The Dis­rup­tive Is­sue II

Rotman Management Magazine - - FROM THE EDITOR - Karen Chris­tensen, Ed­i­tor-in-chief ed­i­[email protected]­man.utoronto.ca Twit­ter: @Rot­man­mgmt­mag

con­sider this: Most ex­perts agree WHILE IT MIGHT SEEM IM­POS­SI­BLE, that the speed of change that we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing to­day is ac­tu­ally the slow­est it will be in our life­time. Ob­vi­ously, or­ga­ni­za­tions of all shapes and sizes are feel­ing the ef­fects. And yet, in a re­cent EY study, only 50 per cent of global CEOS said they feel pre­pared to take ad­van­tage of dis­rup­tive change.

The good news is that dis­rup­tion is not some mys­te­ri­ous, ran­dom or un­pre­dictable event. By tak­ing steps to un­der­stand how it is cur­rently af­fect­ing an in­dus­try — and how it might af­fect it in the fu­ture — com­pa­nies can avoid the fates of Ko­dak, Block­buster and so many oth­ers.

Our first is­sue on dis­rup­tive in­no­va­tion was pub­lished in fall 2016, and not sur­pris­ingly, much has changed since then. In this is­sue we will once again put dis­rup­tion in the spot­light and ex­am­ine the strate­gies and mind­sets of the most suc­cess­ful in­no­va­tors, dis­rupters and en­trepreneurs. We kick things off on page 6 with Ex­plor­ing the Im­pact of AI, where Cre­ative De­struc­tion Lab Chief Econ­o­mist Joshua Gans ar­gues that AI works best when your ob­jec­tive is ob­vi­ous. When an ob­jec­tive is dif­fi­cult to de­scribe, there is still no sub­sti­tute for hu­man judg­ment.

What are the core as­sump­tions that un­der­pin your cur­rent strat­egy? What types of dis­rup­tions are you likely to face? Are you even in the right busi­ness? Ques­tions mat­ter more than ever. On page 18, MIT’S Hal Gregersen shows that Be­hind Ev­ery Break­through is a Bet­ter Ques­tion.

Will au­to­matic ve­hi­cles (AVS) im­prove so­cial wel­fare or cre­ate un­prece­dented con­ges­tion? The jury is still out. On page 24, Rot­man pro­fes­sors Opher Baron and Oded Ber­man dis­cuss The Eco­nomics of Au­ton­o­mous Ve­hi­cles.

Else­where in this is­sue, we fea­ture in­no­va­tion ex­pert Rita Mcgrath in our Thought Leader In­ter­view on page 12; and in our Idea Ex­change, Alibaba’s head of strat­egy Ming Zeng ex­plains what it takes to be a ‘smart busi­ness’ on page 92; Gallup’s Sangeeta Badal de­scribes how to be­come a ‘builder’ on page 103; Har­vard’s Francesca Gino shows why it pays to break the rules on page 134; and Rot­man pro­fes­sors Angèle Beau­soleil, Al­berto Galasso, Brian Keng and David Dunne dis­cuss their lat­est work.

This past Oc­to­ber, the Gov­ern­ment of Canada an­nounced a $25 mil­lion in­vest­ment in the Cre­ative De­struc­tion Lab (CDL), a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion based at the Rot­man School of Man­age­ment. Headed up by Ajay Agrawal, the Ge­of­frey Taber Chair in En­trepreneur­ship and In­no­va­tion, CDL op­er­ates across six lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing sites at the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia and New York Univer­sity, merg­ing science-based projects with busi­ness ex­per­tise to help young com­pa­nies scale up into cre­ators of new jobs, pro­cesses and ser­vices.

In his an­nounce­ment of the in­vest­ment, Min­is­ter of In­no­va­tion, Science and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Navdeep Bains said that CDL “prom­ises to un­leash a new wave of start-up in­no­va­tion across Canada, cre­at­ing thou­sands of mid­dle-class jobs and fur­ther se­cur­ing Canada’s po­si­tion as a world leader in the AI field.” This fund­ing will fa­cil­i­tate CDL supporting busi­ness ven­tures that har­ness emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies such as AI, clean tech, en­ergy, health, smart ci­ties and space and quan­tum tech­nolo­gies.

Amidst all of the dis­rup­tion tak­ing place at the Rot­man School and else­where, one thing re­mains con­stant: Com­mit­ting our­selves to con­tin­u­ous, life­long learn­ing is the best way to keep up with ac­cel­er­at­ing change — both in life and in busi­ness. We hope this is­sue con­trib­utes to your dis­rup­tive learn­ing jour­ney.

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