Category Archives: Events

SDM Alum Ali Almossawi Publishes Second Book

NOTE: Author event on April 15, 2017, has been canceled.

Ali Almossawi, SDM ’11

SDM ’11 Ali Almossawi has published a new book that explores the science of algorithms and how they can save you time and lead to better choices—Bad Choices: How Algorithms Can Help You Think Smarter and Live Happier (Viking, 2017).

A graduate of MIT System Design & Management, a master’s program offered jointly by the MIT Sloan School of Management and MIT’s School of Engineering, Almossawi sparked a word-of-mouth phenomenon with his first illustrated book, Bad Arguments. More than 2.7 million people have read the book, which features funny, clarifying explanations of complex subjects along with amusing illustrations drawn by his collaborator Alejandro Giraldo. Bad Arguments has been translated into 17 languages.

In Bad Choices, Almossawi uses entertaining stories and whimsical illustrations to demystify a topic of increasing relevance to our lives—and he does it in fewer than 200 pages. Almossawi reveals that we all use complex math more frequently than we realize. In fact, every day people apply algorithms to solve such problems as finding pairs of socks in a pile of clothes, deciding when to go to the grocery store, and determining how to prioritize tasks for the day.

Bad Choices acquaints readers with algorithmic thinking by highlighting different ways of approaching tasks and pointing out how these approaches fare relative to each other. It’s the perfect book for anyone who’s looked at a given task and wondered if there were a better, faster way to get it done.

Here a few of the questions that Bad Choices will make you consider:

  • Why is Facebook so good at predicting what you like?
  • How do you discover new music?
  • What’s the best way to organize a grocery list or sort your laundry?
  • What’s the secret to being more productive at work?
  • How can you better express yourself in 140 characters?

Almossawi credits his time at SDM with helping him learn the “thinking about thinking” approach he uses in his book. “I came from a computer science background; many of my classmates came from other engineering disciplines. Putting that kind of a mix of people into the same space and asking them to solve problems is just a fantastic learning experience,” he said. “SDM made me appreciate the value of domain-agnostic and general-purpose engineering tools.”

In Bad Choices, Almossawi uses such thinking to provide a guide to better choices—borrowing from the very systems that underline word processing, Google search, and Facebook ads. Bad Choices focuses on intuition-building and thinking, leading to learning that is more personal, transferable, and timeless. Once you recognize what makes a method faster and more efficient, you’ll become a more nimble, creative problem-solver, ready to face new challenges. Bad Choices will open the world of algorithms to all readers and is sure to be a perennial go-to reference for fans of quirky, accessible science books.

About the Author

Ali Almossawi is the creator of An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments, which has been read by 2.4 million readers and translated into 17 languages (11 translations were done by volunteers from across the world). Now a principal data visualizer at Apple, Almossawi previously worked on the Firefox team at Mozilla. He is an alumnus of MIT System Design & Management, a master’s program offered jointly by the MIT Sloan School of Management and MIT’s School of Engineering, where he earned an SM in engineering and management. He also holds a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. In addition, he has worked as a research associate at Harvard and as a collaborator with the MIT Media Lab.

http://almossawi.com/
@alialmossawi

BAD CHOICES: How Algorithms Can Help You Think Smarter and Live Happier
Ali Almossawi
Viking / On-Sale: April 4, 2017
ISBN: 9780735222120/ Price: $20.00
ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK

Webinar (4/19/17): Adventures in Strategy, Systems Thinking, and Business Frameworks in the Real Corporate World

MIT Systems Thinking Webinar Series

Aravind Ratnam, Head of Connected Vehicle Products, Wind River; SDM Alumnus

ratnam

Aravind Ratnam, SDM ’10

Date: April 19, 2017
Time: Noon – 1 p.m. ET
Free and open to all
(Preregistration is required.)

Register Here

About the Presentation

Strategic thinking is both an art and a science; it’s a perspective that one must develop to see the forest for the trees in today’s dynamic business environment. The Internet of Things, driverless cars, analytics, and other innovations require winning business models­ that are just as complex as products. Successful leaders must be able to zoom out to see the big picture and zoom in to see the details. They must keep one eye on the present while looking ahead. Strategic, systems-based thinking is essential.

In this webinar, SDM alumnus Aravind Ratnam, head of connected vehicle products at Wind River, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation, will share his adventures and lessons learned in using this approach to innovate and lead.

He will:

  • discuss how strategy is practiced in management consulting and in industry;
  • offer examples of how strategists think through real-life challenges;
  • suggest tools, tips, and tricks for building a strategic thinking mindset;
  • provide an overview of careers in strategy with insight into both the hype and the reality.

