How Should We Measure the Digital Economy?
For Startups, Press Is Good, But Meeting Customers Is Better
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Nowhere to Go – How Governments in the Americas Are Bungling the Migration Crisis
The Truth About Open Offices
This economist has a plan to fix capitalism. It’s time we all listened
The Need For Discovery Gap Years, Microinternships As Students Choose College
The New Role for Managers in Workplace Learning
What’s the biggest threat facing businesses today? When PricewaterhouseCoopers polled CEOs across the world about this at the end of 2018, the top three responses were virtually tied: overregulation, policy uncertainty, and availability of key skills.Read More
The Woman Who Discovered the Cause of Global Warming Was Long Overlooked. Her Story Is a Reminder to Champion All Women Leading on Climate
Eunice Newton Foote rarely gets the credit she’s due. The American scientist, who was born exactly 200 years ago on Wednesday, was the first woman in climate science.Read More
The problem with tech people who want to solve problems
Podcast featuring Joi Ito
According to a witty saying usually attributed to Albert Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” And when engineers try to solve a problem, says MIT’s Joi Ito, they often veer over that line.Read More
Why You Need Innovation Capital — And How to Get It
Podcast featuring Nathan Furr
Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were great both great inventors of their time. Tesla was brilliant. He even felt sorry for how long it took Edison to come up with his inventions. But Tesla was eventually forced out of his company and he died penniless.Read More
After Augmented Reality, the Virtual World Still Affects You
Featuring Jeremy Bailenson
Researchers found that after people had an experience in augmented reality (AR)—with goggles that layer computer-generated content onto real-world environments simulated—their interactions in their physical world changed as well, even when they weren’t wearing the AR device. For example, people avoided sitting on a chair they had just seen a virtual person sit on.
Closing America’s Skills Gap
By Kelly Palmer
The United States does not have the world’s most-skilled labor force; that distinction belongs to Finland, according to the World Economic Forum. The U.S. does not have the most advanced vocational training, either; that’s found in Switzerland, which is “also the most effective with active labor-market policies encouraging reskilling and retraining,” according to a nearly 700-page report from the Forum.Read More
Anki, Jibo, and Kuri: What We Can Learn from Social Robots That Didn’t Make It
By Guy Hoffman
News of Anki’s shutdown has spread like wildfire through the social robotics research community. Following the demise of Jibo and Kuri less than a year ago, it now seems that three of the most viable contenders to lead the budding market of social home robots have failed to find a sustainable business model.Read More
Forget about artificial intelligence, extended intelligence is the future
By Joi Ito
Last year, I participated in a discussion of The Human Use of Human Beings, Norbert Weiner’s groundbreaking book on cybernetics theory. Out of that grew what I now consider a manifesto against the growing singularity movement, which posits that artificial intelligence, or AI, will supersede and eventually displace us humans.Read More
How Departing Leaders Can Pass Along Their Wisdom to Employees
Earlier this spring I had the chance to witness two of the “farewell talks” that Ed Catmull gave to the people of Pixar. Catmull, the company’s cofounder and long-time leader (and also president of Disney Animation Studios since the Disney acquisition of Pixar over a decade ago) had announced his retirement in late 2018. He chose to spend his last day on Pixar’s Emeryville campus not being celebrated by his colleagues but, instead, sharing thoughts about the challenges they would face in the years to come.Read More
Meet the English Professor Creating The Billion-Dollar College Of The Future
Featuring Paul LeBlanc
The tall, silver-bearded president of Southern New Hampshire University is beaming as he takes a brisk walk through the halls of the Mill, the private not-for-profit school’s vast nerve center. There are no students here. Instead, the converted textile factory on the banks of the Merrimack River in Manchester, New Hampshire, is packed with row after row of gray cubicles staffed by 1,700 employees servicing the exploding online enrollment—some 135,000 and counting—at SNHU, as the school is known.Read More
“You can’t be it if you can’t see it”: Tackling discrimination in tech
Featuring Ayanna Howard
Dr. Ayanna Howard and Dr. Timnit Gebru knew from the moment they met that they would have a lot to talk about. Ayanna Howard is the chair of the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, and Timnit Gebru is the co-founder of Black in AI. They first crossed paths in 2017 at the Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, where they started a conversation about bias and discrimination in AI, issues they live every day as women of color in the robotics and computer vision fields.Read More
How Rana el Kaliouby Found the Courage to Become CEO of the Company She Founded
Featuring Rana el Kaliouby
Rana el Kaliouby co-founded A.I. startup Affectiva in 2009. But it wasn’t until 2016 that she gathered up the courage to say she wanted to be the company’s chief executive, despite the fact that she was already handling many CEO-level responsibilities.Read More
Why It’s Time to Start Using ‘Personalized Learning’ as a Verb, Not a Noun
Personalized learning remains one of the hottest tickets in today’s education circles. Education technology companies herald its promise. Numerous foundations continue to invest in its potential for transforming schools.Read More
THE PENTAGON NEEDS TO WOO AI EXPERTS AWAY FROM BIG TECH
By Amy Webb
This week, President Donald Trump signed a new executive order on artificial intelligence and the Pentagon declassified part of its AI strategy. Neither was a first attempt at a national AI strategy. In 2016, the Obama administration published a comprehensive plan on the future of AI, which never had time to gain the momentum it needed in government.Read More
AR WILL SPARK THE NEXT BIG TECH PLATFORM—CALL IT MIRRORWORLD
By Kevin Kelly
Every December, Adam Savage—star of the TV show MythBusters—releases a video reviewing his “favorite things” from the previous year. In 2018, one of his highlights was a set of Magic Leap augmented reality goggles. After duly noting the hype and backlash that have dogged the product, Savage describes an epiphany he had while trying on the headset at home, upstairs in his office. “I turned it on and I could hear a whale,” he says, “but I couldn’t see it. I’m looking around my office for it. And then it swims by my windows—on the outside of my building!Read More
Why I think Satya Nadella is the real deal when it comes to trust
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear dozens of business leaders speak at the World Economic Forum held in Davos. The erosion of trust (and how to rebuild it) was a reoccurring theme. In many of the sessions, I found myself feeling frustrated or tuning out — I didn’t believe the person on the stage really meant or knew how to turn the idea of trust into behaviours that could make their cultures more trustworthy.Read More
A Study on Driverless-Car Ethics Offers a Troubling Look Into Our Values
Featuring: Iyad Rahwan
The first time Azim Shariff met Iyad Rahwan—the first real time, after communicating with him by phone and e-mail—was in a driverless car. It was November, 2012, and Rahwan, a thirty-four-year-old professor of computing and information science, was researching artificial intelligence at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a university in Abu Dhabi.
