In the digital age, it’s critical for retailers to collect and manage customer data. This information is the key to providing personalization for any kind of shopping experience, as it allows retailers to understand customer preferences and analyze shopping histories.
Smartphone payment systems like Apple Pay are an important method of obtaining this data since they allow data collection across different retailers for the same individual. However, when the data is collected and controlled by a third party like Apple, it is risky for retailers. Read More »
With more nonprofits incorporating each year, competition for funding is fiercer than ever. Organizations that have traditionally relied on grants and philanthropy are struggling as they look for new revenue streams to become more sustainable and impactful. While these organizations provide critical services, they often lack management resources and expertise to reach their full potential in terms of the number of people they serve. After all, how many nonprofits can afford to hire leaders with MBAs?
However, a new form of volunteerism is starting to address this need: the donation of management expertise, skills, and ideas. This is a big change from even five years ago when being civically engaged primarily meant writing a check or spending a day cleaning up a park with coworkers. This change may be due in part to the convergence of the profit and nonprofit sectors creating the emerging field of social enterprise. This shift has exposed the many ways the nonprofit sector could use operational support. As a result, “help” is becoming more broadly defined.
This new type of volunteerism — the donation of intellectual capital — can have a profound effect on organizations. By taking volunteership to the next level and matching the skills and expertise of volunteers with organizations’ needs, nonprofits can make operational and strategic improvements or possibly even pivot to change the way they serve the community. While this isn’t the most common form of volunteerism, it has the potential to add tremendous and long-lasting value.
A few years ago, I overheard two of my MBA students talking after class about their “personal brands.”
At the time, I was amused. But then I kept hearing more about this notion of “my brand.” I noticed it was the subject of articles in Forbes and Harvard Business Review. Suddenly, I saw book upon book devoted to the topic. The conversation centered around bolstering your personal brand by tweeting the right things, highlighting certain attributes in your LinkedIn profile and ingratiating yourself with other powerful personal brands.
Frankly, I bristle at the phrase “personal brand.” We are not products, we are people. The way we present ourselves should be authentic, not part of a sales pitch or advertising campaign. But then I got to thinking: is there a way to apply branding’s best practices to develop greater leadership?
Last month my colleagues and I completed a pilot of what well may be the most interesting project of my life. It was the pilot of a new type of MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) that pushes the MOOC design envelope by blending a globally transformative platform with an eco-system of deep personal, locally grounded learning communities. Below is the story and some key insights from this experiment that prototypes the 21st century university by putting the learner into the driver’s seat of profound social change.
The goal of the class, MITx U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society, and Self, is to empower change makers to co-sense and co-shape the future. This MOOC was offered through the edX platform. EdX was founded by MIT and Harvard and now includes 30-plus universities around the world. Our U.Lab MOOC included:
• >28,000 registered participants from 190 countries
• >300 prototype (action learning) initiatives
• >a vibrant eco-system of 350 self-organized hubs (pictures below)
• and 700-1000 self-organized coaching circles (of five persons each) plus
• four global live sessions with 10,000-15,000 participants/viewers each
The Evolution of MOOCs
Eighty-eight percent of the respondents said in an exit survey that the course was either “eye-opening” (52%) or “life-changing” (36%). So, how is it possible for an online course to be either eye opening or life-changing for almost everyone? We do not know for sure. But reading the feedback we now believe that we have stumbled into a new space for learning–one that we refer to as MOOC 4.0.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have evolved over the past three years. This is how we think about their evolution:
MOOC 1.0 – One-to-Many: Professor lecturing to a global audience
MOOC 2.0 – One-to-One: Lecture plus individual or small-group exercises
MOOC 3.0 – Many-to-Many: Massive decentralized peer-to-peer teaching.
MOOC 4.0 – Many-to-One: Deep listening among learners as a vehicle for sensing one’s highest future possibility through the eyes of others.
Marshall Van Alstyne, visiting scholar at MIT, speaks with Dave Vellante and Stu Miniman from theCube for the live pre-show to the MIT Conference on the Digital Economy: The Second Machine Age to discuss how today’s network effect can fundamentally change a company’s business model and strategy.
On April 10, 2015, the MIT Digital Economy Conference: The Second Machine Age, led by Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy, and Andrew McAfee, co-director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy, featured a series of discussions that highlight MIT’s role in both understanding and shaping our increasingly digital world.