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One of a Series: MIT Holidays

MIT Closed - Independence Day

July 4, 2016

Iterative Sampling Methods for Low-Rank Matrix and Kernel Approximation

July 6, 2016, 4-5 PM

Christopher Musco
MIT CSAIL

Host: Pritish Kamath and Akshay Degwekar

Abstract: Low-rank matrix approximation and its close relative, principal component analysis, are ubiquitous in statistics and machine learning. To address computational concerns as data size increases, recent years have a seen a flurry of work on fast approximation algorithms for these problems. I'll present a line of research that introduces a new approach for low-rank approximation which gives strong provable guarantees for any data matrix. Our methods iteratively select a subsample of representative rows or columns from a matrix which are then used to compute approximate principal components.

Our methods match the runtimes guaranteed by the fastest known "random projection" methods for low-rank approximation. However, they can be much faster for sparse or structured data and can be applied to data problems where matrices are not represented explicitly. Specifically, combined with the Nystrom method, our sampling scheme gives the first algorithms for provably approximating kernel matrices in time *linear* in the number of data points. This leads to the fastest known methods for kernel ridge regression, kernel principal component analysis, kernel k-means clustering, and kernel canonical correlation analysis.

MIT Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Platform Strategy: Building and Thriving in a Vibrant Ecosystem

July 7-8, 2016

In 2013, fourteen of the top 30 global brands by market capitalization were platform-oriented companies ? companies that created and now dominate arenas in which buyers, sellers, and a variety of third parties are connected in real time. In today?s networked age, the cloud, social media, and mobile devices are fueling this platform competition, and more and more companies want in. However, many companies do not succeed in becoming platform leaders because their technology and/or business strategies fall short.

While many platform strategies are well known (e.g. Apple?s iTunes), there are other less-heralded platforms that are exploring new ways to create and capture value. These include: dynamic pricing, usage fees, highly targeted product and service offerings, inbound marketing, and network effects.

Key questions the faculty explores include:

  • Is a customer segment with the highest ?willingness to pay? the most valuable segment?
  • When is tying a customer to a platform (sometimes called ?lock in?) counter-productive?
  • Which pricing formats seem to boost revenues but actually slow platform adoption?
  • How can companies get in front of the common evolution patterns of platforms?
  • When should leaders be wary of ?platform envy??

Through case studies and Q&A, experienced managers will emerge with insights for refreshing their company's strategic approach and participating profitably in the multi-sided marketplaces of the future.

Decision-Making, Design, and Strategy Under Uncertainty

July 11-15, 2016

An all too common practice in industrial or policy planning is to use a best-guess forecast, and optimize the design, strategy, operation, or policy for that forecast. Unfortunately, this practice systematically leads to inefficient and generally undesirable outcomes because it does not explicitly consider uncertainty during the design/planning stage.

This course is designed to achieve two critical objectives: 1) To increase your awareness and appreciation for WHY uncertainty matters, and 2)To give you the TOOLS to characterize uncertainty and to design flexible strategies that will be robust to uncertainty.

The primary focus of this course is on the concepts and the intuition. Numerous real-world examples will demonstrate the consequences of ignoring uncertainty and what can be done instead. Through hands-on exercises, the course will introduce you to existing software tools that can aid in designing effective flexible strategies, including Decision Analysis, Real Options, and Monte Carlo simulation. Finally, substantial time will be devoted to applying the tools and concepts that participants bring from their own professional contexts, with iteration and feedback from instructors throughout the week. This short course will provide the tools and more importantly the conceptual framework for improving the flexibility and robustness of designs, strategies, and decisions. The degree of technological, market, and regulatory uncertainty is sufficiently large that designs and strategies that do not explicitly build in flexibility often perform poorly. Participants who complete this course will acquire the tools and the framework for improving their decisions and operations and getting significantly better performance.

Mastering Innovation and Design-Thinking

July 11-13, 2016

Insanely successful companies, like Apple, Virgin, Toyota, and others, innovate continuously because of their culture of design-thinking. When done right, this thinking links inspiration and passion to execution and delivery—positively affecting every facet of the product and service.

For you to be successful at work, you need to know how to think like a designer when approaching an engineering task alone, but you especially need design-thinking skills when working within a team or leading a team. By applying a design-centered approach you’ll be able to conceive of radically innovative solutions, deeply understand who your real stakeholders are and what they care about, create vision that gets buy-in from senior management and colleagues, avoid hazards, and create solutions that people love both emotionally and intellectually.

Using a 10-step design process and a 3-step vision creation and communication process, you’ll experience the design process first hand in this interactive class that will expand your thinking and help you and your teams create more powerful solutions. You’ll learn how to create materials that align technical and non-technical audiences, understand the vital importance of the psychology behind how people interact with technology, how to manage creativity, and how to assess the effectiveness of your solutions.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
This course is targeted for design engineers, research engineers, project engineers or managers, product engineers, members of the technical staff, applied scientists, and research scientists. The course would also be of interest to those who supervise early career professionals and those in academia (e.g. engineering and science graduate students, and post-docs).