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Clayton Christensen: Innovation Is The Answer
Know it or not, like it or not, no single business thinker of the past 50 years has had as much impact on the day-to-day way you run your business than Clayton Christensen. With his seminal 1997 work The Innovator’s Dilemma, he diagnosed one of the most intractable problems in all of capitalism: Why do great companies die? What actually happens to them?Read More
The Hard Truth About Innovative Cultures
By Gary Pisano
A culture conducive to innovation is not only good for a company’s bottom line. It also is something that both leaders and employees value in their organizations. In seminars at companies across the globe, I have informally surveyed hundreds of managers about whether they want to work in an organization where innovative behaviors are the norm. I cannot think of single instance when someone has said “No, I don’t.” Who can blame them: Innovative cultures are generally depicted as pretty fun.Read More
‘Robot-Ready’ or not, the future is coming
Featuring Michelle Weise
Look around. We’re already toe-deep into a world in which humans and machines collaborate. Chatbots are often our first interaction with a customer service department before we’re connected to a “live” representative. Robots work alongside humans on assembly lines and perform repetitious work such as lifting and attaching heavy doors to new vehicles. Robo-human workplace interactions are going to be more commonplace as technology makes it easier to automate parts of our jobs.Read More
The Blockchain: Boon for Bankers–or Tool for Tyrants?
Featuring Neha Narula
Despite all the grifting, thieving, speculation, and wild price swings you’ve heard about, bitcoin and other decentralized digital currencies are clearly here to stay. Boosters think cryptocurrencies and the distributed ledgers called blockchains they depend on will reinvent the financial system. Neha Narula, who studies them full time, and Joi Ito, who has been following digital money since the dawn of the web, talk about what that reinvention might look like.Read More
What Would It Take to Get Businesses to Focus Less on Shareholder Value?
Last week, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced that she’s about to propose the most significant change in U.S. corporate governance in 100 years. We don’t yet have the full details, but one reading of her piece is that she’s going to propose requiring every company with more than $1 billion in revenue to become a “benefit corporation” — a corporation whose fiduciary duty is not only to its shareholders but to all its major “stakeholders.”Read More
Artificial Intelligence Will Replace Tasks, Not Jobs
Featuring Erik Brynjolfsson
There is no shortage of angst when it comes to the impact of AI on jobs. For example, a survey by Pew Research Internet finds Americans are roughly twice as likely to express worry (72%) than enthusiasm (33%) about a future in which robots and computers are capable of doing many jobs that are currently done by humans.Read More
Is your kid friends with Alexa? A psychologist on what that means for their development
Featuring Sherry Turkle
Robots long ago took up residence in factories and warehouses, and now they’re moving into bars and coffee shops — and our homes. The newest of these household robots, like Jibo, Kuri and Cozmo, come with features other appliances lack: charming personalities.
Cute little bots that recognize faces and voices and respond in endearing ways might seem innocuous enough. But Sherry Turkle is concerned — especially since they are intended to become part of children’s lives.Read More
Can Comments from Haters Actually Be a Good Thing?
Featuring Mary Lou Jepsen
When someone criticizes you, or, to say it more politely, gives you a critique, it stings a bit. But what if you could train your brain to take a criticism and turn it into a good thing?
Author Jennifer Dulski, who is the head of Groups and Community at Facebook, shares her practical tips on how to do just that in her new book, Purposeful: Are You a Manager or a Movement Starter.Read More
Morality in the Machine
Featuring Jonathan Zittrain
The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard is renowned for its research on the online world. Similarly, the MIT Media Lab is acclaimed for collaborations in which technologists and other experts invent and reinvent how humans experience—and can be aided by—technology.Read More
What Elon Musk Doesn’t Understand about Journalism
Is crowdsourcing ratings of journalistic credibility a good idea? Maybe, but Musk doesn’t understand his own idea. Elon Musk’s sometimes antagonistic relationship with the press is no secret.
