Podcast: You Want to Return That Bad Gift … What’s Next?

Returning that ugly Christmas sweater isn’t as easy as you think.
Tobin Moore | Optoro

Today’s online shopper wants what they want when they want it. But they also want to return whatever they want whenever they want. The problem? Too many companies focus on that first reality while ignoring the latter challenge, Toby Moore, co-founder and CEO of Optoro, argues. In this episode, the leader of the reverse logistics […]

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Making the Case for Technology Investments

Short-term calculations often imperil long-term growth.
Jess Szmajda | Optoro

Retail executives are no strangers to the annual “technology freeze,” a temporary hold placed on new investments, security tools or IT projects in preparation for the peak shopping – and returning – season. And while some industry experts say it’s a smart way to avoid rocking the boat during the industry’s busiest time, others argue that it […]

Reimagining Business: How to Cater to the Customer of the Future

Customers want to be empowered. To do that, companies must move from producers to enablers.
John Marshall | Lippincott

Dan Clay | Lippincott

Meet Dawn. She’s never been to the doctor’s office, but she visits her doctor every week. She’s constantly shopping, but she’s never waited in line. Her apartment recognizes her face. She doesn’t go into the office, she logs onto a platform. She doesn’t have a resume, she has ratings. She doesn’t have a boss, she […]

Podcast: How Can Business Help Curb Congestion?

Moving Urban Logistics Forward, Part III
Peter Harris | UPS


There are essentially two avenues to take when confronting logistics and transportation issues surrounding the cities of the future. The first one is conventional: Build a better mousetrap. Leg by leg along the supply chain – from manufacturer to consumer – you scour every resource and process with careful analysis to develop the most productive […]

Productivity Tips For People Who Hate Productivity Tips

After all, who really couldn't use more time?
Monique Valcour | Harvard Business Review

Despite their efforts to stay informed on the best productivity methods, many people find staying focused to be an uphill battle. If you feel defeated and unable to focus, two things will help you feel more in control. The first is to accept where you are and have compassion for yourself. When you admit to […]

Expand Free Trade by Enhancing Digital Trust

Blockchain and artificial intelligence can lead us to a new era of more equitable trade.

Free trade has been an enduring goal of the international community for more than a century. Despite broad technological progress, modern transaction systems remain heavily burdened by antiquated practices. This creates friction that slows global commerce and hinders service delivery of all kinds. Banks, for example, still issue letters of credit to importers, a practice […]

Leaders: Do You Fear the Future?

Seizing the day is not a recipe for business success. Leaders must confront their fears of the future and turn them into something positive.
Bob Johansen | Institute For The Future

If you don’t have some fear about the future, you’re not paying attention. But fear is not a bad thing. It’s what you do with your fear that can turn bad. In a world of disruptive opportunity, leaders will need to learn how to practice voluntary fear exposure. They will need safe zones to practice […]

Opportunity in the New Economy

Now is not the time for incremental improvements to an old playbook. We need a transformational social contract.
Jason A. Tyszko | U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The world is changing in profound ways. This change has brought with it growth, opportunity and job creation, as well as new risks for workers and communities. We are ill-equipped to manage many of these risks – these are the risks that have fueled economic anxiety and job insecurity. It’s the challenge of our time. We […]

Podcast: Can We Solve the Last-Mile Delivery Puzzle?

Moving Urban Logistics Forward, Part II

As the director of the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab, Matthias Winkenbach has cities on the brain. Whether it’s urban logistics, infrastructure design or data analytics, Matthias is at the center of the next wave of solutions to the urbanization movement. In the second episode of a three-part series, Matthias provides a ground-level look at the most […]

Digital Tech Can Deliver Better Healthcare to Sub-Saharan Africa

Geography should not limit access to healthcare. Here's a digital step in the right direction.
Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais | Quantum Global Group

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 13 percent of the world’s population – yet bears 24 percent of the global disease burden and has only 2 percent of the world’s doctors. The grim health situation is the result of a crisis in healthcare investments in the continent, with only 1 percent of the world’s health expenditures being used […]

