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MIT Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Platform Strategy: Building and Thriving in a Vibrant Ecosystem

October 23-24, 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.

Cambridge, MA

Managing Product Platforms: Delivering Variety and Realizing Synergies

October 25-26, 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

Maximizing Your Personal Productivity: How to Become an Efficient and Effective Executive

October 25-26, 2018

"Since the Great Recession, many professionals have been facing more challenging schedules and more daunting to-do lists. This makes it all the more important for professionals to be able to get their work done quickly and effectively." --Bob Pozen, Faculty Director

Maximizing Your Personal Productivity will show you how to get more done in fewer hours, so you have more time to spend with your family, or any other activity. The program offers many practical suggestions on improving your productivity and provides many opportunities for learning through doing. The course includes digital techniques to help manage your career and your team.

Faculty Director Bob Pozen is the former President of Fidelity Investments and Executive Chairman of MFS Investment Management. Bob was first interviewed about his own productivity when he was full-time chairman of a large asset manager and carrying a full teaching load at a distinguished university. That interview went viral, so he wrote a short book (Extreme Productivity), drawing upon his personal and professional experiences.

Based on the book, this program is designed to increase the personal productivity of professionals through a series of case studies, practical exercises, and background readings. It will encourage self-evaluation through polls and surveys about your work habits, and provides ample opportunities for learning through doing.

Designed for busy, experienced managers, this program will increase your personal productivity by helping you to:


  • Prioritize your goals and align your time allocation better with your top goals
  • Complete your high-priority projects efficiently by focusing early on the final product
  • Develop techniques for moving quickly through low priority tasks like emails
  • Hold shorter and more productive meetings with clear agendas and outcomes
  • Manage your own team by learning how to delegate and set metrics for success
  • Manage your boss by communicating regularly and adopting complementary styles
  • Read with more speed and comprehension by focusing on what is most important
  • Write more effectively by using outlines, the active voice and strong connectors

To see how Bob Pozen teaches people to maximize their personal productivity, please view this short video on a presentation he made recently to an audience of 150 high net worth customers.

Cambridge, MA

Understanding Global Markets: Macroeconomics for Executives

October 29-31, 2018

The Understanding Global Markets: Macroeconomics for Executives program began in 2010, and quickly became very popular. In response to participant interest in additional content on the economic policies and choices of Europe and Asia and the relative success compared to the rest of the world, we now offer the program as a three-day session. The extra day allows participants to gain a more thorough understanding of the dynamics of comparative advantage, sources of international conflict and the varied responses of economies to crisis.

This program is designed to help executives understand and predict the medium-to long-run performance of economies in order to mitigate risk, develop growth plans, and make investment decisions, both locally and abroad. Participants will leave the program with a better understanding of the global economic environment, and learn to recognize the effects of the economy on their companies, so that their business decisions may be informed and appropriate. The tools and frameworks presented in this program will enable participants to:

  • Understand the nature and behavior of financial crises
  • Learn to interpret financial indicators
  • Recognize economic trends
  • Predict likely actions of central banks and governments
  • Make informed off-shoring decisions
  • Be successful in international investments
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the dynamics of comparative advantage, sources of international conflict and the varied responses of economies to crisis.

Essential IT for Non-IT Executives

October 30-31, 2018

Do you feel as though everything regarding IT takes too long and costs too much? Do you lack the language and instincts to make good decisions regarding IT? Is your company falling behind the competition in your use of technology?


Essential IT for Non-IT Executives offers essential IT management training to help non-technical senior business managers work with, oversee, and generate value from IT. Drawing on MIT Sloan research, faculty present strategies for instituting a working relationship between IT managers and business managers based on transparency?clear communication about IT performance and decision processes. The program is not meant to make an IT specialist out of every manager, but to make every manager confident in resolving IT issues and working with IT staff to make better decisions and to deliver better process change. 


This IT management course will help you optimize your role in the use of essential technology for competitive advantage.

Participants in this program will learn where IT is going, where it fits into their organizations, and how to govern it well. Managers will walk away thinking differently, being able to talk differently with the company's IT professionals, and armed with real-life examples they can use to adjust and improve their organizational processes. Namely:


  • How to design processes to use IT better
  • How to work with IT people to make better decisions
  • How to drive transformational change throughout the organization

Key areas of discussion will include:


  • Governance: Effective IT management requires active involvement from both business and IT managers. A firm understanding of roles and responsibilities for specific decisions will help minimize potential areas of conflict.
  • Discipline: IT cannot be everything to everybody. It is essential to set realistic goals and to manage everyone's expectations throughout any IT-related initiative. Discipline is essential in getting business value from IT.
  • Organizational Architecture: A well-managed, standardized platform is the foundation of IT effectiveness, risk management, and agility.
  • Transparency:Transparency is key to better decision-making and business value from IT. Managers should identify specific issues a company needs to solve through IT, define and follow assigned milestones, and keep close track of success metrics.
  • People and Culture: IT is more than just a technology challenge. Don?t forget the people and culture. Simply understanding the vocabulary and knowing how and whom to ask IT-related questions can help non-IT managers make great strides toward organizational change.

Cambridge, MA

Leading People At Work: Strategies for Talent Analytics

October 30-31, 2018

While people have always been critical to the success of organizations, many business leaders still make key decisions about their workforce based on intuition, experience, advice, and guesswork. However, today?s leaders can improve their people decision-making based on the collection and systematic analysis of data.