But last week, the billionaire chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla exhibited a new level of hostility. In a series of tweets, Musk referred to journalists as “holier-than-thou” hypocrites, said that news organizations had lost their credibility and the respect of the public, and blamed the media for the election of President Trump.Read More
Four Rules for Learning How to Talk to Each Other Again
By Jason Pontin
YOU HATE ME! I know, because you tell me so, over and over again. I’m infuriatingly arrogant, comprehensively mistaken, and blithely unconscious of my good luck. I’m a citizen of Anywhere, but reside Somewhere with you, and share none of your affections and loyalties. I don’t understand the difficulties of ordinary life. Most of all, you resent my sneering contempt. You suspect I think you’re a racist rube, the worst thing a person can be in our society.Read More
Capitalism’s Greatest Weakness? It Confuses Price with Value
The global financial crisis, which began in 2008 and whose repercussions will continue to echo round the world for years to come, has triggered myriad criticisms of the modern capitalist system: it is too ‘speculative’; it rewards ‘rent-seekers’ over true ‘wealth creators’; and it has permitted the rampant growth of finance, allowing speculative exchanges of financial assets to be compensated more than investments that lead to new physical assets and job creation.Read More
Thought-Reading Machines and the Death of Love
By Jason Pontin
Ludwig Wittgenstein once imagined that everyone had a box with something in it called a “beetle.” Denying the possibility of private language, the philosopher wrote, “No one can look into anyone else’s box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle.” Wittgenstein meant that we learn a word by observing the rules governing its use, but no one sees another person’s beetle: “It would be quite possible for everyone to have something different in his box,” or nothing at all.Read More
The Demise of the Full-Time MBA
By Michael Horn
For nearly two decades, Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School has been predicting that disruptive innovations would impact management education—and that even the likes of the Harvard Business School would feel their might. As recent headlines attest, that no longer feels so far away or like a crazy prediction.Read More
Why Medicine’s Digital Transformation is Just Beginning
One-half of the physician workday is gobbled up by administrative work, often associated with electronic health records (EHRs). Yet Robert Wachter, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, foresees a day when EHRs—and other health information technology (IT) used to its fullest extent—actually make physicians’ lives easier and improve care.Read More
How Charities are Harnessing the Power of VR
Featuring Jeremy Bailenson
I’m standing in the middle of a crumbling, sun-beaten neighborhood, peering out from my home as a trickle of villagers either cast disdainful glances in my direction or ignore me completely as they shamble through the derelict street. I feel isolated and alone, cut off from a dimmed world due to my cleft lip.Read More
Silicon Valley’s Immortalists Will Help Us All Stay Healthy
In early 1954, Pope Pius XII summoned a venerable Swiss quack named Paul Niehans to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo. The pontiff was nauseated with gastritis, fatigued by his 77 years, and loath to meet his maker. So he had Niehans administer an antiaging treatment called cell therapy, which would become sought after by midcentury celebrities, artists, and politicians.
Fetal cells were taken from a pregnant sheep and injected into the scrawny pope. Over time, Pius received a series of shots. The Holy Patient felt rejuvenated; Niehans was appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in thanks. But if the treatments worked at all, it wasn’t for long: Pius died four years later.Read More
Bionic Limbs Could be Better and Feelable the Near Future
The discovery of prosthetic limbs came with lots of amazement and hope to amputees who so far make 1.9 million of the US population. These bionic limbs have greatly eliminated the frustrations of always having to rely on assistance from friends that is when the affected wants to move from one point to another. However, the need to better these manmade limbs has made bionic technology to grow in leaps and bounds In fact, to unimaginable levels, that today we have Paralympic Championship Competitions which give folks who lost either both or one of their limps, the chance to exercise their talents.Read More
Retailers Should Be Worried About Walmart This Holiday Season
Walmart sure seems excited for the holidays. Last week, it announced that its 4,700 stores would host 20,000 holiday parties this season, allowing customers to take pictures with Santa, see product demonstrations, and get gift ideas. The parties will not only be experiential, but also functional, as customers can try out curbside pickup, mobile payment, and get first look at a host of new brands showcased just for the holiday season. Other retailers should sit up and take note.Read More
Big Data Meets Big Brother As China Moves to Rate Its Citizens
On June 14, 2014, the State Council of China published an ominous-sounding document called “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System”. In the way of Chinese policy documents, it was a lengthy and rather dry affair, but it contained a radical idea. What if there was a national trust score that rated the kind of citizen you were?Read More
Drilling For Oil and Gas in the Arctic is Inviting Disaster
Here’s a terrifying thought experiment: imagine an oil disaster like Deepwater Horizon. Same scenario—hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil gushing into the sea, every single day; people missing, presumed dead; the use of massive amounts of chemical dispersants to break down the oil and desperate attempts to contain and stop the unrestrained flow below the surface.
