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One of a Series: MIT Holidays

MIT Closed - Labor Day

September 4, 2017

Building E51

How Everest Became a Mountain

September 22, 2017, 2:30-4:30 PM

Peter H. Hansen
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Driving Strategic Innovation: Achieving High Performance Throughout the Value Chain

September 24-29, 2017

How do the most successful innovators generate more than their fair share of smart ideas? How do they unleash the creative talent of their people? How do they move ideas through their organizations and supply chains that are not only creative but fast to market? The answers to these key questions form the core of this program for business leaders and entrepreneurs who are determined to position their companies for future growth.

Offered jointly with IMD, this program will combine marketing, product development, technology assessment, value-chain design, project execution, and talent management in an end-to-end roadmap for achieving breakthrough performance. Using a dynamic and integrative value-chain framework created at MIT, participants will gain the capability to position their organizations for future growth.

Participants will leave this program armed with the knowledge of how to influence corporate culture, alter the way their organization responds to the challenge of innovation, and strengthen relationships with partners along the value chain. This intensive learning experience will deliver long-term value, helping business leaders to:

  • Meet technology challenges, from R&D to manufacturing, project management to engineering
  • Link technology decisions with business strategy
  • Integrate product development, process developments, and value-chain strategy
  • Develop organization and supply-chain strategies to position the company for future growth
  • Leverage learning and innovation collaboration with customers, lead users, and suppliers, maximizing the value of research
  • Understand how technologies and markets evolve and how they are linked
  • Outperform the competition by generating breakthrough ideas
  • Cope with shorter product life cycles, while delivering greater customer satisfaction
  • Optimize sourcing and ?make-buy? decisions
  • Integrate supply-chain design with concurrent engineering
  • Engage talent within the organization and across the value chain

Transforming Your Leadership Strategy

September 26-27, 2017

This program is built around MIT's unique Distributed Leadership Model-a powerful, innovative approach to executive leadership that lies at the core of leadership development at MIT, and the result of an intensive, four-year research project at the MIT Leadership Center to identify more effective strategies for leading in a networked economy. Tested in diverse, real-world settings, the model allows managers to succeed as leaders by being flexible and adaptive in new and unexpected ways through the application of two key concepts:

  • A 4 Capabilities Leadership Framework that makes it possible to harness, align, and leverage the leadership capabilities that exist throughout an organization, and
  • X-Teams, a revolutionary approach to creating flexible, outwardly-focused project teams that enables managers to both keep current with shifts in markets, technologies, and competition, and accelerate the pace of innovation and change

Upon completion of this program, participants will gain an understanding of how to:

  • Innovate and move quickly from generating ideas to executing and diffusing them throughout the organization
  • Unlock crucial information, expertise, and new ways of working together, wherever these qualities reside within or outside the company
  • Succeed in a competitive “flat world” of new organizational architectures; smart, orchestrated networks; and tiny firms that do not need huge capitalization to compete
  • Make their organizations more agile, responsive, and creative

MIT Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Neuroscience for Leadership

September 28-29, 2017

Research in the cognitive sciences is leading us to a greater understanding of how to improve personal and leadership behaviors and performance. Those who grasp the meaning and implications of this research will be positioned to take competitive advantage. This program provides hands-on application of concepts and techniques deriving from neuroscience and psychology that can improve your individual performance, as well as that of your team and organization.


Neuroscience for Leadership focuses on:


  • Your stuck neural patterns as a leader
  • The power of neuroplasticity in unleashing your brain agility and resilience
  • Creating the conditions for success in your organization by leading teams and shifting the culture from fear to trust
  • Visioning the future using the power of storytelling

Issues we will examine include:


  • How neuroscience techniques can be applied to leadership development
  • Understanding the scope of agility and diversity of thinking in adult brains
  • Mindsets?can you move from fixed to growth?
  • Deeply embedded leadership patterns and immunity to change
  • Basic human emotions and mindfulness
  • Cultural diversity and creativity
  • Ecosystem leadership

Participants will be offered brain-friendly catering, guided meditation, optional yoga class, and a confidential brain profiler report.


You may also be interested in Tara Swart's new two-day course Applied Neuroscience: Unleashing Brain Power for You and Your People.

Through lectures, discussions, and hands-on practice exercises, Neuroscience for Leadership will empower you to:


  • Raise your awareness of existing leadership behavioral patterns
  • Focus attention on behaviors and actions promoting resilience
  • Harness neuroscience to embed sustainable behavior change through plasticity of brain connections and pathways through deliberate practice
  • Implement measures to hold you to account and pre-empt barriers to leading sustainable performance

Cambridge, MA

Leadership and the Lens: Learning at the Intersection of Innovation and Image-Making

October 2-4, 2017

A few days spent away is precious little time to make a difference in your leadership capability, but Leadership and the Lens makes the most of that time by immersing participants into a different world of dynamic possibilities. Co-taught by MIT?s Hal Gregersen (The Innovator?s DNA) and Sam Abell (The Life of a Photograph), this workshop uses a familiar tool?the camera?to explore how unseen opportunities reveal themselves?and how the most effective leaders spot them, before it?s too late.


Gregersen and Abell discovered for themselves the deep resonance of their work when they met at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Expecting Abell?s mentorship to make him a better photographer, Gregersen was surprised to find it also enriched his own research on leadership. His interviews with 200+ senior executives of the world?s most innovative companies?people like Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre?had led him to see that groundbreaking solutions start with catalytic questions. Now he saw that his core advice on how to reimagine organizational strategies and cultures mapped directly onto what Abell has taught for decades about creating photographs worthy of National Geographic.


