The keys to the success of MIT (Israel Ruiz, Vice President of MIT)

The keys to the success of MIT (Israel Ruiz, Vice President of MIT)

A key Spaniard in the United States is Israel Ruiz, executive vice president and treasurer of MIT (2.1 billion each year in budget and 11 billion dollars in endowments), promoter of edX, the MOOCs 'online' platform, obtained US citizenship two years ago. We identified 15 key days of MIT's methodology and success.

15 ideas Israel Ruiz (the keys to the methodology and success of MIT)

1. Take risk: "Risky bets define the future and make it ours"

2. Ambitious projects. Ambition. In Spanish, this word is frowned upon, but Spain, even being a small country, does not have to have small ideas, it can have ambitious ideas for the future ... They are ideas that cost, and here - they tell you things like "it is an American" , like dreaming too much.

3. National talent is not enough. International intellectual connectivity, export and talent attraction. We must decide in what we are going to be competitive internationally and it is not possible to compete in the global world only with Spanish talent. What you have to do is create the supporting structure and disciplinary connection, an intellectual connection. Export of Spanish talent. There are people with a lot of talent (in Spain), and one of the things that I value the most, even though it seems like I'm going against the current, is that people leave. The best thing that can happen to Spain is that it is understood that there are very good people.

4. In large organizations it is difficult to innovate. become aware and take smart action. Defender of the theory of Clayton Christensen - the father of disruptive innovation and author of The Innovator's Dilemma. Within a large structure it is difficult to innovate, we created a parallel company (Edex) that is not even in our building and that has grown from one person to 75 in 18 months. This growth factor is almost impossible in a large company, and our decision was to put resources aside.

5. Disruptive innovations: you have to reinvent yourself (even universities). There are about 4,000 universities in the United States, whose business model is more than likely broken with the advent of digital education. I see it very difficult that in 10 years there will continue to be so many.

6. Talent and desire to learn must be recognized. Spain is the fourth country in the world for edX users, after the United States, India and England. This reflects that there is a population that wants to learn things, and things that are good, and then that a large part of that population is unemployed and seeks to reconvert. And the universities here have not noticed.

7. Leadership yes, but with credibility. Credibility to lead changes. Where is the key to lead transformation processes? Leading change, or evolving, is never easy, and the first thing you need is for the people who are doing it to have credibility. … You can only make change if there is a vision, if that vision is understood and shared, and if there is also transparency.

8. Teams yes and no to me. You will hear very little of the word I at MIT. Even a Nobel Prize winner will first recognize his team, the environment. The role of the individual, being a genius, is what makes the difference, but the team without the environment would not have the same impact. And this is one of our secrets.

9 Talent selection is key: the chain to success in most organizations is broken in the selection of talent. I imagine a chain in which you are putting links and when one of them fails you go down. In a team you have to always try to find the best. It doesn't necessarily mean the smartest. What you realize is that when there is a person who breaks the chain, that person is not usually fired. Another is hired, a structure is put in place, but that person remains there.

10. Do not leave people inside who do not get on the bus. That issue is difficult to deal with at times and it is left to those people who are corrupting your team. That is why you have to start small and grow. The tendency we have as humans is that you are overwhelmed with work and need three people. Well, I take those three who take my work out. And it does not work. We, of the 50 who want to hire per year, if we do not find the right person, we leave the position vacant.

11. Discipline, work philosophy, governance structure and long-term vision.

  • These topics require a discipline, because either the team will work harder or we won't develop things that we would like. What we will not do is compromise on that commitment to quality.
  • There is a work philosophy. In many organizations, if the results do not come out, even if someone is doing very well, they charge it. This happens constantly at the company level and you need to have an environment that almost insulates you from short-term pressure.
  • For that you need long term vision.
  • At MIT I give a lot of credit to governance structure. When you are about to throw in the towel, trying to change the world, and they make your life impossible, that board of directors comes in and slaps you on the back and says "pull forward, we know it's difficult, but this It is the way". And this governance structure has helped a lot throughout its history.

12. Distinguish between leadership and management team. Not being a slave to the cycles (political or business) and their dysfunctions. MIT experience: a day-to-day management group, but there is constantly a management team thinking about the path to 10, 20 or 30 years. And a lot comes from the people who do the research, it doesn't come from top to bottom. You have to constantly think about the long term and you have to differentiate the two teams. Thinking about the day to day, the future is not defined. An independent but connected body must be created. An organism disconnected from reality does not work.

13. Concentrate resources. There must be a group with enough credibility and passion to say what are the five or six things we are going to focus resources on. Are these innovation spaces such as Cambridge (Harvard and MIT) or Silicon Valley (Stanford) replicable? To begin with, the answer is yes, but not 10 times in the same country. And less in a small-scale country.

14. Align political, business, university and social wills in the long term. We have collaborations in some places where the political, business, university and social systems agree that it is a matter of the country and the future, and if these forces are aligned, it can work. We have projects in Russia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, even in Portugal, and we believe that the replicability of our environment is very long-term. What happens now is that politicians from any country come to you, visit the Media Lab and ask you: how do I do this in my country? Well, you don't have it tomorrow. If we talk to 20 years, maybe there is an opportunity. And then they disconnect. We do not have a machine to transfer innovation.

15. Focus on the future. From our point of view, digital technologies and education using those technologies tend to a Christensen-like model, that if someone executes it well, residential education still becomes a niche market. Another focus is nanotechnology and what it offers to life sciences, to biology, to physics. This is another very important area of ​​investment. And the third thing is to try to contribute to medicine, health, to further improve human health. With components of access to food, access to water, disease. In the coming years we will launch initiatives in these fields.

Taken from the interview with Israel Ruiz in the newspaper El País

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