But instead of April in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s December in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea.Read More
Amazon could be the first company worth $1 trillion — but it’ll cost a lot of jobs to get there
With Anindya Ghose
Amazon has shot to historic highs this year and could eventually be the first company to reach a $1 trillion market cap.
According to Anindya Ghose, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, the e-commerce giant could be the first company to break through the $1 trillion barrier for market capitalization. The company is currently worth about $476.07 billion, which means it would need a 110.1% increase in its stock price to reach that level.
How to beat Amazon and other leadership lessons
With Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Business has to shake up its mindset to deal with disruption. As retailers brace themselves for Amazon’s new push into Australian retailing, and new business models challenge, it’s time for a new approach, argues Harvard Business School management and leadership guru Rosabeth Moss Kanter. She offered these leadership tips on a recent visit to Australia.Read More
Why Uber Is Worth Saving, And How To Save It
With Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Uber’s roller coaster ride from ride-sharing pioneer to shunned bad boy should be a lesson to other disruptive startups: Fighting hard is good, while fighting unfairly loses you respect, customers, and perhaps your company.
“A company can fight hard against an entrenched industry like taxicabs. It can fight hard to get the rules changed,” says Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and chair and director of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative. “But showing outright disrespect by trying to go around all of the rules is not a particularly good idea.”Read more
Why a Robot-Filled Education Future May Not Be as Scary as You Think
The robots are coming, and some of them are charming. That was my reaction on a recent visit to Singularity University, when I met two robots named Pris and Pepper. Even though her “brain” was turned off when I met Pris, she was still able to sit on the floor, cock her head, blink, and follow my words and my body with her head. At times, she would even blink with a tinge of pink in her eyes. The effect was uncanny, engaging, and almost flirtatious.Read more
The Journey Toward Value-Based Care Delivery
The transition from volume to value happens through a journey, not a leap. The journey starts when leaders define the purpose of their organization as improving value for patients. The goal of achieving improvement in meaningful patient outcomes supports clinicians’ professionalism and their aspirations as healers.
The cultural and strategic shift to improving health with patients rather than just increasing the volume of patients is a significant transformation. In practice, we’ve noted four key transformation elements that move organizations onto the path of value without a need for giant leaps.Read More
Me and My Troll
By Jason Pontin
I have a troll. Writing as @zdzisiekm, or “Gus,” or under other names, he has commented on stories on TechnologyReview.com 6,386 times and counting as of April 2017. As trolls go, he is unfailingly polite, and he doesn’t violate our site’s terms of service. Instead, he is reflexively, tendentiously wrong about a single topic, again and again. Gus is angry about our reporting on global warming and renewable energy technologies. His objections are notionally scientific, but they have a strongly ideological flavor.Read More
Behind Rightmove’s Extraordinary Growth
Ask Rightmove CEO Peter Brooks-Johnson to name the key to the company’s extraordinary growth and he takes no time to answer. “Are you familiar with the term network effects …?” He’s referring to the phenomenon by which a network (the simplest example is a telephone system) becomes more valuable to its users with each user it gains. Network effects mean that, for some kinds of businesses, there is a tremendous advantage to being a first mover.Read More
Ask a Millennial If You Need To Know More About Shared Value
Business strategy does like its catchphrases: terms such as sustainability, good governance and, of course, shared value. Each has merit, but a recent dusting off of shared value is particularly relevant in today’s constrained and challenging economic and business environment.
When Harvard Business School’s Profs Michael Porter and FSG consultancy co-founder Mark Kramer first coined the term — and the concept — of shared value back in 2006, the idea of business’s ability to drive positive change in society was certainly novel.Read More
When Driverless Cars Crash, Who Gets the Blame and Pays the Damages?
With Bryant Walker Smith
If anything about driverless cars can be considered an old riddle it is this one: the car is driving itself down a residential street when a woman pushing a baby stroller suddenly enters a crosswalk. Unable to stop, should the car’s computer opt to hit mother and child, or veer off to strike a tree, almost certainly killing its passengers?
That macabre scenario has been fodder for ethicists almost since the prospect that cars might drive themselves first entered the horizon. It also, however, provides a second riddle: Regardless of the choice made by the car’s computer, who pays for the damages?Read More
5 Questions Leaders Should Be Asking All the Time
The best teachers all have at least one thing in common: they ask great questions. They ask questions that force students to move beyond simple answers, that test their reasoning, that spark curiosity, and that generate new insights. They ask questions that inspire students to think, and to think deeply.
As a business leader, you might have years of experience and the confidence of your organization behind you, so it may be tempting to think that your job is to always have the right answers. But great leaders have to inspire the same curiosity, creativity, and deeper thinking in their employees that great teachers inspire in their students – and that starts with asking the right questions. Any answer is only as good as the question asked.Read More
For African countries, innovation must trump our focus on trade
By Efosa Ojomo
Considering Africa’s lackluster performance, it is no coincidence that many African countries and global development institutions are now prioritizing a strategy of trade over aid. But what if focusing on trade—such as partnerships with Chinese and American governments and companies—is the wrong way to look at the problem? What if instead, African countries focused on innovation? The opportunities for growth and prosperity would be much brighter.Read More
Moscow Thanks You for Sharing Its Cute Cat Pics
With Amy Webb
We didn’t plan ahead as the internet matured. That’s what makes the proliferation of fake news so acute right now, and why there is no easy way to stop the threat it poses to our nation.
