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UTSG: Sarah Kaplan on “The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation”

Book Synopsis:  The business world is no longer entirely a “total returns to shareholders” game. Corporations are increasingly expected to address the interests of multiple stakeholders through corporate social responsibility. This pressure comes from “clicktivists,” socially-conscious consumers, Millennials, and a new generation of investors focused on ESG (environmental, social and governance) standards. The urgency for moving beyond the “bottom line” mindset has never been greater. Yet, the popular “shared value” framework uses a business case logic to inspire companies to find win-win solutions. But what if there is no win-win? How can companies cope when the interests of the shareholder and those of other stakeholders such as communities, workers, consumers, suppliers, and the environment conflict irreconcilably? This book is designed to provide answers to these questions, showing leaders how to engage with stakeholders to create possibilities for everyone, and to foster innovative business model transformation. Companies can look through the lenses of different stakeholders—taking a 360° view—and see new ways of doing business. The 360° Corporation is an organization that can tackle the tensions created by these trade-offs, and this book offers signposts to leaders who want to spearhead the 360° revolution. Using rich case studies of Walmart, Nike and other leading companies, this book shows every organization can address its trade-offs. Sometimes there’s a “win-win”; sometimes, creative thinking may lead to innovation; and, other times companies will have to thrive in irreconcilable tensions. The 360° Corporation addresses all of these modes of action, serving as a comprehensive playbook for managers, CEOs, and innovators who are burned out by constantly being tugged in many different directions. 

About Our Speaker: Sarah Kaplan is Director and Professor – Institute for Gender and the Economy, Distinguished Professor of Gender and the Economy and Professor of Strategic Management, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. She is a Senior Fellow with the Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the Wharton School at  University of Pennsylvania.  Sarah is co-author of the New York Times best-seller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market–And How to Successfully Transform Them (Broadway Business, 2003) and co-author of Survive and Thrive: Winning Against Strategic Threats to Your Business (Dog Ear Publishing, 2017).  Her new book The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation will be published by Stanford Business Books on September 3, 2019. 

$36.00 plus HST per person (includes 1 signed hardcover copy of “The 360° Corporation”, 1 seat for the book talk and the drinks reception)

U of T Career Fair 2019

Explore employment opportunities with more than 100 diverse and global organizations. University of Toronto students from all years, all fields of study and campuses are invited, as well as recent grads.

The Entrepreneurship Hatchery hosts Demo Day 2019

Magnetic aircraft-braking system takes home $20,000 grand prize

The Entrepreneurship Hatchery hosts Demo Day 2019

On September 4, the Entrepreneurship Hatchery’s NEST program hosted its ninth annual Demo Day for student-led startups. The event, hosted by the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, took place at the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The 14 finalists from the program pitched innovations, ranging from addressing energy poverty in developing nations, to pre-emptive brain disorder diagnosis, and more.

A panel of professors, industry leaders, philanthropists, and Hatchery alumni awarded $42,500 in seed funding; $20,000 went to the first-place team, $10,000 to each of the two runners-up, and a $2,500 Orozco Prize to one crowd-favorite presentation.

The contactless airplane-braking company Aeroflux was awarded first place for its working demonstration of its patent-pending magnetic-field brakes. The team, composed of Nikola Kostic, Stevan Kostic, and Roshan Varghese, demonstrated its device, which minimizes the wear and tear on braking gear and could save airplane operators up to $7.2 million during a plane’s lifetime.

The team won the Clarke Prize for leadership in engineering design in May of this year. It plans to continue developing the technology within the U of T startup community.

Sparrow, an e-sports analytics tool, and eXamify, an end-to-end assignment marking solution, each won $10,000 Hatchery Prizes as runners-up. The team behind Sparrow developed an artificial intelligence agent which was fed by tracking in-game movement and post-game statistics. Sparrow delivers player-specific coaching suggestions in League of Legends, an online multiplayer game, with plans to expand into other competitive titles in the coming year, and eXamify is an all-in-one online test management suite that simplifies test grading for TAs and professors.

