Christopher Knittel: Don’t Blame It on the Rain–Ethanol Mandate Is a Bad Idea in Any Year

From Huffington Post

MIT Sloan Prof. Christopher Knittel

The long drought will have real consequences for the nation’s food and energy markets. But it also creates an opportunity for Washington to take a hard look at the Bush-era mandate known as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which requires that 10 percent of the gasoline we put in our cars be comprised of ethanol, most of which is made from corn. Continue reading

Yasheng Huang: What Worked With Japan Won’t Work With China

MIT Sloan Prof. Yasheng Huang

From the New York Times

In the 1980s, the United States threatened sanctions if Japan did not reduce its trade deficit. One consequence — intended or unintended — was that Japanese investments in the United States increased dramatically in response to the punitive sanctions.

These are called “tariff-jumping” investments and today there are commentators who call for similar policies to get the Chinese to switch from exporting to the United States to investing in the United States. Apple features prominently in this debate because the company has outsourced almost all the manufacturing of its popular products to China. Continue reading

Gary Smith, EMBA ’13: 6 Lessons for Encouraging Innovation in Large Corporations

From Executive Insights Blog

There are many reasons why innovation is difficult for large companies. At the top of the list is the fact that their employees tend to be risk adverse and stay for a long time. While there are benefits to high employee retention rates, it also means they are reinforcing the same ideas over and over again.

The new ideas that are seen often only lead to incremental improvements, squeezing out a few basis points here or a few days off of a project schedule there. It’s common for a big company to make marginal improvements to a 20-year-old process rather than scrap it to adopt a newer system. They’d rather tweak a dinosaur that still functions than take a risk. Continue reading

Cynthia Rudin: Using Data to Predict Your Future Health

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Cynthia Rudin

From Huffington Post

Have you ever gone on a trip and unexpectedly found yourself in need of medical care? What if your condition could have been predicted? Better yet, what if you already had the medicine needed to treat that condition in your luggage?

The Hierarchical Association Rule Model (HARM), which I co-developed with Tyler McCormick of the University of Washington and David Madigan of Columbia University, can help patients be better prepared by warning them (and their doctors) about the conditions they may likely experience next. The predictive modeling tool checks data about an individual patient against other patients in the database with similar situations to help determine future conditions. It also alerts patients about any higher risks they may have for certain types of conditions.

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Deborah Ancona talks to Sloan Management Review about Leadership

MIT Sloan Prof. Deborah Ancona

From Sloan Management Review

By Martha Mangelsdorf

What does it take to be an effective leader in today’s unpredictable and uncertain business environments?

Earlier this month, I attended an MIT Sloan executive education course called “Transforming Your Leadership Strategy,” taught by MIT Sloan professor Deborah Ancona. While a good deal of the learning in the course took place through interactive exercises, Ancona conveyed many important points about effective leadership through her presentations. Here are a few of those points: Continue reading