We invite you to join us!

About the Speaker

Aravind Ratnam is head of connected vehicle products at Wind River, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation. As a thought leader within the industrial Internet of Things and connected devices market, he drives internal strategic alignment, innovation planning, business unit strategy, corporate positioning, and internal business optimization (including financial alignment) while providing advice to Intel’s executive staff and business leaders. Previously he worked as a strategy consultant at IBB and Monitor Deloitte, and he has experience in product marketing, systems engineering, and physics research. As an SDM alumnus, he holds a master’s degree in engineering and management from MIT. He also has degrees in space science and instrumentation engineering.

About the Series

Sponsored by the System Design & Management (SDM) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges. Recordings and slides from prior SDM webinars can be accessed here.


Name:*
E-mail:*
Phone:*
-
Address:*
Company Name:*
Position:*
How Did You Hear About Us?*
Recaptcha Word Verification:

Agile Project Dynamics for Aerospace and Defense Technologies and Plus Lessons for Other Sectors

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

Firas Glaiel, Corporate Technology Area Director, Information Systems and Computing, Raytheon; SDM Alumnus

GLAIEL, FIRAS

Firas Glaiel, SDM ’10

Date: October 17, 2016

Download the presentation slides

About the Presentation

Commercial software providers have adopted “agile” believing that it will help lower costs, shorten development times, and deliver greater customer satisfaction. Now government contractors are looking at agile methods to help them compete successfully in the aerospace and defense domains. For them, two questions are paramount: Can agile succeed in the large-scale government systems development domain? And if so, how?

This presentation by SDM alumnus Firas Glaiel, Raytheon’s corporate technology area director for information systems and computing, is designed for government contractors as well as professionals in a wide variety of other domains. Glaiel will:

  • provide a brief overview of systems thinking;
  • describe system dynamics—a method for modeling and understanding the dynamic behavior of complex systems; and
  • define agile practices and outline a framework for better understanding them.

He will then share research results, including:

  • the seven agile techniques (seven genes) used by successful project teams, aka the “genome of the agile”; and
  • a description of the system dynamics model developed from this research—agile project dynamics—including the structure and time-delayed relationships for capturing the impact of agile genes on emergent system behaviors.

A Q&A will follow the presentation. We invite you to join us!

About the Speaker

Firas Glaiel is Raytheon’s corporate technology area director for information systems and computing. He is responsible for coordinating technology and research, including cross-business alignment, collaboration with universities and external organizations, and support for technology strategy development. He also works on strategic research and development projects in big data analytics, cybersecurity, high-performance computing, and agile systems development. He holds a BS in computer engineering from Lebanese American University, a BS in computer system engineering from Boston University, and as an alumnus of MIT System Design & Management, an MS in engineering and management from MIT.

About the Series

Sponsored by the System Design & Management (SDM) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges. Recordings and slides from prior SDM webinars can be accessed here.

 

Is the Commissioned Sales Force Model Right for Today’s Semiconductor Industry?

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

Marvin, Heath

Heath Marvin, SDM ’14

Heath Marvin, Field Applications Engineer, Microchip Technology; SDM Fellow

Date: May 23, 2016

Download presentation slides

About the Presentation

The semiconductor industry has entered a new phase where growth has slowed to a pace more in line with the rest of the economy. This shift requires that business be conducted across the industry in new ways that will help to sustain and grow profitability. One area in critical need of reform is the way in which companies incentivize and compensate their sales forces. While the norm now is to pay commissions based on completed sales, current research indicates that there are benefits to using a sales process that does not include commissions.

In this webinar, SDM Fellow Heath Marvin will discuss how system dynamics can be used to test and compare the robustness of a commission-less model against the more traditional system. He will:

  • explain modeling and simulation techniques that can analyze the effects of using different types of incentive plans;
  • review results that reveal that a commission-less sales force is superior in nearly every scenario; and
  • demonstrate why a sales force can be more effective without commissions when selling a complex product in a complex industry—whether the economy is growing, stable, or in a recession.
A Q&A will follow the presentation. We invite you to join us!

About the Speaker

Heath Marvin started his career as a semiconductor chip designer and has been moving closer to the customer ever since. He now works as a field applications engineer for Microchip Technology and spends most of his time working with customers designing embedded products, including a wide variety of microcontrollers. In June 2016, he will receive a master’s degree in engineering and management from MIT as a System Design & Management graduate.

