Rotman Management Spring 2021

Published in January, May and September by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Rotman Management explores themes of interest to leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. Each issue features thought-provoking insights and problem-solving tools from leading global researchers and management practitioners. The magazine reflects Rotman’s role as a catalyst for transformative thinking that creates value for business and society.

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
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3 Numeri

in questo numero

2 min
from the editor

IF THERE WAS EVER ANY DOUBT that successful economies depend upon a healthy population, it has likely been erased in the past year. COVID-19 has shown us that societal issues are not just legitimate areas of concern for business — they are sources of both risk and opportunity. Like market forces, societal forces can profoundly affect the competitive environment. This crisis has further validated the Business Roundtable’s pre-pandemic statement on corporate purpose, when 181 CEOs pledged a commitment to five stakeholder groups: customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. As we have seen, if one member of this group is too weak to play its role, the entire system can quickly crumble. In this issue of Rotman Management, we put the spotlight on what has become the Holy Grail for organizations, economies and…

14 min
leading the way to recovery the creative destruction lab’s moonshot

IMAGINE A WORLD where a wristband alerts industrial workers whenever someone is less than two metres away from them; where a pay-as-you-go app for small medical providers in sub-Saharan Africa identifies patients who are susceptible to serious COVID-19 complications; and where modular off-grid facilities can be rapidly deployed for housing, health and educational purposes anywhere in the world. You don’t have to imagine such a world, thanks to the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL). “Novel crises require novel responses, and novel responses require innovation — often predicated on insights from science.” That according to CDL founder Ajay Agrawal, who is the Geoffrey Taber Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Rotman School of Management and whose team has been on the front lines of developing solutions to help the world recover from COVID-19. CDL’s…

6 min
cdl recovery alumni

The following, 28 ventures have graduated from the CDL Recovery program. AccuroLab has developed a service that acts as an intermediary between cellphone users and Trusted Health Organization (THO) sources, allowing users to assess the accuracy of incoming text messages related to COVID-19. Altis Labs helps pharmaceutical companies and hospitals accelerate therapeutic R&D and guide personalized treatment by predicting patient outcomes from radiological imaging. As COVID-19 spread, Altis expanded its technology to predict outcomes of patients with pulmonary infections, allowing hospitals to better manage their resources. Avro Life Science develops skin patches that administer generic drugs through the skin and eliminate the need for oral medication. Their first product—an allergy patch—helps children avoid the side effects of taking oral medication, including trouble swallowing. BioXplor is developing an AI- and network-based drug-discovery platform for pharma…

10 min
thought leader interview: anita m. mcgahan

You recently analyzed the policies put in place to fight the global pandemic. What were your key findings? We looked at the effectiveness of 11 policies that have been implemented at various levels in 40 countries since the pandemic’s onset. My co-authors — INSEAD professors Phebo Wibbens and Wesley Wu-Yi Koo — and I found that a suite of widely implemented core policies did in fact reduce the spread of virus — but not by enough to contain it fully, except in a few highly compliant jurisdictions. The 11 core policies we looked at included the cancellation of public events, the restriction of gatherings to fewer than 100 people, stay-at-home recommendations and the implementation of a partial international travel ban. For the average jurisdiction, these policies reduced the growth rate in new…

16 min
the next normal: trends that will define 2021 and beyond

BUSINESSES HAVE SPENT MUCH of the past 12 months scrambling to adapt to extraordinary circumstances. While the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet won, with vaccines in hand, there is light at the end of the tunnel — along with the hope that another train isn’t heading our way. The year 2021 will be one of transition. Barring any unexpected catastrophes, individuals, businesses, and society can start to look forward to shaping their futures rather than just grinding through the present. The next normal is going to be different. It will not mean going back to the conditions that prevailed in 2019. Indeed, just as the terms ‘pre-war’ and ‘post-war’ are commonly used to describe the 20th century, generations to come will likely discuss the pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 eras. In…

13 min
managing the most complex organizations on earth

Healthcare represents a huge and growing sector. But it faces unique management challenges that you believe have not been adequately addressed. Please summarize them. Brian Golden: In most systems, healthcare is seen as a cost rather than an investment — and that is tragic. One of the great challenges right now is getting people to adopt a new mindset around what great healthcare can do for an economy. The fact is, excellent healthcare drives prosperity. The second issue is a problem of inequity. We have what I call ‘postal code healthcare’: You are very fortunate if you happen to live in a place like Toronto, New York City or Los Angeles — which have some of the best healthcare in the world. But good healthcare is not spread evenly, between countries or…