This time last year we published a list of the top 10 Ideas Made to Matter articles of 2019. It was heavy on career advice and people management. These things still matter, but in 2020, reader concerns shifted. Nearly everything we write about and study was transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice put an overdue premium on the principled leadership needed to run inclusive and equitable organizations. Executives and managers who care about making Black lives matter in the workplace and having productive conversations about racism at work will stand out even more in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic
When the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, shutdowns were just beginning to take shape in the United States. In the weeks that followed, as most of the country’s professional class shifted to remote work, readers looked for ideas about how work would change and what might come next in finance and health care.
In those first weeks we covered what the markets of 1918 and 2008 could tell us about what was to come and what hidden risks to look out for in the sudden shift to remote work. We also looked at how the mindset to fight COVID-19 is similar to the one needed to fight climate change and how the pandemic could force necessary changes in how electronic health records are used.
Another highlight: An April survey of how consulting firms were managing as the need for their work changed.
Data, analytics, and the intersection of technology and management
Ideas Made to Matter readers gravitated to articles about data and analytics in 2020. Much of the focus was on finding the right people to do the job. Other popular writing about the intersection of technology and management covered supply chains and digital transformation.
- How to build a data analytics dream team
- The next chapter in analytics: data storytelling
- 5 supply chain technologies that deliver competitive advantage
- Why analytics is the ‘secret sauce’ of startup success
- How to master two different digital transformations
- 10 big data blunders businesses should avoid
Two new series examining thoughtful leadership
January saw the launch of My Idea Made to Matter, a series where we ask leaders about how they develop and work with ideas.
One inspiring read is Christina Qi’s rumination on why she shifted attention from a successful high-frequency trading hedge fund to starting Databento to make financial data available to firms of all sizes. In another, Stephanie Lampkin explained how she uses transparency and openness to test ideas for Blendoor, the company she founded to strip bias from the hiring process.
And in April we launched The Bias Cut, a series profiling female leaders about their career paths and their experiences confronting gender bias.
LaborX founder Yscaira Jimenez discussed bias in venture capital funding and how it holds down innovation and creative ideas. And Shaheen Parks, analytics services director at life science software company Veeva, explained why she’s transparent about her own personal commitments so her team will feel safe discussing the work-life tradeoffs they make.
A few other articles that were popular with readers:
- 5g, explained
- 3 things Ikea’s Space 10 isn’t
- 5 ways to avoid ineffective meetings
- Deepfakes, explained
- 5 tips for successful negotiations
- Why finance is deploying natural language processing
- 5 trends in venture capital (beyond the pandemic)
- Dealmakers take heed: CAPM can cause significant valuation errors