Ideas for your work from MIT Sloan School of Management | Office of Communications
+ THREE INSIGHTS FOR THE WEEK September 12 – September 18, 2021
1. The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship held its tenth annual Demo Day on Sept. 10. The event is the culmination of the center’s delta V accelerator, which provides student-led teams with entrepreneurship training, funding, office space, and prototyping tools.
Among the 16 MIT startups to watch:
- Almond Finance, which allows customers of the more than 250 Southeast Asian mobile wallet apps to send and receive money internationally, regardless of which app they use.
- Carestry, an online registry where unpaid family caregivers and their care teams can list needed items and services, such as accessible furniture, help with medical bills, and meal deliveries.
- Ivu Biologics, a technology platform focused on making, storing, and delivering microbes for use across a variety of industries. Ivu Biologics’ first use case is to improve crop harvests.
- Pelicargo, a digital booking platform connecting companies that need to ship cargo with airlines that have open cargo capacity on their planes.
- Robigo, a biotech startup engineering pesticides that work like vaccines for plants, targeting pathogenic bacteria without killing the plant or harming crop workers.
- Stack, software that uses augmented reality to help warehouse employees count items faster and find the most efficient route to a product.
2. In an innovation ecosystem, organizations engage with a range of external players — universities, government, corporations, entrepreneurs, and risk capital — to accelerate their innovation cycles. The phenomenon has led to geographic hotspots from Silicon Valley and New York, to Shenzhen, China and Cape Town, South Africa.
In a recent webinar, MIT Sloan professor Fiona Murray, co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative, predicted that the ecosystem model will hold post-pandemic, though in a slightly different way.
“Smaller-scale ecosystems, supported by digital collaboration technologies, are going to thrive and be very vibrant,” said Murray, citing locales like Leeds, England and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Murray and senior lecturer Phil Budden expressed hope that these ecosystems will be more diverse, engaging local talent that may previously have been shut out due to lack of access, networks, or training.
“We have to work out how to connect and listen to the ideas that are coming from the community,” Murray said. “You have to be willing to open up social networks to people who are different from you and different from the people you’ve invested in before.”
3. Collaboration expert Erica Dhawan is a consultant, keynote speaker, and author of two books, but that’s not where she expected to land in her career.
In a recent Q&A, Dhawan, MBA ’12, author of “Digital Body Language,” talked about her “a-ha” moment and why she’s a fan of the word “no.”
In what ways is your professional life different from how you imagined it would be? I got shiny degrees from Ivy Leagues and marched into a glamorous job on Wall Street [but] in the 2008 recession, I witnessed firsthand the disillusionment, confusion, and burnout that can happen in toxic business cultures. After the financial collapse, I switched gears entirely to try to find more meaning in my work. Today, I advise CEOs and leadership teams to drive cultures of collaboration and innovation.
What’s a difficult lesson you’ve learned? One of the most valuable lessons I had to learn was that it was okay to say “no” if an opportunity didn’t feel right. I thought I had to do it all, but in fact, I only had to do what truly mattered and made a difference.