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Rotman Professor Ajay Agrawal Named to the Order of Canada

Toronto – Ajay Agrawal, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management was named today as a member of the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest honours. He was recognized for his contributions as a scholar, mentor, and entrepreneur to enhance Canada's productivity, competitiveness, and prosperity through innovation and entrepreneurship including his initiatives as the founder of the Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School and co-founder of Next Canada. 

Jamie Anderson, B’Com’76, was also named a member of the Order for his leadership in Canada’s investment banking sector, and for his far-reaching volunteer service in youth education and mental health. He is a member of the Rotman Dean’s Advisory Board and is currently a Senior Advisor at RBC Capital Markets. Prior to this role, he was Head of Corporate Strategy and Development of RBC, and Deputy Chair at RBC Capital Markets. He serves as Chair of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation Board of Directors and as a member of the CAMH Board of Trustees. He chairs the boards of the Charter for Business and Outward Bound Global and is past chair of the Loran Scholars Foundation—these charitable organizations offer opportunities to aboriginal youth, inner-city youth, young offenders, northern & rural youth, young people with disabilities, and young people of character who hold leadership promise.

They were two of 85 appointments to the Order, announced by Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada, on Wednesday including leaders in film, music, science, politics, business, academics, sport and culture.

Prof. Agrawal founded the CDL at the Rotman School in 2012. The CDL delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies. Its nine-month program allows founders to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, increasing their likelihood of success. Since its founding, the CDL has expanded to sites at five Canadian and seven international universities.   

Prof. Agrawal holds the Geoffrey Taber Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and is a professor of strategic management at the Rotman School. In addition, he is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA and Faculty Affiliate at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Toronto.  

In addition to founding the CDL, Prof. Agrawal is also a co-founder of Next Canada, a not-for-profit organization that delivers three programs, The Next 36, Next AI, and Next Founders, all designed to support the training and personal development of young entrepreneurs, many of whom are building companies predicated on machine intelligence. 

He is co-founder and co-chair of two annual conferences on machine intelligence: “Machine Learning and the Market for Intelligence” (applied), and "The NBER Economics of Artificial Intelligence Conference" (scholarly). 

Prof. Agrawal is a co-author of the best-selling book, Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence, published by Harvard Business Review Press with Rotman Profs. Avi Goldfarb and Joshua Gans. Their follow-up book, Power and Prediction: The Disruptive Economics of Artificial Intelligence, will be published in November. 

He is also co-author of a number of scholarly and popular press articles on the economics of machine intelligence. In 2017, The Globe and Mail named him to its “Power 50” list of the most influential Canadians in business.

The Order of Canada was created in 1967, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. To date, more than 7,600 people from all sectors of society across the country have been invested into the Order of Canada. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and have taken to heart the motto of the Order: DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM –“They desire a better country.” 

Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a non-profit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies. Its nine-month program allows founders to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, increasing their likelihood of success. Founded in 2012 by Prof. Agrawal at the Rotman School, the program has now expanded to twelve sites with locations in Oxford (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford), Paris (HEC Paris), Atlanta (Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology), Madison (Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Seattle (University of Washington, Foster School of Business), Berlin (European School of Management and Technology), Tartu (Delta Management School, University of Tartu), Vancouver (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia), Montreal (HEC Montréal), Calgary (Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary), and Halifax (Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University).

It now includes 20 streams: AgTech, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Climate, Commerce, Compute, Digital Society, Energy, FinTech, Health, Manufacturing, Matter, Neuro, Oceans, Prime (General Technology), Quantum, Risk, Space, Supply Chain, and Web3. The successful commercialization of cutting-edge science and technology achieved through the program has led to the creation of over $20 billion in equity value. CDL alumni companies include North (Waterloo), Atomwise (San Francisco), Kyndi (Palo Alto), Xanadu (Toronto), BenchSci (Toronto), Kheiron Medical (London), and Roadbotics (Pittsburgh).

The Rotman School of Management is part of the University of Toronto, a global centre of research and teaching excellence at the heart of Canada’s commercial capital. Rotman is a catalyst for transformative learning, insights and public engagement, bringing together diverse views and initiatives around a defining purpose: to create value for business and society. For more information, visit


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Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto