By Topic

Asset Management

The broad themes of this colloquium grow out of the challenges of institutional investment management in the present financial environment. The scale and scope of investment opportunities has greatly expanded in this era of rapid global growth, as have the choices investors must make given today's vast array of hedge fund and private equity offerings. There are new asset classes, as well as new financial instruments and techniques, which investors can use to tailor portfolio exposures and manage risk. This, in turn, has changed how risks are being intermediated and shared. Meanwhile, industry demand for talent is at an extreme, and traditional investment firms and Wall Street are today at a disadvantage in competing in this labor market.

The colloquium will use a mix of presentations, case discussions, and practitioner panels to explore a range of topics, including:

  • The current state of the industry: What are the factors that affect the industry as a whole? How are various players responding to the inherent challenges and opportunities?
  • The current state of the capital markets: What role do hedge funds and private equity firms play as the new financial intermediaries? What are the new drivers of liquidity shocks? Which systemic and other risks are being mitigated in today's global financial system—and which are being exacerbated?
  • Human capital: How should firms attract and retain talent? How has capital mobility and widespread use of performance-related compensation changed the opportunities for wealth creation for investment management executives?
  • The Future: What will the capital markets and the investment industry look like in ten years?

Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations of the Future

Teresa Amabile and Mukti Khaire

Creativity is doing something novel and appropriate—something that's different in its context, but potentially valuable.

Entrepreneurship is opportunity-focused management—in other words, perceiving and seizing opportunities that others miss—which requires creativity in a wide range of activities.

Without a doubt, organizations of the future will have to become more entrepreneurial, and more creative, if they are to succeed. The aim of this colloquium is to illuminate and deepen the connections between creativity, entrepreneurship, and successful organizations of the future.

The colloquium will open with a panel discussion among business leaders Scott Cook (Founder, Intuit), Mark Fishman, MD (President, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research), Kim Malone Scott (Director, AdSense, Google) and Diego Rodriguez (IDEO; Instructor, Stanford). Like all sessions, this will include open discussion among the audience and panelists.

The remainder of the colloquium will consist of keynote addresses by scholars, interspersed with presentations on cutting-edge research. The current keynote list includes Jim March (Stanford), Howard Gardner (Harvard Education School), and Amy Edmondson (HBS). The afternoon of the second day will start with a panel of researchers commenting on the "big picture" that has emerged from the conference (Bob Sutton (Stanford); Bob Litan (Kauffman Foundation); Fiona Murray (MIT); and Teresa Amabile (HBS)). The colloquium will end with an agenda-setting discussion among all participants. That discussion will focus on research needed in the coming years to address the "burning questions" that the opening panel posed, as well as other important issues that have emerged.

Read a Q&A summary with Mukti Khaire.

Read the faculty summary report on HBS Working Knowledge.


The Future of Market Capitalism (login required)

Joe Bower, Dutch Leonard, David Moss and Lynn Paine

The past half-century has been characterized by a rapidly expanding global economy—an expansion that many attribute to the lowering of trade barriers on a worldwide basis, and the concurrent spread of capitalism around the world.

In fact, market systems are spreading everywhere. But as it turns out, a lot of those newly-minted capitalists are communists. What should we infer from that fact? Does global progress happen because of capitalism, or despite it?

This central question begs other questions. Why do corporate scandals seem to crop up more and more often, and on a grander scale? Why is wealth distribution becoming more skewed—even in wealthy countries? Why are whole countries failing? What kind of environmental legacy are we leaving to future generations?

These questions tend to generate a great deal of political heat, but not much progressive action. Behind them lie important problems, though, that—if left unaddressed—can derail future progress. So what can business leaders do to address these problems, and maintain global capitalism as an engine of progress? What is the action agenda?

