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Igniting Impact: Enhancing Business Practice and Research Through Greater Collaboration

March 5, 2020 - March 6, 2020

Focused on translating the UN Sustainable Development Goals into practical solutions to address global challenges, this conference will gather top thinkers from U-M and across the country to discuss and brainstorm ways for business and other disciplines to take responsibility for these goals.  

This event is co-sponsored by the Aspen Institute Business & Society program and Responsible Research in Business Management.



Sessions take place in the Tauber Colloquium, 6th floor, Michigan Ross School of Business
Thursday, March 5th

2:00 – 3:00 pm: Welcome & Opening Keynote

Welcome from Nancy McGaw, Aspen Business & Society Program, and Jerry Davis, Associate Dean for Business+Impact at Michigan Ross School of Business

Ach Adhvaryu and Anant Nyshadham, co-founders of Good Business Lab, and their corporate partners share their formula for using research to find a common ground between worker wellbeing and business interests

3:00 – 3:15 pm: Break

3:15 – 4:15 pm: Break Out Sessions

What are the big problems you are wrestling with now? How can research help guide the best path forward? Small mixed groups of academics and practitioners brainstorm about the compelling questions they are wrestling with in their work/ problems they are trying to solve, as well as questions that have animated their research.

4:15 – 4:30 pm: Break

4:30 – 5:30 pm: Plenary

Andrew Hoffman, Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, and Neil Hawkins, President of the Erb Family Foundation and former Chief Sustainability Officer of Dow, share how research and practice can connect most effectively, drawing on participant input

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Cocktails

6:30 – 8:00 pm: Dinner & Keynote Panel

“What’s next in the gig economy: how Uberization is changing the way you will think about how you work”

“Uberization” is re-shaping labor markets around the world, creating greater convenience for consumers but greater precarity for workers. What does the latest research tell us about how to take on this dilemma? What new business opportunities are being created?

Carl Camden, founder and president, IPSE.US (The Association of Independent Workers) and former CEO, Kelly Services; Lindsey Cameron, Professor of Management, Wharton School; Hollie Hiekkinen, CEO and Founder, iWorker Innovations; Mike Bishop, former US Congressional Representative

Friday, March 6

8:00 am: Breakfast

8:45 – 9:45 am: Plenary

“What’s next in talent: intrapreneurship, employee activism, and the new deal at work”

Social intrapreneurs have become a movement in the corporate world, using the platform of business to help solve complex and often systematic social problems. More recently, employees in tech and beyond are joining together to pressure their companies to take on more overtly political agendas. Why is this happening now, and what comes next? What can companies do to navigate this fraught terrain?

Kevin Thompson, General Manager, GOOD Worldwide; Jerry Davis, Associate Dean for Business+Impact at Michigan Ross

9:45 – 10:00 am: Break

10:00 – 11:00 am: Choose Your Own Adventure Breakout Sessions

In these sessions, award-winning researchers are paired with business executives to lead dialogues on pressing problems and evidence-based solutions

Sustainable Supply Chains: Katrin Giljens (U of North Carolina) – Some suppliers are more effective than others at meeting (or resisting) demands from big buyers. Find out why.

Precarious Labor: Carrie Leana (U of Pittsburgh) – Precarious wages strain people’s souls and also put organizations at risk. Evidence from the trucking industry, healthcare, and elsewhere.

Finance for Good: Emmanuel Kypraios (Maynooth U) – The models that underlie “catastrophe bonds” are surprisingly bad at predicting the financial consequences of extreme events. What lessons does this provide for using finance to achieve social goods?

11:00 – 11:30 am: Break

11:30 – 12:30 pm: Choose Your Own Adventure Breakout Sessions

In these sessions, award-winning researchers are paired with business executives to lead dialogues on pressing problems and evidence-based solutions

Lean Production and Labor: Gregory Disetlhorst (U of Toronto) – Does implementing lean production also improve things for labor? Some yes, some no.

Gigs and Better Jobs: Lindsey Cameron (Wharton School, U of Pennsylvania) – The gig economy, a labor market that relies on algorithms to facilitate short-term work assignments, has changed how we think of work. In this session, we will discuss some of the benefits and challenges of being a gig worker — namely, what makes this a “good bad” job.

Reducing your Carbon Footprint: John Byrd (U of Colorado, Denver) – Internal carbon pricing by corporations: evidence about how companies are using financial tools to prepare for climate change.

12:30 – 1:30 pm: Lunch & Keynote

1:45 – 2:45 pm: Plenary

“What’s next in China: doing business in China during turbulent times”

The ongoing trade war has created uncertainty about the potential risks and opportunities of doing business in China. What are leading companies experiencing, and what can the latest research tell us about what comes next?

Doug Guthrie, Apple; Christopher Marquis, SC Johnson Professor of Management, Cornell University; Xun (Brian) Wu, Professor of Strategy, Michigan Ross

2:45 – 3:00 pm: Final Reflections & Goodbyes


Ross School of Business
701 Tappan Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 United States
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