B-School Bulletin: Mind-Blowing Solutions To The 9 Hardest Startup Problems

News from MIT Sloan School of Management  

“If you aspire to be a successful startup leader, it helps to know how to solve the toughest challenges you’ll face.

“When I was a graduate student at MIT, professors overloaded me with challenging weekly problem sets. So I figured an MIT professor would be able to solve the problem of answering the 9 toughest challenges facing an entrepreneur.

“On June 8, Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, gave me his solutions and they should guide any aspiring leader.”

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Why Certain Elections Favor Extreme Candidates

News from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management 

“Government elections tend to fall into one of two categories: district elections and at-large elections.

“In the first type, a city, state, or country is split into districts, and residents can vote only for candidates in their district. For example, each ward in a city might elect its own alderman. In the second type, every person can vote for any candidate. For instance, an entire city might choose from the same pool of candidates to elect city council members.

“But do the election rules affect what types of people get voted into office?

“Yes, according to a recent experiment in Afghanistan. In 2002, the Afghan government designed a program to fund public resources, such as wells and bridges, in villages. Each village needed to elect a council to manage the projects. Some villages were instructed to use district elections, while others used at-large elections.”

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Why Wellness Programs Don’t Work So Well

“Many companies offer wellness programs in a bid to improve the health of their employees and control the costs of providing medical insurance. Employees check in regularly with a nurse or health coach, participate in a yearly wellness fair to track their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, or are given incentives to walk 10,000 steps a day. But do these programs really work in changing behaviors?

“New research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reveals a fundamental flaw in the design of such programs — they’re generalized plans that don’t take into account some people need more help than others. Also, they assume people always act rationally on the information they get. It’s not that simple.”

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Don’t Reinvent The Regulatory Wheel

News from INSEAD

“The Cambridge Analytica scandal had at least one good outcome: It finally woke us up. For years, experts, politicians and the media warned us about the risks of the rapid digitisation of society, but most of us didn’t seem to care that much. It’s not entirely clear why this scandal in particular was the straw that broke the camel’s back, especially since the data were harvested and put to use some time ago. But the era in which Facebook and other internet companies had almost unlimited freedom seems to be over.

“Up to 87 million Facebook users had their data exposed to Cambridge Analytica, which used it for the political gain of its paying customers. Facebook had sealed the breach that allowed the data firm to plunder information about the friend networks of quiz takers years before the scandal erupted, yet Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg continues to find himself in front of government bodies – the United States Senate and the European Parliament, for example – apologising and promising more transparency.”

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The Moral Dilemma To Business Research

News from Notre Dame University Mendoza College of Business

“The current business research model is unsustainable. That’s why it’s critical that schools realign their incentives to encourage faculty to produce credible research that is useful to society.

“As much as business school research has the potential to create a better world, the opposite is often true: Business school scholarship can be a massive diversion of resources in ways that benefit faculty, not society. In fact, faculty research infrequently impacts practice, often falls short of standards for credible research, and fails to create a strong return for the investment. Moreover, research is funded almost entirely by stakeholders — donors, tuition-paying students, and governmental agencies — very few of whom have earmarked their money for research.”

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