About the Series

Sponsored by the System Design & Management (SDM) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges. Recordings and slides from prior SDM webinars can be accessed here.

Competing at Innovative Speed: Why Is It So Darn Hard?

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

SteveSpearColorPhoto

Steven J. Spear, DBA

Steven J. Spear, DBA, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management and School of Engineering; Author: The High Velocity Edge

Date: May 9, 2016

Slides available here

About the Presentation

Today’s companies can no longer lock in market share with barriers that keep competitors at bay and customers and employees from defecting. As a result, competitive paradigms have irrevocably transformed from finding and sustaining a position to practicing relentless innovation.

In this webinar, Dr. Steven J. Spear will define “relentless innovation” and how to use it to continually identify new targets and be the first to achieve them. He will discuss:

  • why management decisions can no longer be made primarily by using sophisticated models to gather and analyze data;
  • why today’s companies must also employ experiential and experimental approaches while constantly testing new ideas about what to do and how to do it; and
  • how to achieve this new level of competitiveness at innovative speed—and why that is easier said than done.

Attendees will learn:

  • ways to assess their organization’s willingness and ability to practice hyper-experimentation;
  • how to encourage the continual generation of fresh ideas;
  • why and how to discern if customers, suppliers, and vendors are competing at innovative speed;
  • tips for practicing “energy activation,” including how to cultivate the freedom to discover and understand what’s going right or wrong; and
  • how to identify recurring challenges, such as socio-psychological impediments, and address and mitigate them.

A Q&A will follow the presentation. We invite you to join us!

About the Speaker

Dr. Steven J. Spear, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and School of Engineering, is a well-recognized expert on innovation. He has worked for the investment bank Prudential-Bache and the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment, among others, and taught at Harvard Business School. His consulting clients include Lockheed Martin, John Deere, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Spear is also an award-winning author. His book, The High Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition (McGraw Hill, 2010), has won several awards, including the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing Research and the Philip Crosby Medal from the American Society for Quality. He holds a BS in economics from Princeton University, an MA in management and an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD from Harvard Business School.

About the Series

Sponsored by the System Design & Management (SDM) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges. Recordings and slides from prior SDM webinars can be accessed here.

Cultivating Resilience with Heuristics and Systems Thinking: Lessons from New Industries

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

Burl Amsbury, Business Consultant, Entrepreneur, Inventor, and Cattleman; SDM Alumnus

Date: April 25, 2016

Slides available here

ckBurl-0133

Burl Amsbury, SDM ’99

About the Presentation

Regenerative ranching, sustainable agriculture, organic foods, integrative medicine, and other new or niche markets have much to teach companies of any age, in any industry. Two key elements many use to compete effectively are heuristics and systems thinking.

In this webinar, SDM alumnus Burl Amsbury will offer lessons in how to design or redesign your organization by sharing specific systems thinking heuristics drawn from his experience as an entrepreneur, startup executive, big company employee, US Navy pilot, engineer, and creative problem-solver. Using examples from new and/or niche industries, Amsbury will discuss:

  • common themes among industries that employ systems thinking principles—even if they don’t use that term;
  • why systems thinking is rapidly being put to work in so many disparate fields; and
  • heuristic principles for designing an entrepreneurial organization within a fast-growth niche in any industry.

A Q&A will follow the presentation. We invite you to join us!

About the Speaker

Burl Amsbury graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1988 with a combined SB and SM in electrical engineering and, as an SDM alum, earned an SM in engineering and management from MIT in 2000. Between stints at MIT, he flew A-6E Intruders for the US Navy aboard the USS Kitty Hawk and helped develop what became the Segway self-balancing scooter. Amsbury has been an executive in four startup and high-growth technology-enabled companies located in Colorado’s Front Range region. He has been named the primary inventor on three patents and is a contributing inventor on 26 others, including Kiva System’s warehouse robot. A cattleman, Amsbury is a business coach and consultant for sustainable agriculture endeavors, natural/organic food enterprises, and functional medicine practitioners.

About the Series

Sponsored by the System Design & Management (SDM) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges. Recordings and slides from prior SDM webinars can be accessed here.

How to Navigate the Perils and Promises of Intrusion Prevention Systems

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

Charles.Iheagwara

Charles Iheagwara, PhD, SDM ’10

Charles Iheagwara, PhD, Customer Solutions Advocate and Security Solutions Consultant, Cisco Systems, Inc.; SDM Alumnus

Date: March 21, 2016


Download the presentation slides

About the Presentation

Although the market is full of intrusion prevention products, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to every business need. In this webinar, SDM alumnus Dr. Charles Iheagwara will offer suggestions for how to cut through the jargon and evaluate which products will best meet your organization’s requirements.