The Future of Transportation Is Here

Let’s reimagine how we’ll move around our cities.
Alex Moura | TED

Humanity has come a long way from traveling by horse, but when we consider the future of transportation in cities, too many of us are still stuck in the 18th century. We still envision our streets full of four-wheel chariots (minus the horses) and our future as relying on cars or car-like vehicles because that’s all we know. […]

These 4 Easy Steps Can Make You a Math Whiz

It’s not always so simple to solve problems. But that’s the glory of it – the messy, wonderful, powerful adventure.
Jennifer Ruef | University of Oregon

Many people find mathematics daunting. If true, this piece is for you. If not, this piece is still for you. What do you think of when you think about mathematics? Perhaps you think about x’s and y’s, intractable fractions or nonsensical word problems. The cartoonist Gary Larson once depicted Hell’s library as containing only giant […]

4 Factors Driving the ‘Age of the Consumer’

The origins of e-commerce lie in the distant past. Its future, however, is ripe for disruption.
Derek Banta | UPS

Malcom McLean, a trucker from North Carolina, isn’t a household name – but you have certainly benefited from his innovation. Today’s global economy would not be possible without the intermodal shipping container, or the box, pioneered by McLean. This box helped standardize ocean shipping, shrunk the world of commerce and enabled global trade by reducing […]

Podcast: Moving Urban Logistics Forward, Part I

A new UPS/GreenBiz study provides a greener blueprint for city delivery.
John Davies | GreenBiz

Urbanization is arguably the defining challenge for how people will live and work in the world of tomorrow. With two-thirds of the global population expected to live in cities by 2050, the need for efficient and sustainable logistics has never been greater. That’s why we’re launching a three-part series on how forward-looking businesses, academic institutions […]

CEOs Should Think Like Founders, Not Just Managers

Here are five actions leaders can take to move from a manager to re-founder mindset.
John Geraci | Harvard Business Review

David Kidder | Harvard Business Review

Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook. Today’s most successful companies are for the most part young firms led by founders and their teams. The signal is undeniable: The market now rewards the long-term vision and continual investment in new growth represented by these younger enterprises. Large companies have been responding to these developments for some time, […]

Solving the Soft Skills Gap in Supply Chain Management

A focus on technology has left workers and key companies short of abilities critical to organizational success.
Yossi Sheffi | MIT

Managing supply chains more than ever is about managing technology. The rise of tools such as predictive analytics, the Internet of Things and blockchain places greater demand on supply chain professionals for the technical skills to understand and apply the dizzying array of new technologies in modern business. In the rush to keep up with […]

Retail Revival: Can Stores Make a Comeback?

Physical retailers have distinct advantages that can spur business growth – as long as they evolve with their customers.

Though several major retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection this year and others have closed thousands of stores, all seemingly at the hands of online commerce, reports of the death of retail are greatly exaggerated. In fact, research shows that the industry is booming and that stores still matter. Recent data from the U.S. Census […]

The Vital Role of Business in Global Development

Removing all barriers to mutually beneficial partnerships is smart business and good for our communities.
David Weiss | Global Communities

The challenges for businesses looking to invest in emerging economies are the same challenges for communities themselves: good governance and transparency, a strong, business-enabling environment, market accessibility and, of course, peace and stability. As a global development organization, Global Communities is committed to creating these conditions. And one of the most important ways to do […]

Life in 2030: 4 Things Experts Can’t Predict

There is ample opportunity to make the uncertain more certain.
Lee Rainie | Pew Research Center

Alvin Toffler predicted a future in his 1970 bestseller Future Shock that looks much like today’s reality. He anticipated the rise of the internet, the sharing economy, companies built on adhocracy rather than centralized bureaucracy and the broader social confusions and concerns about technology. He foresaw that the evolving relationship between people and technology would […]

A Peek Into the Brave New World of Programmable Materials

A computational architect is shaking up the material world.
Karen Eng | TED

Ever tried to assemble an Ikea table? Turning a two-dimensional pile of wood and plastic into a useful 3D object can be a challenge. Now imagine opening the box and watching the table assemble itself. At MIT’s International Design Center, Self-Assembly Lab founder Skylar Tibbits, co-director Jared Laucks and their team are inventing smart materials […]