These days it is code, not human arbiters of facts, that dictates what most of us read and watch online. If it seems like you see nothing but Trump headlines, that’s because an algorithm decided you were likely to click, read, and share those stories—and then, right on cue, you did. Algorithms aren’t partisan. They’re designed to execute commands.Read More
Digital and Analog – A Marriage of Impactful Development
An interview with Efosa Ojomo
“I think it is important that we understand that the digital world rests upon a very analog world. We might applaud digital innovations such as the Internet, Uber, and mobile telephony. But we would do ourselves a disservice if we didn’t understand the analog foundations upon which those digital innovations rest. For the Internet to thrive, we need servers which are typically invisible, but very much analog in the sense that they are physical and must exist with a set of systems and processes to ensure they are functional. For Uber to exist, we need good roads, traffic laws, drivers, and people must have places to go. All of which are analog. And last but not least, for mobile telephony to thrive, we need base stations, roads, generators and fuel that power the base stations (at least in many poor countries in Africa), and engineers.”Read More
How Howard Schultz’s Angel Poised Starbucks for Success
Starbucks has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.
The angel works to guide Starbucks toward its better instincts: to retain the vision that impresario Howard Schultz had of re-creating a European café for an American (and now a worldwide) clientele, a “third place” that’s neither work nor home, where you can take your time, and where you pay more for coffee than you would at the deli down the street.Read More
The 32 Million Disruptive Adult Learning Opportunities
A great place to launch new products and services is often in places where there is no competition. Finding such an area of nonconsumption—where customers can be delighted by something that is infinitely better than their alternative (nothing at all)—is key to launching a disruptive innovation.
Spotting and sizing a nonconsumption opportunity is often challenging, however, because there is, by definition, no existing market.
These two factors are part of what makes the market for helping adults learn basic skills or develop workforce skills so intriguing.Read More
Bursting the CEO Bubble
When you’re the CEO of a large organization—or even a small one—your greatest responsibility is to recognize whether it requires a major change in direction. Indeed, no bold new course of action can be launched without your say-so. Yet your power and privilege leave you insulated—perhaps more than anyone else in the company—from information that might challenge your assumptions and allow you to perceive a looming threat or opportunity. Ironically, to do what your exalted position demands, you must in some way escape your exalted position.Read More
The tech industry is taking too gloomy a view of the Trump presidency
the industry has been overestimating concerns of what the new administration will do. With Jared Kushner — the “chief architect” of the Trump win — as Silicon Valley’s best ally at the table, there is a much brighter outlook for the tech industry than the majority see.Read More
Leading Across Boundaries: Respect, Leadership And The Future Of Work
Incivility – in the community, in politics, in the workplace – is on the rise. In one survey, nearly everyone (79%) believes it’s creating a serious problem in society. It’s whittling away at people’s health, performance and souls. It’s affecting business. It’s compromising the American Dream for future generations. How we treat one another matters. It centers on respect – something we, as a society, don’t seem to respect.Read More
The Fortune 500 Can’t Go Along with a Rollback on Climate Policy
Most of the business world recognizes the tremendous threat that climate change represents – over the course of the Trump presidency they need to make that perspective heard.
There are at least three things that business can do.Read More
The Right Way to Do Mobile Marketing
with David Bell
The mobile economy – which includes 5G, the Internet of Things, smart cities and connected cars – is expected to account for 4.5% of North America’s GDP by 2020, according to mobile operators trade group GSMA. That’s a $1 trillion value. But while people and businesses increasingly spend more time on mobile devices and technology, advertisers haven’t quite caught up, said Anindya Ghose, professor of information, operation and management. Ghose and Wharton marketing professor David Bell discuss the opportunities and pitfalls of mobile marketing on the Knowledge@Wharton Show.Read More
FROM HANDS TO HEADS TO HEARTS
Software has started writing poetry, sports stories and business news. IBM’s Watson is co-writing pop hits. Uber has begun deploying self-driving taxis on real city streets and, last month, Amazon delivered its first package by drone to a customer in rural England.
Add it all up and you quickly realize that Donald Trump’s election isn’t the only thing disrupting society today. The far more profound disruption is happening in the workplace and in the economy at large, as the relentless march of technology has brought us to a point where machines and software are not just outworking us but starting to outthink us in more and more realms.
