Wednesday 22 January 17:30 - 18:30

Lecture theatre 200, City and Guilds Building
Imperial College London
South Kensington Campus
SW7 2AZ

Registration
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How can business evolve from cause to remedy of social maladies?

Science & Technology

The lecture is free to attend and open to all, but registration is required in advance.

Please note that all children must be accompanied by an adult.

A drinks reception will follow the lecture in the concourse of the City and Guilds Building.

Abstract

There is, unfortunately, little doubt that the currently dominant form of business enterprise is one of the core sources of the multiple (tightly interconnected) crises plaguing the world today.  Whether we focus on environmental damages, including climate change, or the growth of inequity in the distribution of income, well-being and opportunities to flourish within and across countries, the role played by enterprises at the source of such maladies appears dominant. Let alone the dissolution of the moral fibre within the business sector itself, and the consequent disruption of trust in its capacity, as well as the motivation, to contribute to the balanced development of the quality of life on the planet.

On the other hand, there is no question that many companies, of all sizes, are seriously committed to innovate, experiment and learn to conduct business in radically different ways. In ways that are centred on the creation of (economic and human) value for a plurality of stakeholders: customers, employees, suppliers and local communities, in addition to investors.  The real challenge, and at the same time the exceptional opportunity, facing the world today lies in expanding, improving and diffusing these innovations and experimentations across sectors and countries, building infrastructures dedicated to sharing such experiences and accelerating the speed of learning and transformational change in the private sector across the world.

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Maurizio Zollo will share his vision on how this challenge can be tackled by individual companies as well as enlightened government and academic institutions. He will discuss the evidence supporting the case for transformational change in the role of business in society, and propose a radical collaborative agenda for business, government, academia and civil society to experiment, enhance and exponentially grow the adoption of human value creation as the core purpose in business enterprises. 

To this end, the Imperial College Business School is preparing to launch the Leonardo Centre to contribute to the development and execution of this global research and transformational agenda, leveraging an unparalleled combination of local and global, cross-disciplinary, scientific expertise, AI powered data on more than 5 million corporate sustainability initiatives, and innovative organizational experiments on stakeholder-centred governance arrangements, integrated sustainability, competitive and growth strategy, incentive and control systems, leadership development and cultural change approaches.

Launching and realizing this global “laboratory” to experiment and diffuse socially regenerative models of business is a tall order, indeed.  It can also be a critical tool to regenerate not only the quality of the natural environment, but also that of the social fabric and the consequent quality of life, for generations to come.

Biography

Maurizio Zollo is Professor of Strategy and Sustainability, Head of the Business School’s Department of Management and Scientific Director of the Leonardo Centre.

Maurizio’s research looks at how business organisations learn to grow and adapt to environmental turbulence, and how managers use strategic growth initiatives and organisational change, innovation and learning processes to guide this evolution. He focuses on the management of complex strategic initiatives, from M&A and partnerships to sustainability-oriented innovation and organisational change efforts. Maurizio directs two research programmes: GOLDEN (Global Organizational Learning and Development Network) for Impact and a programme on the neuroscience of innovation and sustainability decisions. Both programmes engage corporations in design and execution of field experiments focused on innovation- or sustainability-oriented organisational change challenges.

Before joining Imperial in 2019, Maurizio taught at Bocconi University and INSEAD. He is a Visiting Professor at the Sloan School of Management of MIT, with a similar position at Bocconi University. He holds a PhD in management from the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania and a laurea degree in monetary economics from Bocconi University. Before his academic career, he was a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co. and investment banker at Merrill Lynch in New York.

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