Why Retailers Must (But Won’t) Succeed In Introducing Mobile Payment Systems — Catherine Tucker

MIT Sloan Professor Catherine Tucker

MIT Sloan Professor Catherine Tucker

From TechCrunch 

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 »

MOOC 4.0: The next revolution in learning & leadership — Otto Scharmer

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer

From The Huffington Post

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.

Read the full post at The Huffington Post.

Dr. C. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

MIT Sloan CrowdChat: “Second Machine Age” chat with Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee, Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy

Andrew McAfee, MIT Sloan ’88, ’89, LGO ’90 and Co-Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy, fielded questions in a one-hour AMA-style (ask me anything) Q&A on the “Second Machine Age.” The online conversation was co-hosted by the upcoming Digital Economy Conference in London, where he and Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT Sloan will facilitate a series of discussions that highlight MIT’s role in both understanding and shaping our increasingly digital economy. The conference will be Live Streamed beginning at 6:30 am to 1 pm EDT, Friday, April 10. To watch be sure to bookmark this page.   Read More »

Why are executives logging in for leadership education? — Peter Hirst

MIT Sloan Executive Director of Executive Education Peter Hirst

MIT Sloan Executive Director of Executive Education Peter Hirst

From Innovation Insights

Back in 2012, a storm poised to wreak havoc on the east coast posed a challenge of another kind to both me and my colleagues at MIT Sloan Executive Education. Though there were of course the more grave concerns of human health and safety related to Hurricane Sandy, directly in the path of the oncoming storm was our brand new and hotly-anticipated course on big data, one of the first of its kind for executives.

Over 100 top executives had enrolled in the course, conducted by leading faculty members Erik Brynjolfsson and Sandy Pentland, and we were faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. The challenge was clear – find a way for attendees to experience the course in spite of the storm, or postpone and potentially cancel it altogether. Innovation is woven into our DNA at MIT, and we developed a solution that not only suited the needs of the situation, but led Executive Education at MIT Sloan down a new and exciting path to learning.

Read More »

Google and the right to be forgotten — Catherine Tucker

MIT Sloan Assoc. Prof. Catherine Tucker

From Nikkei Business

The European Court of Justice’s ruling that Google must honor individuals’ requests to be removed from search results—the right to be forgotten, as it has come to be known—is a misguided attempt to address one of the more unfortunate aspects of the digital age.

Although digital technology has brought many wondrous advances, it also has spawned problems. Among the most serious is what I call digital persistence or the tendency of information in digital format to last for a very long time—regardless of its accuracy.

In the analog era, if a telephone directory listed a number incorrectly, the result would be missed calls and wrong numbers until a new directory was published a year later. But in the digital world, wrong information gets repeated again and again, often showing up long after the original mistake was made.

While digital technology can perpetuate the mistakes others make about us, it also has the same effect on the mistakes we make ourselves. For example, young people by nature do silly things. Sometimes they take digital photos of themselves doing these silly things. The pictures can resurface years or decades later, when the actions no longer seem so amusing.

An approach that addresses these problems by targeting Google is flawed in several respects. First, while Google may be a handy scapegoat, especially in Europe, the American search giant is far from the only source of digital data that threatens the right to be forgotten. Information persists also in government records, online newspapers, and social media, as well as other search engines. To rein in Google while leaving other major information sources unimpeded will have little effect on the overall problem.

Second, the European Court of Justice’s actions ignore the nature of search engines. They work so well because they are automated. The combination of sophisticated algorithms, high-speed networks, and the Internet’s vast stores of data is what produces Google’s instantaneous and usually on target results. Introduce humans into this formula via requests to be forgotten and Google’s performance will slow to a crawl.

A third problem with the ECJ’s approach is that the process of approving requests to be forgotten can have precisely the opposite effect of what the architects of the policy intended. When someone asks to be removed from search results—say, a politician concerned about rumors of an illicit affair—the request itself sparks interest. In the case of the politician combating damaging rumors, reports of a request to be forgotten prompt new speculation and more rumors, even if the politician isn’t mentioned by name.

Digital persistence unfortunately is a problem that will be with us for some time. There are no quick or easy answers. Aiming at one very big target may be a popular move, but it will not bring us any closer to resolution.

Catherine Tucker is the Mark Hyman Jr. Career Development Professor and Associate Professor of Management Science at the MIT Sloan School of Management.