The colloquium co-chairs have been meeting with intimate groups of business leaders around the world to discuss these questions—first in Europe, then Asia, then Latin America, and finally the U.S. Out of these meetings have grown a set of powerful ideas for both diagnosis and action, which not only will serve as the jumping-off point for the June colloquium, and but also will help inform the Business Summit on the HBS campus in October.

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The Future of MBA Education

Srikant Datar and David Garvin

Pundits and politicians either celebrate or decry them.  College graduates, in ever-increasing numbers, pursue them.  Universities continue to offer them, in an increasing (even bewildering) variety of forms.

But do we truly understand the strengths and weaknesses of the current array of MBA programs?  Do we know what MBA education should look like in the future? 

This colloquium, aimed at both the wider business education community and at the HBS faculty, will unfold in three parts over the next year:

  • focused research to generate a series of case studies, white papers, and discussion pieces;
  • a first-round meeting in March 2008 that will include business school deans and business leaders, and will generate preliminary responses to the researchers’ initial findings; and
  • a two-day meeting in May 2008 for the entire HBS faculty to discuss, in small and large groups, the assorted cases, white papers, and think pieces and their implications for the School. 

Research for the case studies and white papers, including interviews with deans at business schools worldwide as well as interviews with a broad array of recruiters and business executives, has been underway for several months. Case studies are being developed on six institutions, each representing an important trend in MBA education – for example, the increasing attention to globalization (INSEAD), the desire for more integration of topics and functions (Yale), and the shift to more customized courses tailored to levels of student expertise (Stanford).The results will be used to 1) help map the current offerings of MBA programs at different schools, 2) understand the challenges and opportunities facing business schools today, and 3) identify cutting edge practices that hold promise for the future.

Through this process, we will develop a detailed taxonomy of graduate business education, synthesize the current critiques of business education, and explore curriculum reforms at both university-based business schools and in other kinds of educational institutions (e.g. GE’s Crotonville and the Center for Creative Leadership).

Colloquium presenters, panelists, and attendees will be determined as the colloquium-planning process continues.

The Future of Social Enterprise

The Future of Social Enterprise Centennial Colloquium will examine major, cross-cutting themes surrounding the future of social enterprise.  Key elements of the colloquium will include:

  • Interactive sessions focused on the following topic areas:
    1. Implications of social enterprise funding trends.
      This session will explore the potential implications for the sector given the qualitative change in traditional sources of funds (e.g. foundations as venture philanthropists) as well as new and emerging sources (e.g. intergenerational transfer of wealth and new corporate funding mechanisms).
    2. Capacity building within and across organizations.
      This session will focus on new ways to leverage capacity and enable innovation. Models of aggressive growth (of talent) from within, scaleable partnership models for building capacity, and innovative models enabled by intermediaries are among those that will be addressed.
    3. Strategies for achieving impact at scale.
      This session will focus on generalizeable approaches toward designing, scaling, measuring, and sustaining high performing social enterprises.
  • A closing session designed to integrate the themes from the colloquium and the implications for individual, organizational, and sectoral activities going forward.

Global Change in the Built Environment

HBS & Healthcare: Past, Present & Future

The Intellectual History of The Harvard Business School: Six Case Studies

Richard S. Tedlow

The Harvard Business School has generated some of the most important ideas in the history of business administration. The goal of this colloquium is to explore how those ideas were developed and disseminated and to speculate on where the great ideas of the future may come from. This colloquium is designed for HBS faculty.

Specifically, the colloquium will:

  • Explore how seminal ideas have been created, developed, and refined at HBS during the past century;
  • Illustrate the variety of ways in which those ideas have influenced students, the business world, and the academy; and
  • Inspire the faculty—and encourage future innovation—by showing the mechanisms through which these great ideas have been developed.

The colloquium will center on a series of panel discussions focused on areas in which HBS faculty members have made key contributions, including: entrepreneurship, accounting and management, values/ethics, organizational behavior, and strategy. 

In addition, faculty presenters will describe a series of “starbursts”—i.e., the work of outstanding individual faculty members from recent decades.

