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

May 16 – May 22, 2021

1. One year after the murder of George Floyd by police sparked a historic movement for racial justice, many organizations are reflecting on efforts to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive business environment.

Conversations about race and racism can be uncomfortable, but they’re necessary for an equitable and inclusive workplace, says MIT Sloan lecturer Malia Lazu, a former Berkshire Bank executive vice president who focuses on inclusion. “If you’re willing to be uncomfortable, you can learn a hell of a lot.”

Some ideas for firms looking to begin or deepen those conversations:


2. Understanding cultural differences in mask-wearing could help the world be more prepared for the next global crisis.

New research from culture and globalization expert Jackson Lu, an MIT Sloan assistant professor, found that people in more collectivistic cultures were more likely to wear masks than people in more individualistic cultures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on a collectivism-individualism index commonly used in cultural psychology, some countries are more collectivistic, such as South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. By contrast, other countries are more individualistic, such as the Netherlands, the U.S., and South Africa.

In a series of four large-scale studies, Lu and co-researchers found that collectivism reliably predicted mask use, even after the researchers accounted for factors such as political affiliation, demographics, population density, socioeconomic indicators, universal health coverage, government response stringency, and others.

“A key implication of our research is that, net of other factors, more collectivistic cultures are less vulnerable to global crises like the COVID-19 pandemic,” the researchers wrote. “To curb the pandemic, it is critical that people prioritize the collective welfare over personal convenience.”


3. A startup looking to cut industrial energy waste took home the grand prize at the 2021 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.

The flagship event, which started in 1989, has served as the springboard for a variety of successful startups, including HubSpot and Akamai Technologies. Each year more than $300,000 in non-dilutive funding is awarded to startup companies.

This year’s grand-prize winner, Osmoses, is developing new membrane separation technology designed to help industrial gas and vapor plants cut both production costs and carbon dioxide emissions.

Mach9 Robotics, a startup building large-scale subsurface datasets to create a sort of Google Street View for underground utilities, took home the second-place prize of $25,000.

Read the full list of finalists.

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By MIT Sloan CDO