Innovations like the printing press, the electric light and the steam engine were catalysts in transforming their respective eras, permanently altering people’s lives. Today, it’s not just about one innovation: successive waves of disruptive technologies are emerging, converging and evolving into a digital ecosystem that is redefining how we connect, communicate and take collective action.
Consider this: Since the year 2000, more than half of Fortune 500 companies have been wiped out, and many of those that remain are struggling to survive. Market expectations are evolving at such an astonishing rate that businesses simply can’t keep up. As a result, pursuing a transformation agenda is no longer optional; it is essential to survival.
In this issue of Rotman Management we will share practical tools, insights and inspiration to help leaders carry forward their own transformation agenda. We kick the issue off on page 6 with a case study in transformational leadership. In our interview with Rotman Dean Susan Christoffersen, she highlights key lessons learned about leading and innovating within a large enterprise.
In Welcome to the Biological Age on page 18, futurist Amy Web and microbiologist Andrew Hessel argue that we are in the midst of a great transformation of human life that will soon determine how we treat disease, nourish ourselves and fight climate change.
On page 24, Rotman Professor Andreas Park and Duke University Professor Campbell Harvey discuss the arrival of a financial framework that will increase inclusion, reduce consumer pain points and increase economic growth in The Future of Finance: A Historic Disruption Takes Hold.
Elsewhere in this issue, we feature renowned business transformation expert Behnam Tabrizi in our Thought Leader Interview on page 12; IDEO’s Sarah Stein Greenberg provides three tools for designing interactions, artifacts and environments on page 56; and starting on page 85, our Idea Exchange section features Harvard Kennedy School Professor Robert Livingston, success expert Ruth Gotian, Rotman faculty Sonia Kang, Sam Maglio, Avni Shah and more.
Change is nothing new. But this time around, the pace, scope and nature of the change we are experiencing differ markedly from any other period in our history. ‘New world DNA’ is being described as consisting of a series of transformations: from money to meaning; from income to outcome; from ego to eco; and from knowing to learning (and un-learning), to name a few.
The last two years have shown us that anything can happen. Contexts, challenges and circumstances can change in completely unanticipated ways. But leaders need to bear one certainty in mind as they chart a path to recovery: Transformation must be at the top of the agenda.
Karen Christensen, Editor in Chief
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