Read the faculty summary report on HBS Working Knowledge.

Leading Organizational Transformation

Clay Christensen

How are organizations transformed? What is the role of individual leaders in such a transformation?

Participants in this conference will review the major streams of research on organizational transformation. They will hear and respond to presentations by the "founding" scholars of each of these streams, in which they'll reflect on how significant bodies of understanding have been built on the foundational research they put into place. They will hear candid assessments from corporate executives who have attempted to bring this scholarship to bear on their own organizational-transformation efforts.

Topics likely to be covered include:

  • The empirical research and models that pertain to organizational ecology
  • Matching the dynamics of internal and external ecologies
  • Other research streams and synthesis
  • Impact of population ecology on the practice of venture capital
  • Practitioner's perspective: Can organizations be transformed
  • Overarching principles of managing transformation
  • Critical dimensions that are not yet fully understood

The presenters and speakers will include, among others: Glenn Carroll, Stanford GSB; Robert Burgelman, Stanford GSB; Michael Tushman, HBS; Dan Levinthal, Wharton; Antonio Perez, CEO, Kodak; Michael Mauboussin, Legg Mason Capital Management; Robert Whitman, CEO, Franklin Covey, Inc.; Dr. Brent James, Intermountain Healthcare; and Alex d'Arbeloff, chair of MIT's board of trustees and former chairman, Teradyne Inc.

Leadership: Advancing an Intellectual Discipline

Rakesh Khurana and Nitin Nohria

By most accounts, the need for corporate leadership has never been greater. Schools of management have taken note, undertaking new leadership studies and presenting a diverse range of leadership-related course offerings to their students.

And yet, many observers see a misalignment between the fundamental mission of business schools—to educate organizational leaders—and the current state of research on leadership. How has that misalignment arisen? What can be done about it?

This colloquium brings together scholars from a range of disciplines, thoughtful practitioners, and observers of leadership. Collectively, they will take stock of current leadership-related scholarship. Based on that assessment, they will attempt to set a future agenda that is coherent and compelling, and can help place the field on a firm academic footing. Anticipated discussion topics will include:

  • Leadership in the 21st century: evolving challenges and opportunities
  • The state of leadership theory and practice
  • Perspectives from the disciplines, and the challenge of integrating disciplinary perspectives into an actionable leadership-education agenda
  • The essence and variety of the complex, global "leadership ecology"
  • The work of a leader
  • Enacting leadership
  • Competencies and identity
  • Developing leaders
  • Leadership as a vocation

The principal commentators at the conference will include, among others: Jennifer Chatman, UC-Berkeley; Manfred de Vries, INSEAD; Ronald Heifitz, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Ronald Burt, University of Chicago GSB; Mauro Guillen, Wharton; Paul DiMaggio, Princeton; Walter Friedman HBS; Marianne Bertrand, University of Chicago GSB; Gary Becker, University of Chicago GSB; Julio Rotemberg, HBS; Lawrence Summers, Harvard University; Joseph Nye, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Mary Ann Glynn, Boston College Carroll School; David Thomas, HBS; Michael Porter, Harvard University; Michael Useem, Wharton; Jay Conger, Claremont McKenna College; Scott Snook, HBS; and F. Warren McFarlan, HBS.

Managing Talent: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice

Linda Hill and Boris Groysberg

In recent years, much has been written about the "talent wars." Observers have noted that the 500 largest companies in the U.S. will lose as many as 50 percent of their senior managers within the next five years. A Society of Human Resource Management study suggests that more than four out of five workers will be looking for a new job in the near future. And yet, according to a recent Harvard Business Review article, almost half of the U.S. companies studied have no succession plans for VPs and above. Only a fourth of those companies had talent pipelines that extend at least three managerial levels below the C-level.

Clearly, there is a gap between theory and practice.