Leading People at Work: Strategies for Talent Analytics focuses on the strategies that can be used to successfully design and implement people analytics in an organization. Faculty draw on the latest practices and research to illustrate how leading companies are using cutting-edge techniques to analyze data about their employees to and make their organizations and their individual employees more successful. In doing so, we will explore areas where talent analytics are most effective, and where it is particularly important to incorporate them. Participants of this program will gain a deeper understanding of how and when people analytics can be applied to improve critical issues such as recruiting and hiring, performance evaluation, promotion and training, compensation, and organizational change.


The program takes the perspective of the general manager when examining how emerging big data analytical approaches applied to human resource management can be used to advance business objectives. By the end of this course, participants will understand how and when big data can be used to make key employee decisions, enabling executives to position themselves as a strategic partner in their company?s talent management.


This course is not intended to teach statistics or programming. Nor will this course cover the issues involved when gathering (and analyzing) data. Instead, it is intended to acquaint participants with key strategies for the design and implementation of people analytics in an organization.

The goal of this course is to prepare executives to wisely collect and use data to manage people at work. Participants of this program will:

  • Become familiar with the most relevant topics general managers face concerning the management of people.
  • Learn a set of frameworks and theoretical models to help make key employee decisions.
  • Be exposed to some of the most cutting-edge techniques used by companies to analyze data about their employees in order to make their organizations and their individual employees more successful.
  • Understand how to apply big data analytics to identify, evaluate, and resolve a variety of challenges and issues relating to their workforce.
  • Learn how to interpret and present the results of their analyses to make strategic people-related decision. (This course is not intended to teach statistics or programming.)

By learning about strategies for talent analytics, participants will not only advance their company's business objectives through the strategic management of people, but also their own career.

Cambridge, MA

Building Game-Changing Organizations: Aligning Purpose, Performance, and People

November 1-2, 2018

Game-changing organizations rewrite traditional playbooks. They stand out. They often create disproportionate value relative to their size and resources. They have big dreams but know how to get things done. These organizations have a palpable "buzz" to them. They have a breakaway business model, but they also have a breakaway spirit and organizational culture.

Leaders of these game-changing organizations understand the power and importance of telling their companies' compelling stories. They are hard-edged business leaders but they also embrace what others might consider to be the "soft side" of leading: purpose, vision and climate. They know how to integrate the hard and soft sides of leadership into a powerful formula that makes them game-changers. These leaders, and their organizations are: purpose-driven; performance-oriented; and principles-led. The weaving together of these three capabilities simultaneously is what helps them get and stay out in front.

Participants in this new program will learn what it takes to build game-changing organizations that make their teams and areas of responsibility world-class talent factories. They will also discuss the importance of building an authentic and energizing culture, and learn from the successes and challenges of various companies that have been on similar journeys of transformation.

Participants in this program will:


  • Understand what it takes to build game-changing organizations
  • Be provided with the resources and tools to articulate their company's powerful story--what we call their "collective ambition"
  • Examine how to integrate the "soft" side of leading (purpose, vision, culture) with the hard side (strategy, operational priorities, brand) into a powerful formula
  • Understand the importance of building an authentic and energizing culture
  • Understand what it takes to make their companies world-class talent factories

MIT Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Implementing Improvement Strategies: Dynamic Work Design

November 1-2, 2018

This program provides practical tools and methods for sustainable improvement efforts of any scale, in any industry, and in any function. It is built on a foundation of principles and methods called Dynamic Work Design and can be adapted to any type of work in any type of organization.


Proceeding from principles, not practices, is a key to sustainable change, allowing integration with current culture, processes, and practices, while delivering fast results with little overhead of training or major initiatives. The method has proven to work in businesses as diverse as oil/gas, DNA sequencing and engineering/innovation and works at the scale of discreet problems or organizational-wide strategic efforts. Improvement begins to happen in rapid and natural ways; results begin showing up almost immediately.


This process improvement training program is inspired by the collaboration between instructors Don Kieffer and Nelson Repenning who integrated industry practice and academic investigation over a 20-year period to develop Dynamic Work Design. Students will learn to identify the value-added elements of their own work and of their organization and more importantly, identify opportunities for improving and how to get started based on a framework of principles and methods.

Please note: The subtitle of this program has changed. The program was previously named "Implementing Improvement Strategies: Practical Tools and Methods."

The main purpose of this program is two-fold: one is to help participants understand how continuous improvement strategies, sustained over a long period of time, affect core business metrics and contribute to the success of the organization, from bottom-up and top-down perspectives; and the other is how to change the way managers see work and their own roles as leaders in the culture of improvement. This program will enable participants to:


  • Understand the principles and approaches that drive improvement; and apply them in all areas in the context of a particular company, thus creating a tangible culture of continuous improvement
  • Implement improvement naturally in their everyday work, not from a prescribed list, but from a deep personal understanding of the principles
  • Recognize successful improvement initiatives already in place and build on them
  • Identify the true value-added aspects of work performed by individual workers and the entire organization
  • Ensure that business targets and improvement activities are tightly linked at every level
  • Develop inquiry and evidence-based problem solving skills for individuals and for organizations
  • Transform managers from controllers to enablers by leveraging the relationship between designing the work well and the engagement of employees that follows
  • Generate ?pull? from within the organization for new methods of work
  • Make results (and problems) visible so that they can be addressed constructively
  • Not just remove defects, but learn how to design work correctly from the beginning

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