Facebook Must Stay Out of China
By Clay Shirky
Facebook shouldn’t do this. Although the tool, as described, copies some industry norms — Facebook would suppress messages inside China but show them outside — it comes nowhere near what Beijing would demand for re-entry. At the same time, those additional conditions would make any deal not worth the cost, either ethical or financial.Read More
Mass Hacks Of Private Email Aren’t Whistleblowing, They Are At Odds With It
The world of 2016 is one where leaking a lot is much easier than leaking a little. And the indiscriminate compromise of people’s selfies, ephemeral data, and personal correspondence — what we used to rightly think of as a simple and brutal invasion of privacy — has become the unremarkable chaff surrounding a few worthy instances of potentially genuine whistleblowing.Read More
The Internet is Still at the Beginning of Its Beginning
By Kevin Kelly
Right now, today, in 2016 is the best time to start up. There has never been a better day in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit or risk ratios, better returns, greater upside than now.Read More
Award-Winning Architect Moshe Safdie Focuses On Humanizing High Rises
If you’ve ever been to the the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem, or the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, or the U.S. federal courthouse in Springfield, you have seen the work of the architect Moshe Safdie. Later this month, he’ll receive the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done”
For as long as we can remember, innovation has been a top priority—and a top frustration—for leaders. In a recent McKinsey poll, 84% of global executives reported that innovation was extremely important to their growth strategies, but a staggering 94% were dissatisfied with their organizations’ innovation performance. Most people would agree that the vast majority of innovations fall far short of ambitions.
Why Lincoln Hid His Strongest Feelings from the Public
By Nancy Koehn
The central question here is not so much one of having a private self and a public one, but rather it is a question of, as a leader, how do you present an important issue to different constituents in a way that maximizes the chances of that issue gaining the support you need?
The Third-Leading Cause Of Death Is Preventable, But Candidates Don’t Mention It
By Leah Binder
It is more likely to kill you than terrorism. It has profoundly impacted virtually every American family. So this election year, why aren’t politicians at all levels of government talking about the third-leading cause of death in America—preventable errors in healthcare?Read More
Clayton Christensen On What He Got Wrong About Disruptive Innovation
Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, 64, is best known for his 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma, which introduced the concept of “disruptive innovation.” His new book, Competing Against Luck, introduces the “Jobs to Be Done” theory, a way for companies to stave off competition from disruptive products and services. In this interview, he describes his new theory and explains what was missing from his ideas about disruptive innovation.Read More
How to spot nonconsumption: Five tips
In my first post for the Christensen Institute, I introduced the term nonconsumption as the inability of an entity (person or organization) to purchase and use (consume) a product or service. I explained that if companies included nonconsumption as part of their competition, they would quickly find that it has has the biggest share of many markets. In this post, we will explore how to find nonconsumption opportunities.Read more
Why Uber’s China Loss Will Actually Be a Long-Run Victory for the Company
By Arun Sundararajan, Ph.D.
At first glance, the acquisition of Uber’s China operations by Didi Chuxing may seem to deal a significant blow to Uber — a scaling-back of the company’s bold global ambitions. But a closer look at the agreement suggests that the outcome is actually a victory for Uber’s investors and a lesson for tech entrepreneurs, about balancing aggressive ambition with pragmatic pivoting.Read More
We Need a Better Way to Visualize People’s Skills
By 2020, the US economy is expected to create 55 million job openings: 24 million of these will be entirely new positions. And 48 percent of the new jobs, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, will emphasize a mix of hard and soft intellectual skills, like active listening, leadership, communication, analytics, and administration competencies. How can companies get a better idea of which skills employees and job candidates have?Read More
The Lesson Behind Fortune’s ‘Change the World’ List
As this year’s Change the World List demonstrates, more and more corporate leaders are embracing a new best practice with profound implications for their companies and the wider world. In increasing numbers, managers are integrating societal needs into their corporate strategy, aligning their companies’ business missions with their impact on their communities and the environment.
This approach, which we call Creating Shared Value, is moving into the mainstream and growing exponentially.Read More
Rio 2016: Is Brazil doing the Olympics on the cheap?
Police protests, the threat of the Zika virus, incomplete transport links and a “state of financial emergency” — the build-up to South America’s inaugural Olympic Games on August 5 has been rocky.
Read what Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, lead researcher on forecasting the sport-related costs, said on The University of Oxford’s Said Business School’s website.Read More
In Someone Else’s Skin: NFL Considers VR To Give Players Empathy Training
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell put on a pair of Oculus Rift goggles last summer and was immersed in a brave new world — remarkably similar to our own.
Goodell was at Jeremy Bailenson’s Stanford University lab to learn more about virtual reality empathy training.
“The immersion in virtual reality was so convincing and compelling,” said Michael Huyghue, a confidante of Goodell who accompanied him on the trip. “Roger was tremendously impressed.”Read More
Professor Gathers Infrastructure Solutions From U.S. Cities
For decades, the American Dream has been synonymous with a car and a house with a white picket fence. But Rosabeth Moss Kanter imagines a day when people will dream of a high-rise apartment overlooking a park, instead.
Moss Kanter is a professor at Harvard Business School and she’s the author of Move: How to Rebuild and Reinvent America’s Infrastructure. Moss Kanter spent nearly two years visiting cities around the United States to see how they’re reimagining their infrastructure. In the book, she writes about some of those projects and advocates for walkable, bikeable cities — which, in the urban planning world, is called smart growth.Read More
The Radical Optimist: Saatchi & Saatchi’s Kevin Roberts On How To Lead In A Crazy World
“Do you think we live in a crazy world?” Kevin Roberts asked me on a sunny afternoon, sitting with his back to the Hudson River waterfront glistening outside of his 16th-floor office window. The 66-year-old chairman at Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide and head coach at Publicis Groupe certainly thinks we do. In fact, there’s a term for it — VUCA, which means volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.Read More
Uber and Airbnb Could Reverse America’s Decades-Long Slide into Mass Cynicism
Today’s young Americans are pretty wary of their fellow citizens. In 2014, just 21% of people in the US born after 1980 said they believed that people could generally be trusted, according to the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey. Just a few decades ago, Americans were much more willing to expect good from others: in 1972, 40% of those under age 34 thought most people were trustworthy.
