“There are times when there is a major disruption that suddenly implies what worked so far is not going to work anymore and you need a new playbook.”
MIT Sloan professorinsight during an Executive Education webinar was directed at the COVID-19 pandemic, but the operations management expert added that this disruption could be anything from an epidemic to a technology or regulatory change.
And 2021 brought a lot of disruption — whether it was shaking up the “normal” 9-5 office schedule, introducing new forms of digital currency into the market, or reprioritizing company values.
Here are 20 other quotes and comments that captured the changes of this year.
“Machine learning is changing, or will change, every industry, and leaders need to understand the basic principles, the potential, and the limitations.” — Aleksander Madry, MIT computer science professor
“The next 50 unicorns are going to be technologies that create something related to sustainability.” — Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO
“Assertive leaders are not necessarily the most effective ones. American organizations need to diversify the prototype of what a leader should look like.” —MIT Sloan assistant professor of work and organization studies
“We need much stronger labor protection laws in order to allow AI researchers to organize against things that they see going really wrong.” — Timnit Gebru, AI researcher
“We have coronavirus in the real world. Here, in the information ecosystem, you have the virus of lies.” — Maria Ressa, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and digital fellow at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy
“All I can hope for is that we continue doing more to hire and retain diverse talent, because diversity does bring upon creativity and is simply better for business overall.” — Anita Kibunguchy, MBA ’15, Google product marketing lead
“Almost everyone thinks they’re smarter than average.” —MIT Sloan professor of finance, and Stephen R. Foerster, Ivey Business School professor of finance
“Understand who your customer is, what they care about — that’s the way to think about innovation.” —MIT Sloan senior lecturer in operations management
“Fintech goes back thousands of years. It really goes back to the invention of money.” — Gary Gensler, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, former MIT Sloan professor of the practice
“If you constantly chase cost reduction, you will ultimately wear the system down into total failure.” — MIT Sloan senior lecturer
“Divesting from a stock doesn’t really change anything about how that company is going to behave.” — MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative director
“This isn’t about getting an anti-racism widget to market. It’s important to understand that what you’re changing here is value structures, and that doesn’t happen quickly.” — MIT Sloan lecturer
“… So guess what, you're commuting to be back on Zoom, which is a new circle of hell in an open-plan office.” — Drew Houston, SB ’05, Dropbox co-founder and CEO
“At the heart of the strategy is a strong belief … that systemic problems require systemic solutions.” —and MIT Sloan associate deans
“If we’re serious about building pipelines, we need to meet people where they’re at and lead with their assets." — Boston City Councilor-at-Large Julia Mejia
“Companies are leaving a lot of value on the cutting room floor by not investing in the experience of their employees.” — Kristine Dery, research scientist, MIT Center for Information Systems Research
“Do not be afraid to take the role no one wants.” — Dannielle Appelhans, MBA ’11, Rubius Therapeutics COO
“I thought I had to do it all, but in fact, I only had to do what truly mattered and made a difference.” — Erica Dhawan, MBA ’12, author of “Digital Body Language”
“Part of being an authentic leader is knowing what you don’t know and accepting lessons from all directions.” — Carol Cohen, Cognizant senior vice president of global talent and transformation
“You can do good and you can do well at the same time.” — Stephanie von Friedeburg, International Finance Corporation senior vice president of operations