Podcast: Crystal Clear on Retail

These 2017 holiday shopping trends are driving the seismic shift in online purchasing.
Udayan Bose | NetElixir

Udayan Bose might be hiding a crystal ball somewhere. That’s because his projections of online holiday shopping are always the best in the business – almost too close to what actually happens. Ahead of Black Friday and the kickoff of retail’s busiest season, Longitudes sat down with Bose, founder and CEO of NetElixir, a search […]

The Business of Belonging

Belonging is a universal human need – it’s also a largely untapped business opportunity.
Kelly Mooney | IBM

Belonging has always been an essential ingredient in the business of brand building. This fundamental human need is increasingly on display as the fragile state of belonging in the world mounts. Less trust in institutions, economic divides, political partisanship and increased levels of isolation –  loneliness due in part, paradoxically, to near constant digital connectivity – have […]

Strategy Is a Hypothesis You Constantly Adjust

With today's best strategies, calling an audible is part of the design.
Amy C. Edmondson | Harvard Business Review

Paul J. Verdin | Harvard Business Review

The widely accepted view that strategy and execution are separable activities sets companies up for failure in a fast-paced world. In our research on strategic failure, we discovered a common pattern: What started as small gaps in execution spiraled into business failures when initial strategies were not altered based on new information provided by experience. […]

Working While Learning: Does the Past Signal the Future?

Gathering knowledge isn’t as important as how well you use that knowledge to drive performance.

There seems to be general consensus among most education and economic experts that a different approach to learning is needed – an approach that guarantees successful student performance in work and life rather than just knowledge gathering. There is also agreement that new learning models should enhance the performance of our students in such a way […]

4 Ways to Future-Proof Your Supply Chain

How can digitization improve the resiliency and sustainability of our supply chains?
Cliff Henson | HPE

Supply chains are facing the perfect storm of disruption – from radical transformations of industry to disasters like the extreme weather events recently felt across the world. For large and complex supply chains like HPE, digital technologies offer an opportunity to predict and manage this risk by future-proofing operations with increased visibility, agility and efficiency. At […]

Podcast: Navigating a New Renaissance

Globalization is at a crossroads. Which path will we choose?
Ian Goldin | University of Oxford

Ian Goldin believes we’re on the verge of a New Renaissance that will redefine how we live, how we work and how we interact with each other. The respected scholar and author of more than 20 books is an ardent defender of globalization, but he cautions that we must pursue a more inclusive global system. […]

The Quest for Perfection

What if “good enough” isn't good enough?
Jon Bowers | UPS

In his role as a driving instructor, Jon has a well-earned reputation for being strict. He wants his drivers to be obsessively perfect in every detail, large and small, because the cost of imperfection is massive for someone behind the wheel. With his TED@UPS talk, Jon says we don’t seek perfection because we’re too often […]

4 Ways to Build Military Precision Into Civilian Leadership

There are parallels to leading on the battlefield and in civilian life.
Stefano Trojani | World Economic Forum

I remember the words of the commanding officer of a French Foreign Legion regiment saying that leading human beings was a love story, a very tough one, since it was about sending the very same loved ones to war, and possibly to death. This was a dilemma I was presented with in April 2007, at […]

What Sensors Mean for Business, the Planet and Your Lungs

Business partnerships, when combined with scientific expertise, can turn raw data into action.
Aileen Nowlan | Environmental Defense Fund

A recent study from UPS and GreenBiz revealed that 95 percent of surveyed companies recognize the effect that urbanization – particularly air quality and traffic congestion – will have on business growth and sustainability. Why? Because poor air quality costs the global economy $225 billion every year in lost labor income, according to the World […]

Why Business in Asia is Changing

As the region continues to evolve, it's time to make way for a new generation of Asian entrepreneurs.

With the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam this week, it’s worth reflecting on just how much has changed since the first APEC meeting in 1989. The days of Asia’s “Tiger Economies” are fading into the rear-view mirror. While the rapid rise of Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea have largely […]