Darden Ideas to Action

Business knowledge, analysis and commentary from faculty and experts of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

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Thursday Sep 22, 2022

The Good Disruption podcast is moving to it's very own channel. To listen and subscribe, you can find Good Disruption on it's new channel here: https://gooddisruption.podbean.com/.
Good Disruption can also be found where you listen to your favorite podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, TuneIn+Alexa, iHeart Radio, Podchaser, Sticher, and Pandora.
You can also find us in the Playlists tab on the DardenMBA YouTube channel at youtube.com/dardenmba.
New episodes coming this Fall!

Friday Sep 09, 2022

For many patients battling disease, working with their doctors to find the most effective treatment can be a painful exercise of trial and error. What if you could more precisely choose medications and customize treatment based on people’s genes, environment, and lifestyle?
Today, this type of customization is possible thanks to the Human Genome Project, which published the full sequence of the human genome in 2013. The release of this data provided clinicians the opportunity to identify genetic variations of thousands of diseases and has led to the rise of a new way to treat patients through personalized or precision medicine. Yet, creating a detailed and complete view of individual patients requires an incredible amount of computing power and there are concerns around accessibility, profiling, discrimination, and privacy with access to personal data.

Friday Sep 09, 2022

In 2018, Director Steven Spielberg released the movie Ready Player One. Set in the year 2045, the movie depicts a virtual world, Oasis, where players can escape their everyday lives to be whoever they want and do whatever they want through an avatar. Fantasy? Perhaps, but big tech players like Facebook are betting on the idea becoming a reality. Last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of the company to Meta, a move that appears to be a strategic positioning tactic for the next digital frontier.
What exactly is the metaverse? What are the challenges in building an interactive virtual world? Which technologies will get us there? How will players – particularly younger ones – be protected while engaging with others?

Friday Sep 09, 2022

Livestock farming represents more than 60% of agriculture GHG emissions. Cattle account for most of these emissions and are the primary drivers of deforestation. If we want to reduce the global impact of beef, we need to think differently about how we grow and source it.
Across the U.S., new plant-based alternatives are showing up on menus, offering customers similar taste and texture as beef, but without the carbon footprint. Chains like Burger King, Carl Jr., and Starbucks are offering Impossible and Beyond Meat products. Still, many beef lovers are hesitant to make the switch. What if you could promise real beef but without the environmental impact or even, without a herd? In steps cultivated meat, where beef is grown from cow cells in a laboratory.

Friday Sep 09, 2022

When Ludwig van Beethoven died in 1827, he left his 10th symphony unfinished. Working off just a few musical sketches and notes by the composer, a team of computer scientists at Rutgers University-based start-up Playform AI trained an artificial intelligence to mimic his style and complete the symphony. The finished product was performed by The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn on October 9, 2021.
The use of AI for creative endeavors is not new, but more recently interest in using it for music composition has exploded. Machine learning promises to increase the pace and volume of content released by artists and makes music and composition more accessible to budding new artists. On one hand it helps to feed the seemingly insatiable desire for new content on streaming platforms but on the other, it threatens originality. There is also the question of “who owns the music that the software produces” – is it the programmer, the musician, or the AI itself?

Monday May 02, 2022

Ten years ago, a group of Stanford professors founded Coursera, an online education platform that allows university partners to offer courses using a subscription-based model. Known in the industry as MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, the company has provided access to more than 95 million learners. These MOOCs have allowed universities to engage a broader audience not able to be reached through traditional means. Market analysts report a year over year increase in online learning, both nationally and globally. In 2021, MOOCs had reached more than 200 million people. The COVID pandemic has only accelerated this trend with most schools forced to move all classes online. Concerns around the rising costs of higher education are increasing the pressure on many universities to consider digital offerings. It’s clear that disruption is underway, but where are the opportunities and what are the risks to top-tier universities?

