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

March 14 – March 20, 2021

1. “Everybody needs data literacy, because data is everywhere. It’s the new currency, it’s the language of the business. We need to be able to speak that.”

So said author and data science expert Piyanka Jain, in talking with MIT Sloan on the importance of building data literacy within organizations. Here are other data and analytics quotes and statistics from scientists and practitioners that resonate:

  • “You can have all of the fancy tools, but if [your] data quality is not good, you’re nowhere.” — Veda Bawo, director of data governance, Raymond James
  • “Most companies have an IT organization, but they haven’t thought of the possibilities of decoupling the ‘I’ from the ‘T’ and managing information and technology as separate assets.” — Doug Laney, author, “Infonomics”
  • “If you want people to make the right decisions with data, you have to get in their head in a way they understand.” — Miro Kazakoff, senior lecturer, MIT Sloan
  • “The skill of data storytelling is removing the noise and focusing people’s attention on the key insights.” — Brent Dykes, data strategy consultant


2. Here is a good excuse to keep your video off during your next virtual meeting: It reduces the environmental impact of that videoconference by 96%.

New research conducted by a team from MIT, Purdue University, and Yale University studied some overlooked environmental impacts of internet use by estimating associated carbon, land, and water footprints for common online activities and applications such as Netflix, Zoom, TikTok, and Twitter.

One hour of streaming or videoconferencing can emit between 150 and 1,000 grams of carbon dioxide, depending on the service. By comparison, a car produces about 8,887 grams from burning one gallon of gasoline. That hour also requires 2 – 12 liters of water and a land area about the size of an iPad Mini.

According to the research, if remote work continues through the end of 2021, the global carbon footprint could grow by 34.3 million tons in greenhouse gas emissions.


3.Humera Khan is dedicated to solving one of the world’s most intractable problems: violent extremism. The MIT graduate (she holds four degrees in total) takes a data-driven approach to help local communities anticipate and prevent white power movements.

Khan co-founded and is president at think tank Muflehun, and she served as strategic advisor to the Assistant Secretary General of the U.N. Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.

In a recent Q&A, Khan discussed the power of social resilience and how she works with ideas:

Where do you get ideas? Everywhere! I read books, watch movies, travel extensively, observe people and nature, have spirited discussions with strangers and friends, and connect dots across disparate landscapes.

What is your biggest idea? Currently at Muflehun, we are building a Community Resilience Early Warning System, a data-driven analytic system to help state and local governments anticipate emerging hot spots of violent extremism.

CREWS helps communities generate local prevention priorities — such as redirecting resources towards education, social services, and mental health resources instead of focusing only on law enforcement to deter attacks. This approach has not been tried before, and the stakes have never been higher.

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MIT Sloan Office of Communications
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