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

April 18 – April 24, 2021

1. How can managers continue to connect with employees as many organizations begin a second year of remote work? A new book, “Remote, Inc.,” by MIT Sloan senior lecturer Robert Pozen and tech writer Alexandra Samuel, offers guidance.

The authors outline four managerial tools that help remote workers to be individually productive and contribute to the overall success of the team: ground rules, team meetings, one-on-ones, and performance reviews.

A sampling of ground rules might include:


  • How long, how many, how often, and how long a break there should be in between.
  • How to structure and circulate meeting agendas and follow-up notes.
  • When to turn on your video and when it’s OK to go audio only.
  • Rules for multitasking or backchannel chats during team calls.

Email and messaging

  • When to include people in an email thread.
  • Shared structure or shorthand for subject lines (like including “URGENT”).
  • How quickly team members need to reply to email or team messages.
  • Whether, when, and how often team members should check or reply to messages outside of business hours.
  • Whether it’s OK to email/message/call after hours.
  • When to email, when to Slack.


2. When testing ideas, Krishna Gupta seeks a “break from chaos” — which isn’t always easy, as Gupta, SB ’09, runs the early-stage venture fund Remus Capital and sits on a variety of boards. In 2019, he sold off his first fund for $4 million, quadruple its original worth.

In a Q&A, Gupta spoke about the “structured chaos” of idea generation in a startup environment, his predictions for the intersection of human behavior and machine learning, and his appreciation for people who push boundaries. Some highlights:

Who inspires you? I am inspired by self-made leaders who aspire to create empires — business, technological, scientific, artistic — in the pursuit of unlocking human potential and progress. They build to last, not to flip, and I have deep admiration for that.

What is your biggest idea? I have been exploring the intersection of human behavior and machine learning/artificial intelligence since I founded the firm at MIT. I truly believe that humans will inform the development of intelligent machines and machines will help augment humans, and that this duality will have a profoundly positive impact on the development of our world.


3. The number of biotech startup companies spinning out of academia has surged in recent years, but little data has been collected on the impact of this academic technology transfer.

In an article published in Nature Biotechnology, MIT researchers addressed that gap by developing a framework for tracking innovation in the life sciences sector with origins in academia.

The study, led by MIT Sloan professor Andrew Lo and former MIT Technology Licensing Office director Lita Nelsen, examined data on therapeutics-focused life sciences companies formed through the licensing office between 1983 and 2017.

The researchers found that technology licensed from MIT had a relatively high degree of success in the pharmaceutical landscape: Out of 31 FDA-approved drugs that used MIT licenses, 55% were granted priority review — more than twice the industry average of 24%.

While the study’s scope was limited by sample size and only examined companies affiliated with MIT, the authors hope the framework, which establishes the importance of academic intellectual property to biotech startups, will help increase funding as those companies navigate the “valley of death” — meaning the financing gap between early-stage research and clinical development.

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