The Choice II Reconvenes U-M’s Best and Brightest to Consider Methods and Modes for Impact Decisionmaking

Business+Impact again brought together U-M scholars on Fri, Dec. 13, 2019 to ponder  how society should make choices that will influence and contribute to a society’s or organization’s ability to flourish.

Featured participants included Tom Malone, former CEO of Summa, and Scott E. Page of the University of Michigan.


Detailed Agenda from the Event

Opening Remarks

The Five Pure Types: A Gathering of Experts
Our day begins with talks by five brilliant Michigan faculty from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and methodological approaches.  Each will provide a working introduction to one of the five institutional forms. How is it defined? When does this institution work well? When doesn’t it? In which allocative and decision-making domains do we see this institution? What spillovers does the institution produce?

  • Markets: Betsey Stevenson (Ford School) (Watch Video)
  • Hierarchies:  Elizabeth Popp Berman (Organizational Studies) (Watch Video)
  • Democracies: Lisa Disch (Political Science) (Watch Video)
  • Communities: Rebecca Hardin (SEAS) (Watch Video)
  • Algorithms: Paul Resnick (Information) (Watch Video)

Keynote: Tom Malone (Watch Video)
In his recent book, SuperMinds, Tom Malone describes how technology increases the potential efficacy and power of humans interacting through institutions. Technology, sometimes in the form of algorithms and often through improved production and allocation of knowledge and information, improves democracies, hierarchies, markets, and self-organized communities.

Dyads: Real World Choices
In The Vanishing American Corporation, Jerry Davis demonstrates how technological advances have led to more market-based transactions and fewer formal organizations (hierarchies) and how that trend has produced a variety of spillovers. Here, we bring in a collection of experts to discuss other dyadic variants of The Choice that occur in the real world.

Spillovers, Flourishing, and Context
The Choice framing emphasizes spillovers across institutions. In this panel, Scott Page (UM-Ross) (Watch Video) will provide some general framing on the types of spillovers that might arise as well as describe a potential taxonomy of spillovers to structure the afternoon’s charrette.

  • Jenna Bednar (Political Science) will propose human flourishing (rather than GDP) as the aim of society and frame The Choice within this broader objective. (Watch Video)
  • Oscar Ybarra (Psychology) will describe evidence for psychological spillovers. (Watch Video)
  • Last, Jerry Davis (UM-Ross) will show how context matters by taking a deep cross-national dive in Uber. Why does Swedish Uber not resemble the US version and how did Uber thrive in India? (Watch Video)

A Deep Dive: The Legal Choice  (Watch Video)
Orly Lobel (Univ. of San Diego Law) and JJ Prescott (UM Law) take a deep dive into how new technology disrupts settled normative regulation choices, and how policymakers should think about leveraging choices to support emerging platform markets, algorithmic capacities, and a changing labor market. 

Micro-Charette: Gigs!
In this session, we will break into small groups to consider the direct and spillover effects of the gig economy. How would we measure spillovers from gig work? How do gig jobs impede and enable flourishing? In what contexts should we encourage or prevent gig employment?

Closings and Openings
We end the day with closing (summary) and opening (new directions for research) thoughts by some key participants. Among our speakers

2019 Global Operations Conference


OPERATIONS 2030: The Next Evolution of Technology, Sustainability, Supply Chain, and Customer Behavior

The Tauber Institute for Global Operations hosts the must-attend operations event of the year — Tauber’s Global Operations Conference, GOC.

The combination of global leaders in industry with top-ranked business and engineering faculty, GOC reflects the unparalleled resources the Tauber Institute offers today and symbolizes our unwavering commitment to the next generation of Operations leaders.

Experience two days where you will:

  • Learn from award winning faculty from both the College of Engineering and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business as well as leading experts in operations today.
  • Discover forward-thinking panels discussing real world strategies implemented to maximize and transform operations.
  • Hear dynamic speakers and well respected industry experts.
  • Network with leading, emerging and future operations leaders.

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Lecture: Coalescing diverse teams of biologists to explore and predict the response of biological systems to global change across space and time

Aimée Classen, PhD

Professor, Director, Aiken Forest Sciences Laboratory Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources

Biography: Aimée Classen leads an interdisciplinary and international group of researchers who use a combination of theory, observations, experiments, and models to answer ecological and global change questions. Classen is a Professor and Gund Fellow at the University of Vermont and the Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monographs. She serves on the boards of the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO) and the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab (RMBL).

