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MIT Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Platform Strategy: Building and Thriving in a Vibrant Ecosystem

June 7-8, 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

Supply Chain Strategy and Management

June 7-8, 2018

Led by world experts, this practice-oriented program investigates a robust MIT framework for better managing supply chains in today's rapidly changing markets. Participants will explore:

  • The next big trend in supply chain strategy, and the key skills required to be successful
  • How to better structure a company's supply-chain strategy
  • Guidelines for making strategic sourcing and make-buy decisions
  • How to integrate e-business thinking into supply chain strategy and management
  • How to blend recent developments in information systems and communication technology with sophisticated decision support systems and create a comprehensive strategy for manufacturing and logistics
  • "Clockspeed benchmarking," a tool for deriving critical business insights and management lessons from industries with the highest obsolescence rates of products, process technologies, and organizational structures (industrial "fruit flies")
  • How to assimilate sustainability into your supply chain strategy
  • Why all advantages in fast clockspeed environments are temporary

Many participants attend this program along with Developing a Leading Edge Operations Strategy.

In the past, supply chain practice has been primarily tactical, but this program presents a new and innovative approach to supply chain design, which will enable program participants to better understand:

  • The role of supply chain design in business strategy and why, if not linked, your supply chain design can undo a company's entire business strategy
  • Forces that influence supply chain structure?how supply chain structures change; how supply chain structures and industry structures overlap; and how these structures are affected by the speed of change in a given industry
  • Integrating supply chain design with product and process development
  • Connecting supply chain design with supply chain management and logistics
  • Supply chains in the age of e-business

Cambridge, MA

Fundamentals of Finance for the Technical Executive

June 12-13, 2018

This program is designed to provide senior technical managers with the financial concepts, strategies, and tools needed to deal more effectively with corporate financial management. Course curriculum focuses on basic financial principles for project evaluation, funding, and resource allocation, helping leaders to work more effectively with financial decision makers and apply the principles of finance to short-term and long-range goals.

Today's technical executive must be able to use finance to persuade corporate financial officers to fund projects as well as use financial tools to address senior management's concerns about risk. Focused on basic principles of accounting and financial decision making for managers, this program will help transform a technical manager?s ability to manage and advocate for both day-to-day and long-term activities. 

This interactive, hands-on program will enable participants to:

  • Understand how funding decisions are made and how they can influence those decisions by applying financial principles to project evaluation and resource allocation
  • Learn how to assess projects for their potential economic value
  • Conduct discounted cash flow (DCF) valuations

This program is designed for executives who manage project teams and departments, and technical professionals involved with R&D, product and software design, engineering, and other scientific and technical work. No advanced quantitative skills are required, but participants should bring calculators.

Past participants have included key members of technical management, such as:

  • CIOs
  • Chief technologists
  • Head scientists
  • R&D and product development directors
  • Engineering and manufacturing vice presidents
  • Corporate strategists
  • Project managers
  • Systems information managers

MIT Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Good Jobs Strategy: Delivering Superior Value to Customers, Shareholders, and Employees

June 12-13, 2018

What makes a service business successful? The rule of thumb for many companies in industries like retail, hospitality, and even health care has been to drive down wages and operation costs, creating a vicious cycle of disinvestment in search of higher profits. What if the focus shifted from lower labor costs to smarter investments: creating products and services that people want to buy, jobs that people want to keep, and driving high performance? What if businesses shifted from the norm of mediocrity in customer service, productivity, jobs and wages to a new standard of excellence?

The Good Jobs Strategy: Delivering Superior Value to Customers, Shareholders, and Employees is designed to help leaders of service businesses create an organization that delivers superior value to customers, shareholders, and employees all at the same time. Through a combination of interactive case studies, lectures, and videos, participants will learn about the key elements of the good jobs strategy and how to implement that strategy in their organization. As part of this program, participants (and a sample of their frontline employees and managers) will complete a good jobs strategy assessment survey in advance of the course. The course content, combined with the data from the surveys, will help participants identify key areas for improvement and provide instruction on next steps for their organizations.

The course will leverage a systems perspective to frame discussions around key elements of the Good Jobs Strategy, including:

  • Making operational choices that increase productivity and contribution of workforce
  • Investing in workers to create a capable and motivated workforce
  • Creating a high return on employee investment
  • A value system that emphasizes customers, employees, and continuous improvement

Recent case studies from retail and health care industries will be used to explore successful improvement strategies that directly involve frontline employees.

Participants of this program will learn:

  • The cost of mediocrity and key drivers of mediocrity in organizations
  • How customer focus, employee management, work design, and improvement systems work together to create excellence for all stakeholders
  • The importance of a systems perspective that includes leadership, strategy, operations, and human resources for implementing the Good Jobs Strategy
  • Key elements of a good job for frontline employees
  • How to design an operating system that thrives financially while offering good jobs
  • How to create a high-performance environment for frontline employees

Cambridge, MA

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

June 14-15, 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

Cambridge, MA

Communication and Persuasion in the Digital Age

June 14-15, 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

Implementing Improvement Strategies: Dynamic Work Design

June 14-15, 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

Cambridge, MA

Business Dynamics: MIT's Approach to Diagnosing and Solving Complex Business Problems

June 18-22, 2018

In a world of growing complexity, many of the most vexing problems facing managers arise from the unanticipated side-effects of their own past actions. In response, organizations struggle to increase the speed of learning and adopt a more systemic approach. The challenge is to move beyond outdated slogans about accelerated learning and “thinking systemically” to implementing practical tools that help managers design better operating policies, understand complexity, and guide effective change.

This program introduces participants to system dynamics, a powerful framework for identifying, designing, and implementing high-leverage interventions for sustained success in complex systems. It has been used successfully in diverse industries and organizations, such as Airbus, Compaq, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Merck. Developed at MIT more than thirty years ago by computer pioneer Jay Forrester, system dynamics led to the creation of management flight simulators that allow managers to accelerate learning, experience the long-term side effects of decisions, and design structures and strategies for greater success.

Through intensive, hands-on workshops and interactive experiments, participants will be exposed to the principles of systems thinking and practical methods for putting them into action. They will be introduced to a variety of tools, including mapping techniques, simulation models, and MIT’s management flight simulators, which they can apply to their own business environment as soon as they complete the program. Throughout the week, participants work in small groups and interact closely with the course leaders, Professors Sterman and Repenning.

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.