to find the tools and structure that fit your company’s needs, strategies, and culture.

The Myths and Realities of Business Ecosystems

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 13 min 

The rise of ecosystems requires a new way of thinking about business: the ecosystems perspective. If we can describe this unique perspective, and clear up the myths and confusions surrounding the use of the term, we position ourselves to design strategy effectively in ecosystems.

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How to Read and Respond to Weak Digital Signals

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 8 min 

In the digital age, the competitive landscape can be transformed in the blink of an eye. Companies can use weak digital signals to help redefine their offerings and the scale and scope of how they compete. Companies that can’t do this in a timely manner put themselves at a competitive disadvantage because they must invest in additional resources to catch up.

How to Create Belonging for Remote Workers

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Feeling a sense of belonging, which is when we feel safe and valued for embracing what makes us different, makes us happier and more productive. Not belonging, on the other hand, is among the strongest predictors of turnover. This issue can be exacerbated for remote employees, who don’t benefit from the same in-person, day-to-day interactions their colleagues have.

What Would Happen if Baseball Outlawed the Shift?

Baseball teams routinely use analytics to shift fielders’ positions so they can be placed where a hitter is most likely to hit the ball. This works well for preventing the opposing team from hitting and scoring — but it’s not so great for the game, which relies on base hits and scored runs to keep fans excited and engaged. Should “shifting” be banned for the sake of the fans?

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