Crowd-favorite startup Brainloop was awarded the Orozco Prize for its predictive brain diagnosis platform. Up to 20 per cent of brain disorders are misdiagnosed, and Esteban Arellano and Juan Egas aim to use artificial intelligence to analyze test results to improve upon this rate. The duo hope that hospitals will adopt the tool to support diagnoses as early as April 2020.

Throughout the course of the four-month NEST program, the cohort developed products spanning a variety of markets. Other teams shone as well: Team Connct focused its efforts on predictive content suggestions and auto-replies for Instagram influencers, while Team OpenRace developed a platform for runners to compete in real time, from around the world.

As an early-stage startup incubator, the NEST program helps new founders understand the markets they’re trying to enter.

“In 10 or 15 years, we’ll be able to point at successful startups and serial entrepreneurs and say that they had a formative and enabling experience here. In that sense it’s quasi-educational,” said Professor Jonathan Rose, Chair of the Hatchery Advisory Board.

“The key for engineers is to pay attention to the business. Engineers have lots of great ideas, but they need to know if there’s a market for it.”

Disclosure: Nikhi Bhambra was The Varsity’s 2018–2019 Front End Web Developer.

UTSG: Rebecca Fannin on “Tech Titans of China”

Rebecca Fannin on “Tech Titans of China: How China’s Tech Sector is Challenging the World by Innovating Faster, Working Harder, and Going Global”

BOOK SYNOPSIS: The rise of China’s tech companies and intense competition from the sector is just beginning. This will present an ongoing management and strategy challenge for companies for many years to come. Tech Titans of China is the go-to-guide for companies (and those interested in competition from China) seeking to understand China’s grand tech ambitions, who the players are and what their strategy is. Fannin, an expert on China, is an internationally-recognized journalist, author and speaker. She hosts 12 live events annually for business leaders, venture capitalists, start-up founders, and others impacted by or interested in cashing in on the Chinese tech industry. In this illuminating book, she provides readers with the ammunition they need to prepare and compete. The book includes detailed profiles of the Chinese tech companies making waves, the tech sectors that matter most in China’s grab for super power status, and predictions for China’s tech dominance in just 10 years.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKER: Rebecca A. Fannin is a leading expert on global innovation. As a technology writer, author and media entrepreneur, she began her career as a journalist covering venture capital from Silicon Valley. Following the VC money, she became one of the first American journalists to write about China’s entrepreneurial boom, reporting from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Today, Rebecca pens a weekly column for Forbes, and is a special correspondent for CNBC.com. Rebecca’s journalistic career has taken her to the world’s leading hubs of tech innovation, and her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Inc., among others. Rebecca’s first book, Silicon Dragon: How China is Winning the Tech Race (McGraw-Hill 2008), profiled Jack Ma of Alibaba and Robin Li of Baidu, and she has followed these Chinese tech titans ever since. Her second book, Startup Asia (Wiley 2011), explored how India is the next up and comer, which again predicted a leading-edge trend. She also contributed the Asia chapter to a textbook, Innovation in Emerging Markets (Palgrave Macmillan 2016). Her new book, Tech Titans of China: How China’s Tech Sector is Challenging the World by Working Harder, Innovating Faster & Going Global, will be published by Hachette Book Group on September 2, 2019. Inspired by the entrepreneurs she met and interviewed in China, Rebecca became a media entrepreneur herself. In 2010, she formed media and events platform Silicon Dragon Ventures, which publishes a weekly e-newsletter, produces videos and podcasts, and programs and produces events annually in innovation hubs globally. Rebecca also frequently speaks at major business, tech and policy forums. She resides in New York City and San Francisco, and logs major frequent flier miles in her grassroots search to cover the next, new thing.

$24.95 plus HST per person (includes 1 paperback copy of “Tech Titans of China” and 1 seat for the book talk)

Lecture: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Era of A.I.

The lecture, addressing corporate social responsibility in business ethics, will be delivered by Michael Motala, an Ethics of Artificial Intelligence Graduate Research Fellow at U of T’s Centre for Ethics and PhD student in political science.