Know the Job Your Product Was Hired for (with Help from Customer Selfies)
In what world is a Snickers bar competing with a kale salad? When a healthy fast food chain recently asked customers to share selfies of them posing with healthy, on-the-go snacks, it received some unexpected pictures – including ones of customers holding Snickers bars. “We focus on organics and cool new macronutrients, and our consumers are into quinoa and kale and bean sprouts,” Alex Blair, who owns four franchises of Freshii, a Toronto-based chain of healthy fast-food outlets, told the New York Times. “But some of these photos were so far from that wavelength, it’s really helping us kind of realign with the mass market.”Read More
THE PERILS OF USING TECHNOLOGY TO SOLVE OTHER PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS
I want to consider a problem that’s been on my mind a great deal since joining the MIT Media Lab five years ago: How do we help smart, well-meaning people address social problems in ways that make the world better, not worse? In other words, is it possible to get beyond both a naïve belief that the latest technology will solve social problems—and a reaction that rubbishes any attempt to offer novel technical solutions as inappropriate, insensitive, and misguided?Read More
Do Startups Really Create Lots of Good Jobs?
Eskimos have 50 words for snow. Humans only use 10% of our brains. We hear these types of “facts” all the time — but are they true? Scientists are now saying, “Not so simple.” We have all seen how repetition of a particular statement or idea tends to lend it legitimacy – the so-called “truth effect.” This effect is likely strengthened when the assertion is made in a serious context by intelligent people with authority. Consider the idea, increasingly an assumption of fact, that “startups create jobs.”Read More
The Inconvenient Truth About Personalized Learning
Personalized learning is quickly gaining steam among educators, philanthropists, and policymakers. The promise of a personalized education system is enormous: we are witnessing an era when new school models and structures, often supported by technology, can tailor learning experiences to each student and allow students more choice in how they access and navigate those experiences.Read More
Disruptive Entrepreneurship vs. Survival Entrepreneurship: Only One of These Can Catapult Africa From Poverty to Prosperity
If entrepreneurship is truly the pathway to prosperity, and if Africa is bustling with entrepreneurs, then why is the continent still devastatingly poor? I am always amazed whenever I read an article that highlights the entrepreneurial prowess of Africans as an asset. Yes, Africans are entrepreneurial but if their entrepreneurialism were as much of an asset as many writers suggest, then Africa – indeed, Africans – should no longer be poor.Read More
Emotional Fantasy: AI Can Pretend to Love Us, But Should We Love It Back?
A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sherry Turkle is constantly questioning the role that technology plays in our lives. From personal computers and medical technology to children’s toys that now include sophisticated artificial intelligence, the pace of technological progress has sped rapidly within the last several decades. But has often been the case in the past, our emotional and ethical progress lags substantially behind the advance of technology, and this is what principally concerns Turkle.Read More
Do You Need Complex Surgery? Some Doctors May Not Have Much Practice
After James Happli of Mosinee, Wis., was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he was referred to a surgeon at a local hospital where he had been treated for lymphoma 28 years earlier. The surgeon told Happli and his wife that although she had never successfully performed a Whipple procedure — the pancreatic cancer operation widely regarded as among the most difficult in surgery — she believed she could do it with the help of a second surgeon.Read More
Q&A: The Impact and Evolution of the Sharing Economy
Last week, Pew Research Center released a new report that examined Americans’ usage of and exposure to the sharing economy, as well as their views on a number of issues associated with some of its services. To further examine the potential impact of these new digital services on the future of work, government regulations and the economy as a whole, we interviewed Arun Sundararajan. Sundararajan is a professor of business at New York University, a leading expert on the sharing economy and the author of the new book “The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism.”
The traditional gold-standard approach to research—a randomized control trial (RCT)—is not worth its weight as we move to a student-centered education system that personalizes for all students so that they succeed.Read More
How Can Pharma Firms Market Their Way Back to Growth?
As pharmaceutical firms look for a way to jumpstart growth, they could benefit from adopting strategies relevant to the digital age, according to this opinion piece by David Bell, a Wharton marketing professor, Brian Fox, senior partner in McKinsey’s pharmaceutical and medical products practice, and Ryan Olohan, national industry director of healthcare at Google. The three are authors of the e-book, Pharma 3D: Rewriting the Script for Marketing in the Digital Age.Read More
Breaking Barriers to Innovation in Healthcare Delivery
For decades, tremendous opportunities for innovation in healthcare delivery have been bypassed, mostly as a result of misaligned incentives. Incredibly, these are innovations that deliver double wins — better outcomes for patients and simultaneously, lower costs to the system — and often double-digit percentage gains on both dimensions.Read More
The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup
THERE IS SOMETHING special happening in a generic office park in an uninspiring suburb near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inside, amid the low gray cubicles, clustered desks, and empty swivel chairs, an impossible 8-inch robot drone from an alien planet hovers chest-high in front of a row of potted plants. It is steampunk-cute, minutely detailed. I can walk around it and examine it from any angle.Read More
A Futuristic Suit That Gives You a Taste of Old Age
What could it possibly be like to be old? The stooped shuffle, the halting speech, the dimming senses. An exhibit opening on Friday at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City answers the question by letting you walk a proverbial mile in your elders’ orthopedic shoes. Slip into the R70i Age Suit, a robotic contraption complete with “augmented reality” goggles, and suddenly you are 85. It is not very pleasant.