To frame better questions, most leaders need to check habits and beliefs they have gained over life-long careers?for example, that they must always be confidently right and quick to call others to action. Seeing new possibilities for an organization often demands the opposite: an eagerness to find what one is dead wrong about, a willingness to step back and quietly listen, and a patience to take in the dynamics of a situation, especially an uncomfortable one. By putting themselves in contexts that compel them to adopt these new attitudes, leaders raise their odds of surfacing questions that can unlock entirely new avenues of value creation. In the same way, the best photographers commit themselves to daily habits that develop deep seeing skills. They patiently ?compose and wait? out in the field, where vulnerability often leads to inevitable, powerful images. They learn to study their settings as deeply as their subjects, and as they do, images (and life itself) light up.


Gregersen and Abell lead this workshop with all the enthusiasm that comes from their discovery of a novel, hybrid method of learning. Past participants have called it a transformative experience. To approach the world with eyes wide open and a camera in hand is to be inquisitive. It provokes questions like: What surprises will I encounter? How will I capture them? What message am I trying to share?and what will the images I produce say about me and my values as a leader? Spend these few days in Cambridge, and discover what new capabilities might develop in you.


This program is offered in association with Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, and is limited to 15 participants. Registered participants will be asked to submit 10-15 photographs they have taken, as valuable input to the instruction.


Please note: The program was formerly known as "Innovation and Images: Exploring the Intersections of Leadership and Photography."

Expect to leave this program with new insights regarding:

  • How leaders of the world?s most innovative organizations approach their work differently.
  • Why some questions prove especially ?catalytic?? capable of breaking down barriers and accelerating progress in new directions.
  • How exploring the intersection of two disciplines that combine art and science?leadership and photography?enhances creativity in both.
  • How simple changes in behavior and perspective increase your chances of encountering assumption-challenging input and exploring its implications.
  • Why the quest to uncover ?what you don?t know you don?t know? is central to both game-changing innovation and great image-making.
  • What prevailing conditions, deliberately sought or constructed by the leader, cause fresh questions to arise continually and productively?

Cambridge, MA

Applied Neuroscience: Unleashing Brain Power for You and Your People

October 3-4, 2017

This highly experiential course explores neuroscience concepts and techniques to help leaders motivate and inspire their peers and employees in ways that catalyze innovation and increase business success.

This new program will take a deep dive into neuroscience concepts and techniques to help you?brain and body?through a method of unleashing potential in yourself and others.


Through a balance of theory and application, neuroscientist and MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Dr. Tara Swart will examine the latest neuroscience research and how it can inform your personal and professional practices. Program topic areas include:


  • How to boost, refuel, and re-direct your cognitive resources
  • Embodied leadership and somatic practices (MIT?s ?thin slices? research)
  • Creative and intuitive ideas for revolutionizing collaboration
  • Neural pathways that underlie procrastination, risk profile, and resilience (Swart?s Neural Tethering Model based on research from MIT?s financial engineering department)
  • The impact of gender and cultural diversity on confidence and creativity in organizations and teams
  • Working with technology to empower human potential

Hands-on exercises will include enacting successful scenarios through creative, visual activities, guided meditation focused on peak performance, and optional yoga.

Participants of this two-day workshop will learn:


  • A groundbreaking brain-agility model
  • Coaching skills, through a neuroscience lens
  • How to mobilize neurons to get on the right side of risk and motivation
  • How to apply the Neural Tethering Model to keep teams healthy, aware, focused, and continually developing, even in the face of ambiguity and change
  • How to better read emotions and get the best results out of others
  • The impact of gender diversity on confidence
  • The impact of cultural diversity on innovation
  • Cognitive decision making systems
  • How to create the conditions for successful change in the brain and body
  • Keys for embedding a culture of learning at their organization
  • How cultural patterns of behavior and belief frequently impact our perceptions (what we see as reality), cognition (how we think), and actions (what we do)

You may also be interested in Neuroscience for Leadership.

This program is intended for senior-level leaders who want to gain deeper understanding of how the brain works and apply that knowledge in the workplace for greater impact. It is particularly relevant for executives working in large, complex organizations seeking new ways to influence and mobilize people and drive organization-wide change.

Cambridge, MA

Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems

October 3-4, 2017

This program will introduce participants to "systems thinking"? as a response to the rapid changes in technology, population, and economic activity that are transforming the world, and as a way to deal with the ever-increasing complexity of today's business. Systems thinking was devised to improve people's ability to manage organizations comprehensively in a volatile global environment. It offers managers a framework for understanding complex situations and the dynamics those situations produce. Senior managers can use the system dynamics method to design policies that lead their organizations to high performance. The program is intended to give participants the tools and confidence to manage organizations with full understanding and solid strategy.


Participants will experience the Beer Game, a table game, developed by Jay Forrester. Played with pen, paper, printed plastic tablecloths, and poker chips, it simulates the supply chain of the beer industry. In so doing, it illuminates aspects of system dynamics, a signature mode of MIT thought: it illustrates the nonlinear complexities of supply chains and the way individuals are circumscribed by the systems in which they act.

The program will offer a new way of thinking about and resolving complex, persistent problems that emerge from change. Applying organization theory along with intuitive principles of feedback control, participants will learn to:

  • Assess the likely impact of different policies and decisions that relate to their organization's growth, stability, and performance
  • Recognize business system archetypes that can trigger persistent, long-term problems
  • Use state-of-the-art management tools to identify relationships
  • Intervene effectively to make fundamental changes

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