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Friday, January 20, 2017
By Chris Charyk The pros-and-cons list enjoys a long and storied history, going back at least as far as 1772, when Benjamin Franklin advised his friend and fellow scientist Joseph Priestley to “divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns, writing over the one Pro, and...
By Liane Davey RECENT scandals underscore the notion that some executives are dictating growth targets so high that their employees are turning to unethical and perhaps illegal means to achieve them (see Wells Fargo, Enron and the US Department of Veterans Affairs). Do you worry that you and your team might...
By Freek Vermeulen Judging by the headlines, digital is about to disrupt your industry. I don’t disagree. But in most businesses, digital’s impact will be different from that faced by behemoths, like Amazon.com, Google and Facebook. Here are four guidelines for managing the disruption. Winner doesn’t always take all. Many...
By Yong H. Kim & Gerald F. Davis AS outsourcing has become an increasingly common approach to cutting costs, many producers now rely on globally dispersed supply chains. Apple, for example, works with at least 200 suppliers and 242 smelters and refineries around the world. It’s no wonder that so...

What Great Managers Do Daily

By Ryan Fuller & Nina Shikaloff Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics product analyzes metadata from a customer’s millions of e-mail and meeting interactions to generate a set of key performance indicators for managers. We recently combined behavioral KPIs with employee engagement survey results for two Fortune 100 clients to find out which day-to-day...
By Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez Every organization needs what I call a “hierarchy of purpose.” Without one, it is almost impossible to prioritize effectively. The European budget airline Ryanair, for example, makes clear that it is a no-frills operation where efficiency is the top priority—taking precedence over customer service. Ryanair’s employees, therefore, know...
By Paul Leinwand & Aaron Gilcreast Activist investors, who expect to boost returns by influencing strategic decisions, are having a significant impact on many industries. And the odds that your company may be targeted by an activist are going up. Activists are asking fundamental strategic questions: Are the company’s investments in...
By Bevin Maguire & Jane Hiscock Customers expect the companies they do business with to understand them as individuals and connect with them in ways that are valuable. Here are four elements of lasting customer engagement: Ask yourself the right questions These include: How well do we know our customers as individuals? How...
By Guru Banavar The early days of artificial intelligence (AI) have been met with public hand-wringing. Well-respected technologists and business leaders have voiced their concerns over the (responsible) development of AI. And Hollywood’s appetite for dystopian AI narratives appears to be bottomless. We’ve never known a technology with more potential to...
By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic WHEN discussing the future of leadership, we tend to focus on the bright-side traits that leaders should possess to be effective, and how those traits may change, based on the evolution of work, organizations and society. Such discussions are important, but they only tell half the story. The...
By Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans & Avi Goldfarb Technological revolutions tend to involve some important activity becoming cheap. Machine intelligence is, in essence, a prediction technology. So it will lower the cost of goods and services that rely on prediction, including transportation, agriculture, health care, energy, manufacturing and retail. But...

How Silicon Valley Beat Boston

By Anil Gupta & Haiyan Wang Despite the East Coast roots of technology entrepreneurship and venture capital, by the 1990s Silicon Valley had gained a major advantage over the Cambridge-Boston area. Cultural factors and government policies played a role. What else accounts for Silicon Valley’s ascendancy? First, digital transformation has engulfed almost...
By Anil Gupta & Haiyan Wang AS the era of China as the world’s low-cost factory comes to an end, innovation is now the most important element in the state’s development strategy. China presents itself as a unique experiment in the power of the state to help the economy become more...
By Andrew Ng IF your industry generates a large amount of data, artificial intelligence (AI) can transform that data into value. For companies that have data but lack deep AI knowledge, I recommend hiring a chief AI officer or a vice president of AI. Here are some traits I suggest looking...
By Chantrelle Nielsen, David Niu & Si Meng Companies are always looking for ways to assess the potential of their employees. One approach is to understand how they collaborate with and influence others within the organization. TINYpulse—a software provider that helps companies measure workplace sentiment—partnered with Microsoft Workplace Analytics to examine the...
By Laurence Minsky & Keith A. Quesenberry Outbound business-to-business (B2B) sales are becoming less effective. A recent survey found that connecting with a prospect now takes 18 or more phone calls; callback rates are below 1 percent; and only 24 percent of outbound sales e-mails are ever opened. Meanwhile, 84 percent...
By Martin Schreier, Hidehiko Nishikawa, Christoph Fuchs & Susumu Ogawa Companies are using crowdsourcing to identify promising ideas that they can translate into winning new products. Our research high-lights the promise of this trend: At the Japanese consumer goods firm Muji, we found that crowdsourced products were among the company’s best  sellers. However, we...
By James Hodson Machine learning refers to a machine’s ability to fulfill objectives based on data and reasoning. At present, however, we have neither the data nor the understanding necessary to build machines that make routine decisions, as well as human beings. But machine learning still offers huge potential. How can...
By Gregg Bell I discuss cyber security with hundreds of executives every year. The biggest mistake I see is companies treating cyber security solely as a matter for information-technology departments to solve. The reality is that cyber security is an enterprise-wide opportunity—and a critically important one. Companies typically waste time and...
By Tim Leberecht Can you run fast and go deep at the same time? Originating in agile software development, the so-called sprint  has entered the business mainstream as an increasingly popular means to accelerate business-model, product or service innovation. Sprints break an otherwise long, complex process into small, achievable chunks that...