The Global Search for Education: In Search of Professional Ethicists – Is Education a Profession? – Part 2
In the profit-above-all-world of digitization and automation, ethics and the nature of professionalism seem to be in question and under attack from all sides. Will the new robots on the block provide the same expertise and multiple intelligences we expect from human experts? What can be done to preserve and strengthen the quality of our professions?Read More
What Created Donald Trump? A Leadership Vacuum, Says Historian Nancy Koehn
What created Donald Trump? It’s a question that the Republican Party’s establishment is forced to grapple with now that the businessman-turned-politician is dominating in the primary contests and hurtling toward winning the nomination this summer. It’s also a question that Harvard historian Nancy Koehn—an expert on leadership—has thought a lot about. For her, the answer lies in a lack of direction and leadership on the level of the party itself.Read More
Products to Platforms: Making the Leap
For years, Microsoft’s Outlook has been losing ground to Google’s Gmail and to the e-mail apps integrated into iPhones and other mobile devices. But now the company is trying to inject new life into Outlook, attempting to transform it from a simple e-mail product into a platform that connects users to a multitude of third-party services such as Uber, Yelp, and Evernote. Whether or not the leap from product to platform works is an immensely important question—not just for Microsoft but also for a growing number of businesses built around products or services.Read More
Why Do Megaprojects Fail?
From Boston’s Big Dig to San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, it seems like every major infrastructure project opens years late and goes billions over budget. So why do these projects keep getting built? And who should citizens blame when they fail?View More
Marc Andreessen & Clayton Christensen: “Venture Capital Is Abundant, Opportunity Is Scarce”
Years after Clayton Christensen flipped Marc Andreessen’s world upside down, the two finally sat down for a conversation in Silicon Valley. Andreessen was taught the algebra of business: “If big companies are well run, startups can’t take them out.” You must wait until a company is poorly run to attack. Christensen, with the publishing of bestseller Innovator’s Dilemma, taught the world “the calculus of business,” Andreessen complimented: “for my generation… flipped [the algebra of business] on its head.”Read More
The Very First Mistake Most Startup Founders Make
Founders face a wide range of decisions when building their startups: market decisions, product decisions, financing decisions, and many more. The temptation is to prioritize these choices over decisions about how to structure their own founding teams. That’s understandable, but perilous. Our research, forthcoming in Management Science, identifies one of those important pitfalls: founder equity splits, i.e., the way founders allocate the ownership amongst themselves when starting their company.Read More
An Intelligence Expert Defines the Real Problem with Standardized Testing in Schools
Creator of the multiple intelligences theory, Harvard professor Howard Gardner values assessment in school settings. It’s important to know how children in America are performing relative to other countries and how their performance changes over time. There is a current problem, however. Gardner says we’ve come to valorize one kind of test — the multiple-choice, short-answer exam — that measures only one kind of intelligence: the mathematical/linguistic kind. Having a more well-rounded understanding of achievement would benefit our understanding of education, he says, and ultimately benefit the students themselves.Read More
When Was the Last Time You Asked, “Why Are We Doing It This Way?”
During a time when many retailers are struggling, business is booming at Target. But it wasn’t too long ago that the discount retailer’s future didn’t glow so bright. When CEO Brian Cornell took the reins two years ago, he inherited a company that had been struggling for years, taking far too few risks, and sticking too close to the core.Read More
Apple Bites Back: Zittrain, Sulmeyer on the Privacy-Security Showdown Between the Tech Giant and FBI
Apple Inc.’s refusal to help the FBI retrieve information from an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., has thrust the tug-of-war on the issue of privacy vs. security back into the spotlight. As the legal wrangling to untangle the case widens, the Gazette spoke separately with George Bemis Professor of Law Jonathan Zittrainand cyber-security expert Michael Sulmeyer about the inherent tensions in the case, in which two important principles of American life are at odds.Read More
Can China’s Companies Conquer the World?
Despite China’s recent economic struggles, many economists and analysts argue that the country remains on course to overtake the United States and become the world’s leading economic power someday soon. Indeed, this has become a mainstream view—if not quite a consensus belief—on both sides of the Pacific. But proponents of this position often neglect to take into account an important truth: economic power is closely related to business power, an area in which China still lags far behind the United States.Read More
Jeremy Bailenson Peers Into the Future of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is getting a lot better at simulating the real world. Just how good is it going to get, and how fast? And what’s the best way to deploy the technology for consumers and businesses alike? The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey A. Fowler spoke to Jeremy Bailenson, co-founder of Strivr Labs and director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University.Read More