Ross Colloquium Guest Lecture by Mike Lenox - "Will Business Save the Earth? "

Friday, December 09, 2016
10:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Ross Business School Room R0230, 701 Tappan Street, Ann Arbor MI 48109

Ross Colloquium hosts Mike Lenox from the Darden UVA School of Business for a talk titled" Will Business Save the Earth?  The Potential and Limits of Innovating our Way to Sustainability"


Will business save the earth? This question is nonsensical to many. Business, and in particular “big business”, is viewed as a source of – not the solution to – the critical environmental challenges we face. But at the end of the day, these challenges can only be resolved if the active attention of business is engaged as a critical institutional player that is part of the solution. But, will business rise to the challenge? There are no easy fixes, as these challenges are complex and interdependent. In recent years, business has stepped up. However, the innovation imperative suggests that what is needed are not incremental changes, but disruptive innovation that upend the status quo. Ultimately, the extent to which businesses will innovate disruptive, sustainable technologies is determined by a complex interplay between markets and various institutional actors: investors who see market opportunities in sustainable technologies, customers who demand green goods and services, activists who pressure business to invest in green innovation, and governments who incentivize new technologies through regulation, taxes, and other policy levers. Each of these players influence the degree to which businesses invest in saving the earth.

About the Speaker

Professor Lenox was appointed to the Tayloe Murphy Professorship in Business Administration at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, where he teaches the core MBA strategy course. He also serves as the Senior Associate Dean and Chief Strategy Officer. From 2008 to 2016, he served as Associate Dean of Innovation Programs and Academic Director of Darden's Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He helped found and served as the inaugural president of the multiple-university Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability. Prior to joining Darden in 2008, Professor Lenox was a professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business where he served as the area coordinator for Fuqua's Strategy Area and the faculty director and founder of Duke's Corporate Sustainability Initiative. He received his Ph.D. in Technology Management and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999 and the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia. Professor Lenox has served as an assistant professor at New York University's Stern School of Business and as a visiting professor at Stanford University, Harvard University, Oxford University, and IMD.

Professor Lenox's research has appeared in over twenty-five refereed academic publications and has been cited in a number of media outlets including the New York Times, the Financial Times, and the Economist. In 2009, he was recognized as a Faculty Pioneer by the Aspen Institute and as the top strategy professor under 40 by the Strategic Management Society. In 2011, he was named one of the top 40 business professors under 40 by Poets & Quants. Professor Lenox's primary expertise is in the domain of technology strategy and policy. He is broadly interested in the role of innovation and entrepreneurship for economic growth and firm competitive success. In particular, he explores the business strategy and public policy drivers of the direction of innovative activity. Professor Lenox also has a long-standing interest in the interface between business strategy and public policy as it relates to the natural environment. Recent work explores firm strategies and non-traditional public policies that have the potential to drive "green" innovation and entrepreneurship.