Understanding and Predicting Technological Innovation: New Data and Theory

July 11-15, 2016

This course on technological innovation will be organized around three modules on (1) Data, (2) Theory, and (3) Application. In the first module, we will analyze new, large data sets on technological improvement, many of which were collected by the instructor and are the most expansive of their kind. We will cover statistical analysis methods and decomposition models in order to extract useful insight on the determinants of technological innovation. Examples from energy conversion, transportation, chemicals, metals, information technology, and a range of other industries will be discussed. In the second module, we will cover theories, that have been developed in recent years and stretching back several decades, to explain technological innovation. We will cover the disciplinary origins of these theories, the empirical evidence for or against them, and the usefulness of these theories for practitioners from various fields including engineering, chemicals, private investment, and public policy. Building on this insight, in the third module we will focus on applying the data analysis methods and theories covered to inform decisions about technology investment and design. The third module will address questions of specific interest to the class. This module will demonstrate the utility of the material covered and how it can be extended to answer a wide range of important questions relating to investment, research and development, manufacturing, and public policy.

Cambridge, MA

Global Executive Academy (multi-language)

July 12-21, 2016

MIT Sloan's Global Executive Academy is a two-week program for high-potential, mid-level managers from a variety of backgrounds and cultures who seek an international experience and a global viewpoint on leadership and business practices. The idea behind the Academy is to bring MIT content to the non-English speaking world by offering a multilingual educational experience that provides non-English speaking executives access to the same MIT education that is currently available to their English-speaking counterparts. It also affords them unique benefits such as a multicultural environment, diversity of perspectives and cross-border networking.


This unique program is delivered in a multilingual setting, "United Nations-style" with simultaneous interpretation into Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish.* Executives and managers from different geographies, industries, companies and functions will learn together and draw on each other for their assigned projects and discussions. There will also be social activities designed for networking and to bridge any language barriers.


Program content draws upon topics from some of our most popular Executive Education Open Enrollment programs, which is then customized for the Academy audience.


Leadership-focused sessions will introduce MIT?s Four Capabilities Leadership Framework, a powerful tool for understanding and integrating four critical components of leadership?sensemaking, relating, visioning, and inventing. Participants will also learn the art of storytelling, a highly effective tool for leaders to illustrate personal values, bring vision to life, and create meaning and purpose for an organization.


Innovation-focused sessions will explore the various elements of innovation and outline steps needed to implement and manage a culture of innovation. It will explore the reasons why some organizations achieve exceptional levels of performance that put their rivals to shame, and unveil the secret to their success. Participants will also have an opportunity to explore the innovation ecosystem embodied within MIT and Kendall Square.


Organizational strategy is discussed in the context of managing change, understanding the effects of transformation and globalization on economies and business, and ways to implement sustainable business strategies.


MIT Sloan uses the concept of systems thinking and system dynamics to train students to understand context, anticipate consequences, and engage stakeholders to find solutions with lasting value for business and society. This program will explore smart work design, creative problem solving, continuous knowledge sharing, and ways to develop discovery skills within organizations. Participants will also partake in a World Climate Exercise that focuses on sustainability.


Marketing and communications sessions will teach the art of branding, social media management, effective communications and persuasion techniques. Students will also explore the complementary principles of improvisation and influence to effectively respond to adapt, respond and extemporize, making them more persuasive and effective leaders.


Negotiation for executives offers fundamental principles and a holistic view of negotiation as a relationship building technique. It includes multicultural negotiation exercises that will test participants? skills at the bargaining table.


Advanced finance training will reinforce knowledge of financial concepts, strategies and tools, while delving real-time into the financial reports of influential companies across the globe. Participants will gain insights into performance metrics and how business decisions impact investors' viewpoints.


Participants in the Academy will earn a MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership. It is an ideal option for executives and high potential leaders seeking to enhance their general management skills in order to become effective leaders in a dynamic global business world. The entire program must be completed to earn the certificate.


*Note: Language selections will be finalized on May 31, 2016. The application deadline is June 10, 2016.Languages are subject to change or cancellation. Also, we will consider adding another language to the program if at least 10 participants can be confirmed. Please contact us at execacademy@mit.edu if you would like to discuss.

Cambridge, MA

Strategies for Sustainable Business

July 18-20, 2016

In this program, the interconnectedness of people, enterprise, and natural resources is explored through both lectures and dynamic group simulations. Lectures and group work put 21st-century business practices in a socioeconomic context and present the issues of sustainability on a national scale. Participants will also learn employment and research-driven approaches to sustainable business practices, such as fair trade and good working conditions.

The program will present principles and tools that will enable participants to evaluate organizations on the multiple dimensions of sustainability and see the tensions that can arise when trying to increase sustainability without negatively affecting others. Participants will use these tools, such as the Fishbanks simulation, during the course to evaluate the sustainability efforts of other companies and their own and receive feedback from faculty so that they are better equipped to implement, influence, and lead when they return. Fishbanks is a web-based simulation in which participants play the role of fisherman who try to maximize their net worth as they compete against each other and deal with variations in fish stocks and catches. Participants learn about the challenges of managing resource sustainably in a common pool resource setting.The course concludes with a leadership inquiry that transforms the way future conversations and collaborations are conducted when sustainability is the goal.

Using a blend of hands-on simulations, case study and article analysis, and small group discussions, participants will learn how sustainability affects all businesses. Participants will learn effective strategies for leading and effecting change on multiple levels, from individual to the organization to the community to the world and how to apply them in both the short and long term to achieve real results.

In Strategies for Sustainable Business, participants will:

  • Gain an appreciation for the "state of the world," key dimensions of "unsustainability," and leverage points for change
  • Understand opportunities for business value creation through more effective, sustainable use of natural and human resources
  • Understand the limits of action by individual businesses, and opportunities for industry and cross-sectoral collaboration
  • Learn to assess business strategies and some public policies with a distinctive, holistic, and systems-based perspective on sustainability
  • Identify opportunities for leadership for sustainability in personal, professional, and community life

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