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A Strategic Approach

This book offers a framework for making decisions under risk and uncertainty. Synthesizing research from economics, finance, decision theory, management, and other fields, the book provides a set of tools and a way of thinking that determines the relative merits of different strategies. It takes as its premise that we make better decisions if we use the whole toolkit of economics and related fields to inform our decision making.

Intelligence does not arise only in individual brains; it also arises in groups of individuals. This is collective intelligence: groups of individuals acting collectively in ways that seem intelligent. In recent years, a new kind of collective intelligence has emerged: interconnected groups of people and computers, collectively doing intelligent things. Today these groups are engaged in tasks that range from writing software to predicting the results of presidential elections.

Institutions, Instruments, and Risk Management

Over the last fifty years, an extensive array of instruments for financing, investing, and controlling risk has become available in financial markets, with demand for these innovations driven by the needs of investors and borrowers. The recent financial crisis offered painful lessons on the consequences of ignoring the risks associated with new financial products and strategies. This substantially revised fifth edition of a widely used text covers financial product innovation with a new emphasis on risk management and regulatory reform.

How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected

A catastrophic earthquake is followed by a tsunami that inundates the coastline, and around the globe manufacturing comes to a standstill. State-of-the-art passenger jets are grounded because of a malfunctioning part. A strike halts shipments through a major port. A new digital device decimates the sales of other brands and sends established firms to the brink of bankruptcy. The interconnectedness of the global economy today means that unexpected events in one corner of the globe can ripple through the world’s supply chain and affect customers everywhere.

The Little Prover introduces inductive proofs as a way to determine facts about computer programs. It is written in an approachable, engaging style of question-and-answer, with the characteristic humor of The Little Schemer (fourth edition, MIT Press). Sometimes the best way to learn something is to sit down and do it; the book takes readers through step-by-step examples showing how to write inductive proofs.

Pivotal Events in Valuing Work and Delivering Results

In 2009, the Ford Motor Company was the only one of the Big Three automakers not to take the federal bailout package. How did Ford remain standing when its competitors were brought to their knees? It was a gutsy decision, but it didn’t happen in isolation. The United Auto Workers joined with Ford to make this possible—not only in 2009, but in a series of more than fifty pivotal events during three decades that add up to a transformation that simultaneously values work and delivers results.

Every enterprise evolves continuously, driven by changing needs or new opportunities. Most often this happens gradually, with small adjustments to strategy, organization, processes, or infrastructure. But sometimes enterprises need to go beyond minor fixes and transform themselves, in response to a disruptive event or dramatically changing circumstances—a merger, for example, or a new competitor. In this book, enterprise architecting experts Deborah Nightingale and Donna Rhodes offer a framework for enterprise transformation.

Why Occupations Differ in Their Embrace of New Technology

Why do people who perform largely the same type of work make different technology choices in the workplace? An automotive design engineer working in India, for example, finds advanced information and communication technologies essential, allowing him to work with far-flung colleagues; a structural engineer in California relies more on paper-based technologies for her everyday work; and a software engineer in Silicon Valley operates on multiple digital levels simultaneously all day, continuing after hours on a company-supplied home computer and network connection.

In today’s competitive globalized market, firms are increasingly reaching beyond conventional internal methods of research and development to use ideas developed through processes of open innovation (OI). Organizations including Siemens, Nokia, Wikipedia, Hyve, and innosabi may launch elaborate OI initiatives, actively seeking partners to help them innovate in specific areas. Individuals affiliated by common interests rather than institutional ties use OI to develop new products, services, and solutions to meet unmet needs.

Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy

Innovation and design need not be about the search for a killer app. Innovation and design can start in people’s everyday activities. They can encompass local services, cultural production, arenas for public discourse, or technological platforms. The approach is participatory, collaborative, and engaging, with users and consumers acting as producers and creators. It is concerned less with making new things than with making a socially sustainable future.

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