Book – HBR’s 10 Must-Reads 2019

hbr.pngHBR’s 10 Must-Reads seem to be part of holidays; it is thoughtful and entertaining.  The book format encourages to read not only articles which catch attention but also ones that seem less interesting and could be skipped on the website.  Very often, those “less interesting” articles happen to be the most insightful.

This year a couple of unexpected articles were particularly eye-opening (from my perspective 🙂 ).

Artificial Intelligence for the Real World puts in perspective the excitement generated around AI.  AI might be debated and discussed, but the practical applications may not yet be defined, or practical enough, or rather limited (based on my observation).  From another side, futurists are expecting AI to make a business impact somewhat similar to electricity.  As at one point of human history many known products became “electric,” many know products and processes are expected to become “smart” in the near future.  The article shows a practical route to the future “smart” world.

The Problem

Cognitive tecnologies are increasingly being used to solve business proglems, but many of the most ambitious AI projects encounter setbacks or fail.

The Approach

Companies should take an incremental rather than a transformative approach and focus on augmenting rather than replacing human capabilities.

Three types of AI:

  • Robotics process automation
    • “RPA is more advanced than earlier business-process automation tools, because the “robots” (that is, code on a server) act like a human inputting and consuming information from multiple IT systems.”
  • Cognitive insight
    • “This type of projects uses algorithms to detect patterns in vast volumes of data and interpret their meaning.”
  • Cognitive engagement
    • “Projects that engage employees and customers using natural language processing chatbots, intelligent agents, and machine learning.”

Interesting: based on the article, we are more likely to get an AI help in doing our jobs rather than to be replaced by AI, which is “smart enough” to do our jobs completely.


Why Do We Undervalue Competent Management?  explains the value of competent management for the organization and difficulties of copying this seemingly obvious approach.

Interesting: managers overestimate the quality of management in their companies.


Quality of management also varies across – and within – countries.  Below image represents US (blue) in comparison to worldwide (grey).


Wouldn’t it be nice to work for a company located on the right side of the chart?  🙂

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