Abstract: Global change is the greatest applied problem society faces and to solve this complex environmental problem we need to assimilate information from disparate disciplines into a central framework. This sort of problem-solving needs diverse teams who have a unified vision and who can communicate with one another with a common language. Using examples from our research group, I will discuss what I see as some of the major hurdles in global change biology, how we have built teams to move those hurdles, and how I would lead the Institute Global Change Biology at the University of Michigan to transform our approach to global change biology.

Sustainable Systems Forum: Women in Energy

A panel of alumnae share insights from their careers in the energy space. Participants include: Allison Clements, Energy Foundation, Program Director, Clean Energy Markets; Kerry Duggan (MS ’06), RIDGE-LANE merchant bank urban development; Kate Elliot (MS/MBA ’08), Tesla, Regional Manager of Charging; Trisha Miller (BA ’01), Bill Gates Energy Breakthrough Fund, Senior Director of Advocacy & Government Relations; and Shoshannah Lenski (MS ’01), Director of Productivity & Work Standards for DTE Gas.

NI19: Widening the Lens

When was the last time you gathered under one roof with 1,500 people who care just as deeply as you do about social impact?

At NI19, you will:

  • Connect to changemakers, innovators, sustainability leaders, activists, influencers, students and companies.

  • Be inspired to tackle today’s biggest challenges.

  • Learn how to make an impact from where you are.

Register Here!

The Community of Food, Society, and Justice Conference

Free and open to all students, faculty, staff, and the public (registration required)

The ways that we meet the nutritional needs of our communities, while also protecting the planet, promoting healthy lives, and ensuring food justice are among the  greatest challenges facing our Nation and the world today. Centuries of unsustainable agricultural practices and inequitable food distribution place our food systems in peril. How to address these challenges and feed a hungry population raise transformative issues for our communities and academics committed to sustainability and food justice throughout the world.

Learn More Here

RSVP Required*

Business for Sustainability: Decision-Making for Positive Impact

GoTo Webinar

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the Erb Institute are proud to present this discussion with Dr. Joe Arvai on decision-making for the triple bottom line. Join us to learn more about the role of decision-making in business sustainability. 

Dr. Joe Árvai is the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the School for Environment and Sustainability, and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He is also the Director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. Dr. Arvai is an internationally respected expert in the risk and decisions sciences, and he is a frequent advisor to governments, government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector.

His research includes decision making for the triple bottom line, improving climate risk management choices, and consumers’ acceptance of input and recommendations from artificial intelligence. 

Join us for this thought-provoking discussion!


Recommended Audiences:
Full-Time MBA Students – Prospective

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Monthly Meeting

Worried about climate change? Wondering how you can make a real difference? Come to the monthly meeting of the Ann Arbor chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). CCL is a national, grassroots organization working to enact federal legislation to put a price on CO2. It is the most focused and influential organization working on national climate policy. We are working to build support for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act ( This comprehensive, bipartisan legislation is projected to reduce our carbon emissions by at least 40% in 12 years. Our meetings consist of dialing in to a national conference call (featuring different guest speakers each month), followed by local discussion of actions. Newcomers are welcome to come at 12:30 for a brief overview.

“Every Sector is Public Health Sector”: Building Capacity to Address Environmental Health Inequities Free Lecture / Discussion

Dr. Sampson will discuss three examples of capacity-building to build and translate evidence, including:
1) a youth environmental health academy in Dearborn, MI;
2) a health impact assessment for the Gordie Howe International Bridge at the Detroit-Windsor border;
3) her work with APHA to convene environmental health and justice leaders—all to advance evidence-based policies that address environmental health inequities.

Natalie Sampson is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at UM-Dearborn, where she teaches courses in environmental health, health promotion, and community organizing. Grounded primarily in Southeast Michigan, she studies transportation and land use planning, green stormwater infrastructure, vacant land reuse, and climate change planning efforts, particularly their implications for health. She applies participatory research approaches with diverse partners using a broad methodological toolkit, including photovoice, concept mapping, and health impact assessment. In 2017, Sampson received the American Public Health Association (APHA)’s Rebecca Head Award, which recognizes “an outstanding emerging leader from the environmental field working at the nexus of science, policy, and environmental justice.”