Business Board releases reports on financial statements, university operations

Alternative funding, gender pay gap equity also discussed

Business Board releases reports on financial statements, university operations

U of T’s 2018–2019 financial statements were approved and alternative sources of funding discussed in the the June 18 meeting of Governing Council’s Business Board. The meeting included reports on university operations and real estate holdings, human resources and equity, and faculty gender pay equity.

Chief Financial Officer Sheila Brown presented U of T’s financial statements to the board, saying that the university had achieved better financial results than what it had projected in January.

The university’s net assets grew by $507 million to a total of $6.5 billion. U of T has $809 million in reserves for necessary capital projects and infrastructure over the next few years. Its contractual obligations with external builders are valued at $576 million.

Brown called the university’s preference to fund capital projects with its own assets rather than through financing “very prudent.”

University operations

In his annual report, Vice-President Operations and Real Estate Partnerships Scott Mabury discussed the successes of his department, which encompasses several offices including Ancillary Services, Facilities & Services, and Information Technology Services. He also emphasized U of T’s ongoing work on the Greenhouse Gas Retrofits Program and cybersecurity, briefly floating the idea of working together with other universities to build a Canadian Security Operations Centre, not to “win the war,” but to “stay ahead” of bad cyber actors.

Mabury specifically highlighted the Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, a future hub for artificial intelligence and biomedical innovation created through a $100 million donation in March. He referred to this as an achievement that showcased all aspects of the operations department, calling the media rollout a “beautiful example of managing a narrative.”

Mabury also discussed the development of the new student residence to be built at Spadina Avenue and Sussex Avenue, which he said exhibited how challenging the development process can be at times. U of T reached an agreement with the City of Toronto last year to develop the residence, after first proposing it in 2013. Mabury said that the period from the beginning of the project to occupancy of the building will have been approximately 12 years.

Alternative funding

Vice-President & Provost Cheryl Regehr presented a report of the Alternative Funding Sources Advisory Group. The group’s work is structured around what Regehr referred to as U of T’s core strengths: knowledge, real estate and physical infrastructure, and financial resources.

The report contains numerous recommendations for diversifying U of T’s income stream, ranging from developing joint undergraduate programs with a peer university, to investing in U of T startups. Regehr focused on recommendations related to the pillar of real estate and physical infrastructure, including expanding on the Four Corners approach to physical infrastructure that guides U of T’s expansion on all three campuses.

Gender pay equity

Regehr and Hannah-Moffat elaborated on the report of the Provostial Advisory Group on Faculty Gender Pay Equity, which was convened in fall 2016. One of the major findings of the report was that “on average, tenured and tenure stream women faculty at [U of T] earn 1.3% less than comparably situated faculty who are men, after controlling for experience, field of study, seniority, and other relevant factors.”

Analysis suggests that U of T’s 12 per cent raw overall difference between tenure-stream men and women is explained by the fact that, on average, these women have fewer years of experience and work in lower-paying fields of study. There is no statistically significant difference between salaries for male and female teaching stream faculty.

In her administrative response, Regehr announced that all female faculty who are tenured or tenure-stream at U of T will receive a 1.3 per cent increase to their base salary, effective July 1. U of T’s 834 eligible faculty were personally informed of this increase, which will cost U of T $1.8 million in the 2019–2020 fiscal year. This will be taken from the university’s central funds.

Other items

Vice-President Human Resources & Equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat discussed U of T’s smoke-free campus policy, noting that there have been no significant incidents since its implementation on January 1. She added that smoking on campus is not policed vigorously, contrary to previous concerns about enforcement of the policy.

The board also discussed the progress of the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre, which opened in 2017. There was discussion of the difference between disclosures and reports of sexual violence. Regehr noted that disclosures of sexual violence made to the centre are often incidents that do not involve a second member of the U of T community, and thus do not fall under university jurisdiction. According to the interim report on human resources and equity, the centre took steps to address 56 reports of sexual violence in the last year under university policy.

