In the following post, D’Amore-McKim School of Business Jean C. Tempel Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fernando Suarez examines the history and future of technological platforms and their impact on the business sector.
The last 10 years could well be called the decade of platforms in the business world. Platform firms and platform business models have emerged left and right, spread rapidly, and today they represent a significant share of the employment, capitalization and growth in our global economy. A platform can be broadly defined as a good or system that provides a technological architecture that allows different types of users and complementary business partners (often called “complementors”) to connect and benefit from the platform’s base functionality. This broad definition encompasses very different firms and systems such as Amazon, Uber, Google, Apple-iTunes, Airbnb, and Facebook.
The “early” platforms (those that started in the mid-late 1990s to early 2000s) connected different stakeholders who wanted to find, buy, sell, or advertise physical products, intangibles, or services. Good examples of this are Amazon and Facebook. These platforms served as a nexus for a dispersed array of players that, without the platform, would have had a hard time connecting to interact or exchange. As platform businesses have become more established, other special types of platforms have begun to emerge, bringing with them their own buzzwords or category labels. For instance, the so-called “sharing economy” can be considered a specialized form of platform business by which the system that interconnects the different users and complementors is aimed at sharing (renting, most of the time) different types of underutilized assets that were not part of the formal economy before the platform. Airbnb, for instance, allows house dwellers to rent part of their house or flat (e.g. a room) to people that need a place to stay in that location.
In the following post, D’Amore-McKim School of Business Assistant Professor of Management and Organizational Development Parker Ellen examines how the types of relationships that leaders form can impact employee attitude and behavior.
Relationships are a fundamental aspect of work, and few relationships are more important than those between leaders and their followers. Decades ago, the prevailing thought was that leaders operated with a consistent style and treated all followers similarly. We now recognize that leaders tend to develop relationships of differing quality with individual followers within their workgroup. Additionally, we now understand that employees often perceive that leaders treat members of the workgroup differently, regardless of the leader’s intent. Read more…
In the following post, D’Amore-McKim School of Business Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management Nada Sanders, an expert in business forecasting and risk management, explains the importance of human judgment in the forecasting process and how it impacted the 2016 presidential election polls.
The pollsters, pundits, and churning of complex algorithms completely missed the forecast of the presidential election. While they are surprised, I am not. As an expert on forecasting, I knew from the beginning where the problem was.
What happened? Blind reliance on algorithms.
Analytical forecasts are based on a “system” of historical data and relationships between variables. They assume these relationships will continue into the future. However, if there is a shift in the “system,” these relationships and data points become invalid. This is true of every forecast – from corporate forecasting of markets to climate change to the election. It is up to experts to recognize when such a shift occurs and reassess the algorithm. This did not happen. Read more…
In the following post, D’Amore-McKim School of Business Associate Academic Specialist Steven Kursh discusses how technology will influence the future of the financial and insurance services industries.
We stand today on the precipice of significant changes in the ways that financial and insurance services are provided to businesses and consumers. Many of us are already familiar with Apple Pay or Samsung Pay mobile payments solutions. Some of us may have heard about BitCoin, a peer-to-peer technology for managing transactions between parties; Blockchain, a decentralized database that enables transparency with the potential to reduce fraud; or, perhaps, RoboAdvisors, which automates investment management. And you may well have already made some personal investments through crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter.
These are all examples of what is broadly called FinTech, an evolution in the financial services and insurance industries that will impact nearly all of us, even consumers and enterprises in emerging economies.  Read more…