The 4th Option Junto
#62—Michael Schrage: Re-examining Human-Machine Collaborations

#62—Michael Schrage: Re-examining Human-Machine Collaborations

A research fellow with MIT Sloan School's Initiative on the Digital Economy, Michael Schrage’s research, writing and advisory work focuses on the ‘behavioral economics’ of models, prototypes and metrics as strategic resources for managing ‘innovation risk’ and opportunity.

He is author of award-winning The Innovator’s Hypothesis [MIT Press 2014], Who Do You Want Your Customers To Become? [Harvard Business Review Press 2012] and Serious Play [Harvard Business Review Press 2000].

His most recent MIT Press book, Recommendation Engines, was published Fall 2020 as part of its "Essential Knowledge" series. He runs design workshops and executive education programs on innovation, experimentation and ’strategic measurement' for global organizations.

Currently pioneering work in ‘selvesware’ technologies—he coined the word—Schrage’s design research looks to augment aspects, attributes and talents of productive individuals. Ongoing research efforts also examine the interplay of ’network effects’-driven innovation, such as recommender systems, and human capital creation for the enterprise. His work exploring the future of KPIs, digital ‘performance management’ dashboards and machine learning - in collaboration with Google, McKinsey, Deloitte and the Sloan Management Review – builds on that theme, i.e. what happens when 'essential metrics' become ’software agents.'

He is particularly interested in the future co-evolution of ‘expertise,’ ‘advice' and human ‘agency’ as technologies become ‘smarter’ than the people using them.

In this podcast, he shares:

  • How human-machine collaboration may evolve

  • Why we should be asking, “What customer do we serve?” or even, “What problem do we want to solve?” but more importantly, “Who do we want our customer to become?”

  • A powerful, simple, approach to activating greater innovation and experimentation throughout your organization


"What kind of selves do our innovations, our products, our services, our user experiences, our customer experiences, our client experiences, facilitate, enable and empower?

-Michael Schrage


  • Episode Timeline:

    00:00—Introducing Mark+ The topic of today’s episode

    1:59—If you really know me, you know that...

    3:09—What is your definition of strategy?

    3:45—What is a 5x5 experiment?

    6:48—You look at AI and predictability, how does it change the 80/20 strategy that so many strategists abide by?

    10:00—You wrote a book on the concept of what a customer becomes. Could you explain what you mean by this?

    12:23—Could you talk to us about the idea of how we all have multiple selves, and how as a strategist that plays a part?

    15:47—Do people follow algorithmic recommendations, and what happens with algorithms becomes smarter than us?

    18:16—Do you think these machines we've been talking about help us become better selves?

    20:12—How can people connect and follow you to keep learning from you?


Additional Resources:



Upcoming Book:

The 4th Option Junto
The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.