Participants in this colloquium will focus on the critical management challenge in the global economy in the 21st century: talent management. Although the colloquium agenda will be based largely on interviews currently being conducted with CEOs and C-level executives across the globe—regarding the key challenges and opportunities they face in recruiting, developing, retaining, rewarding, and deploying top talent—topics are likely to include such questions as:

  • How have globalization, changing demographics, and new technology influenced talent-management practices at leading-edge companies?
  • Where will future senior leadership talent come from?
  • What innovative processes and technologies have companies developed to support their talent management strategy?

Colloquium presenters, panelists, and attendees will be determined as planning continues.

Managing in a Global Era

Tarun Khanna and Richard Vietor

“Globalization” has inspired both passionate advocates and detractors, in recent years. But almost no one involved in the globalization debates disagrees that we have embarked upon new waters—or that globalization places unprecedented demands on managers.

Where are the best practices in global management to be found? To what extent are they applicable to enterprises worldwide? What are the obstacles to successful global management?

This colloquium will center on a series of presentations by faculty “pairs,” with practitioners or academics serving as discussants for each session. The pairs will consist of 1) a faculty member who will present the “macro” perspective on a given issue, and 2) a presenter with a more “micro” perspective. This structure is intended to foster collaboration and innovation in advance of the conference, and also to spark discussion among conference participants.

Prior to the colloquium, a series of working seminars will take place at lunches throughout the academic year. Topics to be discussed will include:

  • alternative wind energy
  • foreign direct investment
  • Russian energy in Europe and China
  • political risk and direct foreign investment
  • outsourcing and offshoring of services
  • responses to global climate change

In addition to the faculty chairs, HBS faculty members participating in the colloquium are Rawi Abdelal, Laura Alfaro, Mihir Desai, C. Fritz Foley, Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Andre Perold, Forest Reinhardt and Jordan Siegel. Conference presenters, panelists, and attendees will be determined as planning continues.

Private Equity

Read more from New Business Spring 2007

Science-Based Business and the Business of Science

Kent Bowen

Many of the most important advances in business—and by extension, the economy—are the result of the successful commercialization of a scientific discovery. This argues for an exploration of what might be called the “business of science,” and for a systematic approach to understanding how scientific discoveries make their way from the lab bench to the marketplace.

This colloquium brings together academics, HBS alumni, and practitioners (both from the private and public sectors) with junior and senior faculty from Harvard’s schools of medicine, business, engineering, and science. Its three goals are to:

  • Better understand the business of science and science commercialization, including the respective roles of laboratories, universities, government, and corporations
  • Create avenues for cross-school collaboration
  • Generate a framework that can help HBS lead in science-based business teaching and research.

The Program Steering Committee will include Venkatesh Narayanamurti (dean of Harvard’s recently created School of Engineering and Applied Sciences) and HBS faculty members Kent Bowen, Gary Pisano, Vicki Sato, and Willy Shih. Speakers and panelists will include HBS and Harvard faculty (e.g. Gary Pisano, Dale Jorgenson, George Whitesides, Jeff Flier, and Doug Melton), scholars from other universities and business leaders (e.g. Dan Vasella of Novartis and Joe Miller of Corning).

Venture Capital

This colloquium will cover:

  • The current state of the industry: What are the factors that affect the industry as a whole? How are various players responding to the inherent challenges and opportunities?
  • Strategy: Every venture capital firm asserts that it has a proprietary deal flow and can add value. This session will address how a firm can create a truly differentiated strategy.
  • Opportunity: The locus of opportunity is shifting along two dimensions—geography and industry sector. This session will focus on the implications of those trends.
  • Human capital: A key to success in venture capital and entrepreneurial ventures is to have great people. This session will focus on managing human resources inside and outside the firm.
  • The Future: What does the future hold? What role will venture capital play in the global economy?

Read the faculty summary report on HBS Working Knowledge.

Download the conference insight report. PDF (1MB)