THINKING FORWARD – Ideas for your work from MIT Sloan School of Management


Ideas for your work from
MIT Sloan School of Management | Office of Communications

January 24-30, 2021

1. President Biden announced Jan. 18 he will nominate MIT Sloan professor Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Gensler, who previously led the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under the Obama administration, joined the MIT Sloan faculty in 2018. In his time at MIT, Gensler’s teaching and research have focused on blockchain technology, digital currencies, financial technology, and public policy.

A selection of ideas and insights from Gensler includes a recent working paper on deep learning and financial stability, and two free MIT OpenCourseWare classes he developed.

In particular, Gensler’s Blockchain and Money class has drawn renewed interest from cryptocurrency advocates searching for signs on how Gensler might choose to regulate the nascent industry.


2. Organizations have engaged external workers for years in information technology; now, they’re leveraging them as well in areas such as marketing, R&D, human resources, customer service, and finance.

The result is a “workforce ecosystem” comprising internal employees, contractors, gig workers, professional service providers, application developers, crowdsourced contributors, and others.

Writing recently in MIT Sloan Management Review, researchers broke down a series of shifts in the workforce that stand to benefit organizations strategically, though they will require a new approach to management:

  • More nonemployees are doing more work for business. By some estimates, nonemployees are responsible for performing more than 25% of work in the enterprise.
  • The nature of work is evolving, with a shift toward short-term, skills-focused, team-based work engagements.
  • There is growing recognition that a diverse and inclusive workforce can deliver more value; a workforce ecosystem approach allows organizations to attract candidates they have never seen before.

Workforce management must evolve. Organizations typically have separate, unintegrated approaches to managing internal versus external workers. A more holistic approach that spans different types of workers and capabilities can bring about more efficient and effective collaboration, the researchers write.


3. Jill Soley was a mother working part time at Adobe when a senior executive, Lea Hickman, approached her about a big project — one that would require her to return to work full time. “It was a tough decision, but I took it,” said Soley, SB ’92, MBA ’02, in a recent Q&A.

That project turned out to be Adobe Creative Cloud, a success for the company and Soley personally. “I will always appreciate Lea for … not writing me off because I had young kids and worked part time,” she said.

Solely, now vice president of product and design at digital publishing platform Issuu, shared other observations on her career:

On building a “personal board of directors”: The greatest impact on my career has been a tight group of women who are on call/text to provide support, information, advice, perspective, and humor, whenever needed.

On difficult lessons learned: Early in my career, I kept my head down and just tried to do good work. I thought the work would speak for itself, and I’d just get opportunities and promotions. But it doesn’t. You need to be clear about the value you bring to the market and make sure others know what value you provide.

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