He will discuss:

  • a working definition of intrusion prevention;
  • critical criteria for evaluating products that include—and go beyond—meeting budgetary and implementation needs;
  • how employing these criteria can enhance your cybersecurity strategy while addressing your organization’s technical, business, and socio-political challenges.

In short, there are ramifications to choosing one security solution over another. This session will suggest an approach to preventing the types of security failures that can reverberate throughout and beyond your organization.

A Q&A will follow the presentation. We invite you to join us.

About the Speaker

Dr. Charles Iheagwara is a customer solutions advocate and security solutions consultant at Cisco, Inc. Previously, he served as managing director at Unatek, Inc., and as a consultant in various capacities at Grant Thornton, KPMG, Lockheed Martin, and Edgar Online. He holds a PhD from the University of Glamorgan in the United Kingdom and, as an SDM alumnus, an MS in engineering and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also earned an MS in mineral engineering from the University of Minnesota and a BS and MS in metallurgical engineering from Russia’s Moscow Institute for Steel and Alloys. Dr. Iheagwara has published widely and is a frequent speaker at industry events.

About the Series

Sponsored by the System Design & Management (SDM) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges. Recordings and slides from prior SDM webinars can be accessed here.

 

SDM Info Evening, June 1

Please join us at The Kendall Hotel for an Information Evening on the System Design and Management (SDM) program, which offers a Master’s degree in Engineering *and* Management. You will have the opportunity to learn more about this exciting program designed for mid-career professionals, discuss career opportunities, and network with SDM alumni, faculty, students, and staff.

View event invite and RSVP

Hacking Medicine and the Rx It Offers for Innovation in All Industries

 

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar SeriesAndrea Ippolito

Andrea Ippolito, SDM ’11, Ph.D. Student, Engineering Systems, MIT
Allison Yost, Ph.D. Candidate, Mechanical Engineering, MITAllison Yost

Date: June 16, 2014

Download the presentation slides

About the Presentation

Based at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, MIT Hacking Medicine brings together stakeholders who are passionate about changing the status quo in healthcare. The “hacking” approach fosters an ecosystem of empowerment for launching disruptive healthcare solutions. To date, more than 16 hackathons have been held across four continents, resulting in more than 600 idea pitches and the formation of more than a dozen companies—including PillPack, Podimetrics, Smart Scheduling, RubiconMD, Eagle Health Supplies, and Twiage.

In this webinar, you will learn how to apply the hacking approach to your industry and domain. Based on their experience in hacking medicine, MIT’s Andrea Ippolito and Allison Yost will:

  • discuss the hacking philosophy and the powerful promise of this approach;
  • describe what is needed to short-circuit (and continue to short-circuit) the flaws in innovation; and
  • share their mantras for hacking healthcare and medicine and reveal ways to develop mantras for innovation in your organization.

A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation. We invite you to join us.

About the Speakers

SDM alumna Andrea Ippolito is a Ph.D. student in engineering systems at MIT. While at SDM, she served as a research assistant in the MIT Lean Advancement Initiative, where she and fellow team members worked directly with the US Army’s chief of tele-health to architect the future delivery system for the US Department of Defense. Prior to coming to MIT, she worked as a product innovation manager at athenahealth and as a research scientist at Boston Scientific Corporation. Ippolito holds a B.S. in biological engineering and an M.Eng. in biomedical engineering from Cornell University.

Allison Yost is a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at MIT. Her research focuses on designing microfluidic devices at the nanoscale for medical and biotech applications. She aspires to be an entrepreneur in the healthcare and medical space. Yost received her S.M. in mechanical engineering from MIT and her B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of New Hampshire.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.

Virtual SDM Information Session

Learn about the MIT Master’s in Engineering and Management

Download the presentation slides

Date: February 24, 2014

About the Presentation

Photo by John Parrillo

Learn about the MIT Master’s in Engineering and Management

Please join us online for a virtual Information Session on the System Design and Management (SDM) program, which offers a master’s degree in engineering and management. You will have the opportunity to learn more about this exciting program designed for mid-career professionals.

The MIT-SUTD Dual Masters’ Program will also be discussed.

For further information: sdm.mit.edu or sdm@mit.edu

Alchemist, a sculpture by Jaume Plensa, sits across from the main entrance to MIT.
Photo: John Parrillo