Disclosure: Reut Cohen served as the 2018–2019 Managing Editor at The Varsity.

UTSC: University of Toronto Scarborough Career Expo

Learn about UTSC career opportunities at the campus’ first career expo. Opportunities include meeting hiring managers, learning about UTSC’s recruitment processes, taking part in one-on-one resume review session, and getting a free professional portrait with a pro photographer.

U of T Sustainability Innovation Prize showcases 10 standout projects

Circular Toys, SoluSave, STP Sports claim $15,000 prize at inaugural event

U of T Sustainability Innovation Prize showcases 10 standout projects

On June 12, U of T Entrepreneurship hosted the 10 finalists of its inaugural Sustainability Innovation Prize for a pitch competition at ONRamp, a coworking space that supports U of T accelerators. The finalists, selected from a larger pool of applicants, each had three minutes to pitch their innovations to a panel of expert judges in the hopes of being selected as one of the three $5,000 prize winners.

The 10 finalists were chosen according to the opportunity, viability and impact, growth potential, innovation, talent, and communication skills demonstrated in their proposals. In April, each of the finalists was encouraged by U of T Entrepreneurship to work with an advisor to prepare them for the big day.

Following the 10 pitches, which ranged from energy efficiency innovations to financial services, the judges announced their verdict.

Daniel McKee and Lisa Pooley’s Circular Toys; John Russell and Leanna Smid’s SoluSave; and Paulina Szalchta, Samantha Dilorio, and Tom Chen’s STP Sports claimed top honours, each earning $5,000 to be used to support their innovations.

Circular Toys

McKee’s project aims to bring the circular economic model to the youngest members of society. Circular Toys is his answer to the short use of kids’ toys, few of which are recyclable.

Circular Toys is a subscription-based, eco-friendly toy delivery service. Consumers would pick from a range of educational toy packages, targeted according to age group, and can expect a continued delivery of five to six toys every three months to their homes.

After toys have been used to the child’s satisfaction, Circular Toys encourages its customers to send them back to the company, which they would then refurbish and incorporate them into boxes to send out to other families.

McKee told The Varsity that the $5,000 prize would be used primarily for marketing, “getting the website up, and reaching the first hundred [users].” Circular Toys will launch in August.

MICHAEL TEOH/THE VARSITY

SoluSave

Life science students John Russell and Leanna Smid’s SoluSave provides a waste reduction solution for laboratories.

SoluSave aims to develop and provide technology to recycle used solvents. The two undergraduate students were inspired to develop their startup from having first-hand experience in U of T laboratories.

They hope that, once completed, their technology will make its way into more undergraduate laboratories to minimize waste.

Russell and Smid, who were participating in their first-ever pitch competition, were surprised that they were selected as one of the winners.

“One of our biggest concerns was to make sure that [our pitch] came across as pretty clear, what we were doing, and to have a little bit more of a story,” Smid told The Varsity. “We knew we were not pitching to chemists.

MICHAEL TEOH/THE VARSITY

STP Sports

After this year’s NBA championship, Torontonians who have attended sporting events can vouch for the wasteful mess that fills an empty stadium after a game. Paulina Szlachta and Tom Chen pitched a service to reduce the wasteful nature of sporting events through a closed-loop supply chain model that diverts waste from ending up in landfills.

The pair had conducted field research, including a trip to Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and a meeting with its officials.

Beyond the excitement of the prize, Szlachta was particularly excited about the fierceness of the competition. “The other pitches got me thoroughly excited about what the future of U of T Entrepreneurship is, from the use of chemical waste to sustainable toys,” she told The Varsity. “[It’s] an amazing space and this competition is coming at a really, really good time.”

A good time it was — the pitch competition featured a great variety of pitches, and despite there only being three prize winners, there were no real losers. From searching for solutions to empower women in Afghanistan, to providing portable electricity to families in Western Africa, the 10 finalists truly embodied the standard that U of T is known for.

MICHAEL TEOH/THE VARSITY

Editor’s Note (July 12, 5:50 pm): This article has been updated to correct the description of ONRamp.