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Building E51

Biology as Technology: An Unexpected History of Innovation in Living Things

April 6, 2018, 2:30-4:30 PM

Helen Curry
University of Cambridge

Cambridge, MA

Communication and Persuasion in the Digital Age

April 10-11, 2018

Advancements in technology and the rapid proliferation of digital media, data analytics, and online collaboration require executives to lead their organizations with sophisticated communication skills, adapted for these new ways of working. To be a successful leader today, you must be able to effectively persuade and influence at all levels, in person and virtually, and with supporting data.


Edward Schiappa and Ben Shields draw on cutting-edge communication research, theories of persuasion, studies on parasocial interaction, and empirical studies on compelling storytelling to help participants solve problems, make quality decisions, and motivate people. Session topics include speaking persuasively, visual persuasion, communicating quantitative information clearly, and adapting messages to audiences.

The program will help you leverage new communication skills and harness the power of persuasion to:


  • Influence attitudes and change behaviors in your organization
  • Understand how new technology shapes the way we work and communicate
  • Bring your message and your medium into alignment
  • Support your message with data analytics
  • Manage virtual communications with power and presence
  • Apply the latest research to become a confident and inspiring public speaker
  • Create a compelling story to galvanize and motivate people
  • Adapt and deliver your message across different media channels and to diverse audiences
  • Advance the level of discourse within your organization

MIT Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Platform Strategy: Building and Thriving in a Vibrant Ecosystem

April 10-11, 2018

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.

By the end of this two-day course, participants should be able to:


  • Identify examples of traditional and non-traditional forms of platforms
  • Describe the common evolution patterns of multisided platforms, including same-side vs. cross-side network effects
  • Identify customer and user groups whose affiliation with the platform is most valuable
  • Decide whether to try to ?tie? customers to a platform or not ? the value of open vs. proprietary networks
  • Design strategies to undermine an established platform or to defend against such attacks
  • Describe the principles of platform pricing and how to inform the design of an effective pricing format
  • Recognize the concrete implications of trade-offs in platform design, governance, and staging
  • Decide whether a given value proposition is best developed as a stand-alone platform, or as a complement embedded into another platform?s ecosystem?or whether to pivot away from platform strategies all together.

Media Lab, Building E14 75 Amherst Street Cambridge, MA 02139

One of a Series: ILP Conference

2018 MIT Information and Communication Technologies Conference

April 11-12, 2018, 8:30 AM - 5 PM

Keeping up with today?s rapidly changing technology landscape in the digital age means constantly asking, What?s next? Getting ahead means asking what?s after that: What?s on the horizon - and what?s just over it? The annual MIT Information & Communication Technologies Conference explores the latest ICT research from across the Institute and its potential impact across industries. The program will feature presentations by MIT faculty, technology demonstrations by MIT-connected startups, and opportunities for networking with top MIT researchers and industry executives.

Cambridge, MA

Analytics Management: Business Lessons from the Sports Data Revolution

April 12-13, 2018

Analytics are the present and future of sports, on and off the field. While the sports industry is an analytics pioneer, data driven decision-making has become essential to business success in nearly every industry. Starting an analytics program, however, is easier said than done. Taught by renowned sports strategist Ben Shields, this program provides executives insight into the sports industry’s “secret sauce” and helps them apply it immediately to the development of their own analytics program.


The first day of the program focuses on designing an analytics strategy. Faculty will introduce a strategic framework for developing an analytics program. Executives will learn how sports organizations have applied this framework on both the team personnel and business sides. Day one will conclude with an action-learning exercise to guide students in developing a working draft of their analytics strategy.


On the second day, the curriculum will focus on implementation. The success of an analytics program is not only driven by sound strategy but also the ability of an organization (and its executives) to execute through effective leadership and management. Critical topics on day two include making the right technology decisions, building and organizing an analytics team, and communicating data for impact. The day will close with a capstone session on leading an analytics transformation during which participants will share their new analytics vision for their organization.


Note: This is not an advanced data science course. This program is designed for executives who are looking for strategic insights and action plans on the management of analytics.

Cambridge, MA

Building, Leading, and Sustaining the Innovative Organization

April 12-13, 2018

This program is designed to help spark the breakthrough ideas business leaders need to create successful competitive products for the future. Drawing on the latest MIT Sloan research, the program will offer a set of strategies for growing companies in the face of changing markets, technologies, and consumer demand. Specifically, participants will be presented with:

  • Tactics for dealing with the internal politics and resistance to change that can threaten innovation initiatives and early-stage developments
  • Techniques for building innovation streams
  • Processes for collecting competitive intelligence, forecasting technology change, and gathering information on user needs
  • Methods for identifying better innovations more quickly, including the lead-user method for discovering breakthrough products, services, and strategies; and innovation toolkits that enable managers to design their own mass-customized products and services

Takeaways
Participants will learn about the steps required to drive strategic innovation in the organization, including how to:
  • Get the right mix of people and skills to generate innovative ideas efficiently
  • Develop the processes required to support these people
  • Build cultures that encourage innovative behaviors
  • Decide which ideas are right for investment, and which new business opportunities are worth pursuing

One of a Series: MIT Holidays

MIT Closed - Patriots' Day

April 16, 2018

Cambridge, MA

Managing Product Platforms: Delivering Variety and Realizing Synergies

April 17-18, 2018

Companies from Airbus to GE use product platform strategies to deliver more variety to their customers and compete more effectively. For example, Black and Decker uses shared motors and batteries across a range of power tools.

These firms realize quicker new market entry and reduced costs but, in order to do so, they must orchestrate complex, multi-product development projects.

Recent research suggests that many firms fail to earn a return on their platform investments. This work has uncovered that many firms face systemic pressure to diverge from their platform sharing. Several cases studied realized less than half of their platform sharing goals. Are these failures the result of a flawed strategy or poor execution?

This course focuses on helping companies develop strong platform strategies and execution programs, by understanding the managerial levers necessary to operate in complex development environments. The course content draws on case examples from a diversity of industries, and is designed to engage executives, with explicit sessions for sharing and discussing industry experience.

At the conclusion of this program, executives will be equipped with a clear understanding of:


  • Named platform strategies and past corporate examples
  • Criteria for evaluating market conditions in which the strategy is appropriate and not
  • Identified management levers for use in complex programs
  • Key performance indicators for successful platform development
  • Benchmark savings and investment sizing data from other firms
  • Knowledge and examples of failure modes from past platform efforts
  • Differentiate industry platforms, supply chain platforms, and product platforms

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