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

THINKING+++ FORWARD

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

+ THREE INSIGHTS FOR THE WEEK October 31 – November 6, 2021

1. Shortly after Wilbert Gore started his business in 1958 — best known for its waterproof GORE-TEX fabric — he said he wanted to build a company that “would foster self-fulfillment and … multiply the capabilities of the individuals comprising it beyond their mere sum.”

He succeeded, so much so that W. L. Gore today is what MIT Sloan leadership experts call a nimble organization, a company filled with people who feel it is their job to lead and to step forward, propose new ideas, and translate them into action.

MIT Sloan professor Deborah Ancona, lecturer Kate Isaacs, and research scientist Elaine Backman have identified three leadership types that drive how these nimble organizations operate:

  • Entrepreneurial leaders generate ideas that tie into the firm’s overarching strategy.
  • Enabling leaders communicate the top-level purpose of the nimble organization, its strategic goals, and how individual roles and work connect to those goals and overarching purpose.
  • Architecting leaders shape culture and structure, the way teams are set up, what practices are in place, what values the organization stands for, and its guiding purpose and strategic priorities.

 

2. Some people hear the word “blockchain” and think of Bitcoin. Michael Casey envisions a world of decentralized finance — the ecosystem of financial applications built upon blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

Casey, chief content officer of CoinDesk, a media outlet covering the blockchain and digital assets industry, shared his optimism at the recent EmTech conference hosted by MIT Technology Review.

DeFi holds the potential to function as an alternative to centrally governed institutions like banks, reducing bureaucracy and providing financial services without geographical barriers.

“A lot of new ideas in DeFi are basically disintermediating credit or allowing for the transfer across borders of a stablecoin that can go from you to your cousin in Nigeria and [eliminate] all of those functions in the middle,” Casey said.

He welcomes government regulation of the nascent industry, up to a point. Regulation needs to protect consumers, Casey said, but also allow for DeFi’s benefits — financial inclusion, a more open system, and creator innovation — to flourish.

 

3. A new report from MIT Sloan Management Review examines the cultural benefits of artificial intelligence in the enterprise. The research, conducted in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, identifies ways that AI improves organizational effectiveness and strengthens teams and enterprise cultures.

With AI systems in place, teams can perform tasks with more pride and confidence and collaborate more effectively, the research found.

The report is based on a global survey of 2,197 managers and interviews with 18 executives. Among survey respondents with AI implementations that improved efficiency and decision-making, more than 75% also saw improvements in team morale, collaboration, and collective learning.

And survey respondents who saw significant financial benefits from their AI initiatives were 10 times more likely to change how they measure success than those who saw no such benefits.

In some cases, the report states, AI also helped organizations identify new performance drivers, realign behaviors, and become more competitive.

The report is available to download from the MIT Sloan Management Review website.

Content from the: MIT Sloan Office of Communications Building E90, 9th Floor 1 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02142

Questions and Comments: thinkingforward@mit.edu

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