Platforms & Crowds

With the power to transform established industries, capture untapped value, and materialize new business models, perhaps no aspect of the digital economy is as transformative as the possibilities presented by the platform economy and the utilization of crowds.

First crowd academy points the way for the future of work

Despite mounting evidence that innovation tools such as crowdsourcing are better, faster, and cheaper, it is still difficult for organizations to embrace this change. Held at HBS, the first annual Crowd Academy brought together researchers and industry experts to further the conversation on crowdsourcing, open innovation, and the future of work.

To what extent is it possible to take the distance out of distance learning?

The Global Philosopher, a special 4-part series with BBC Radio 4, gave Professor Michael J. Sandel an opportunity to initiate global dialogue like he’d never done before. Using HBX’s innovative Live Studio, the series virtually brought together individuals from across the globe to engage in lively debate about some of today’s most pressing issues. In this keynote from the 2018 Harvard University IT Summit, Sandel muses on the promise — and limitations — of this style of public discourse.

The Biggest Industry You’ve Never Heard Of

When you picture a screaming, sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden, esports (AKA professional gaming) might not be the first thing to come to mind. But with a current global audience of 385 million people and annual revenues of nearly $700 million, esports has become a growing and lucrative industry that’s promising enough to have even the owner of the New England Patriots investing.

Lights across field

Learning from Amazon’s inventory availability information

On February 14th, 2018 the Digital Seminar series hosted Ruomeng Cui from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. She gave a talk called “Learning from Inventory Availability Information: Evidence from Field Experiments on Amazon.”

What’s the future and why it’s up to us

Tim O’Reilly considers the implications for society of an increasingly complex digital ecosystem and highlights the potential of digital transformation to create a better world. O’Reilly envisions a future of work in which humans will increasingly collaborate with machines, software, and algorithms to get things done.


The impact of collaborative filtering recommender algorithms

On February 28th, 2018 the Digital Seminar series hosted Kartik Hosanagar from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

‘Candy Crush’ Was a Blockbuster: Can King Digital Capitalize?

What does it take to capture the devotion of a fickle fan base in a fiercely competitive industry? How can you capitalize on the viral popularity of a game within the ‘freemium’ model? How should a company strategically scale following one massive blockbuster hit? Professor Jeffrey Rayport looks to Candy Crush for the answers to these questions in this Cold Call podcast.

Could a hackathon help solve the heroin crisis?

Is crowdsourcing really the proper strategy for tackling a health crisis as severe as the opioid epidemic? We admit to having our doubts. However, this case from Professor Mitch Weiss addresses those underlying skepticisms and offers a fascinating look at what can happen when innovative minds use creative tactics to get disparate stakeholders for a desperate problem in the same room together so they can finally start talking.

How does the fintech unicorn Ant Financial do it?

With a finance empire spanning mobile/online payments, wealth management, digital-first banking, credit scoring, and yes, cryptocurrencies, Ant Financial is one of the most influential fintech companies in the world. This case from DI professor Feng Zhu on how Ant Financial has managed its growth strategy is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the current state of fintech innovation today.

How Consumer Brands Can Connect with Customers in a Changing Retail Landscape

What are some of the ways that pioneering companies are redefining the relationship with their customers in the digital age? By keeping in mind the importance of such strategies as using the right digital channels, adding value to your customers, and staying flexible to the emergence of new technologies. This article from HBR provides salient insights into how retailers can develop a similarly effective digital strategy as they navigate a rapidly changing industry.

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