‘We will have new opportunities to refine our collaborative and analytical tools’
A critical challenge for organizations is figuring out how to “unlock” their potential value. This value can take a human form, as it does in the case of talented teams who spark innovation. Or it can assume an abstract form, in which vast stores of raw data are translated into useful information.
With the advancement of globalization and technology, we will have new opportunities to refine our collaborative and analytical tools to help organizations leverage their potential. Academics and practitioners will each have a part to play in developing and improving these processes.
As more organizations expand their operations globally, we will see a move toward what I’ll call “Collaboration 2.0.” We’ll see more multinational, multicultural teams working across time zones, necessitating a huge amount of collaboration — much of which will be virtual, enabled by telecommunications.
The challenge for business schools is to provide more experiential learning opportunities that emphasize diverse, dynamic group interaction. At Kellogg, we can expect to see important existing courses, such as those focused on cross-cultural negotiation, international strategy and finance, evolve in ways that best meet student needs. In addition, courses like our Global Lab (which requires student teams to work virtually with organizations in, say, Asia or Latin America) will prepare future Kellogg MBAs to join a workforce that will be even more international than it is today.
As educators, we need to develop these opportunities to create a truly global classroom. I see students from around the world using telepresence tools in real time to participate in the same sessions.
In the Kellogg Executive MBA Program, we already do something like this during International Live-In Week, when we bring students from our global partner schools to Evanston for an intensive, collaborative learning experience. This is an excellent foundation from which to take collaboration to even greater heights.
Businesses will also need help understanding and managing the tremendous amount of customer data that organizations have acquired. Businesses need experts who can unlock the information contained within all that data, and then use that information for the firm’s strategic advantage. Companies also need people who know how to help convert data related to operations — how a firm organizes its supply chain or structures its finances — into strategically useful information.
By providing both the analytical and collaborative frameworks to meet these needs, Kellogg is strongly positioned to prepare students for this emerging business environment.
David Besanko is the Alvin J. Huss Professor of Management & Strategy at Kellogg, where his teaching and research is focused on the intersection of public policy and competitive strategy.