Monday May 02, 2022

Bitcoin. Tether. Dogecoin. These are some of the most popular cryptocurrencies being traded around the world. The sheer number of crypto options available today suggests significant market disruption is underway. Building on open source blockchain technology, developers have created more than 4,500 cryptocurrencies. Yet, where there is hype there is also volatility. Just last year, the value of Bitcoin dropped by $6 billion within weeks of Tesla announcing that it would not accept it and China warning that it would block all crypto exchanges. After recovering and reaching an all-time high later in the year, the price once again dipped at the beginning of 2022. Is it merely the newness of crypto that is causing this volatility or does the concern go deeper? What are the benefits of shifting the economy toward digital currencies? What are the concerns? Who will benefit?

Monday May 02, 2022

The automobile industry is in the middle of a significant disruption. Initially led by Tesla, new companies like Rivian and Lucid are emerging while GM, Ford, and other incumbent manufacturers are scrambling to introduce new electric models and shift inventory away from gas-powered cars. Eighteen of the twenty largest car manufacturers representing 90% of global new vehicle sales have committed to expanding their electric offerings. Today, more than 10 million electric vehicles are on the road, with 3 million of that added just in 2020. Electric vehicles are on track to become the dominant technology over the next 10-20 years.  But do we truly understand all the implications of this shift? Are we ready for it?

Monday May 02, 2022

Welcome to a special presentation of the Darden Ideas to Action Podcast Series! "Good Disruption" is a lively discussion between UVA Darden School of Business Professors Mike Lenox and Yael Grushka-Cockayne on cutting edge technologies and practices that are challenging the status quo. They then make their personal call on whether this is a good disruption, bad disruption, or actually no disruption. Subscribe to Darden Ideas to Action podcasts on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts!

Monday Dec 06, 2021

Planning and project management are very old business functions, but they are undergoing a rapid change thanks to how advances in data science enable organizations to effectively manage uncertainty. University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Yael Grushka-Cockayne and the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr discuss how new tools in data science, AI, machine learning and harnessing the wisdom of the crowd have revolutionized how people and organizations plan. Could “over budget and past due” become a concept of the past for those able to harness uncertainty and flexibility in data-enabled ways?

Tuesday Sep 07, 2021

Accounting measures can help boards and investors answer some very important questions about the performance, integrity and compensation of CEOs in surprising ways. Professor Shane Dikolli at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business has used analytical modeling and empirical analysis to evaluate CEOs for much of his career, and he and the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr discuss why the insights hidden in plain sight within accounting disclosures have important implications for business managers at every level.

Thursday Aug 12, 2021

Our lives have become an open book to the companies collecting our data, and marketers are becoming increasingly sophisticated at using that data to compel us to buy their products and services. But we’re entering a new phase of the digital marketing revolution. The artificial intelligence age. University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Raj Venkatesan discusses his book, The AI Marketing Canvas: A Five Stage Roadmap to Implementing Artificial Intelligence in Marketing, with the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr to examine where the industry is headed and how marketers can responsibly manage AI-powered marketing in the rapidly evolving media landscape.

Wednesday Jun 16, 2021

The world has been captivated by the stunning collapse of Theranos and its supposedly wunderkind founder Elizabeth Holmes, who now faces trial for fraud. University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Jared Harris worked with Theranos whistleblower Tyler Shultz to develop a series of cases that reveal how the advanced nature of the technology allowed the ruse to go on so long and the high cost Shultz paid for his part bringing down the house of cards. Harris speaks with the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr about what it took to make an ethical stand and how increasingly complex technology will present challenges for ethical leaders.

Wednesday Apr 21, 2021

The glass ceiling exists around the world. From the U.S. to India, women work harder to get a foot in the door, a seat at the table or a place at the top of established businesses. But what about women who want to start their own businesses? As University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Gaurav Chiplunkar discusses in this Ideas to Action podcast with the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr, the barriers they face might be even greater. To examine the challenge, Chiplunkar shared his new research on the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs in developing countries, how their challenges harm the entire economy, and what business leaders and policymakers can do about it.

Wednesday Mar 24, 2021

Electric vehicles are everywhere. Renewable energy like solar and wind, too. The U.S. is back in the Paris Climate Accord. Progress to stop climate change has come so far, yet still has a long way to go and the road from here only gets harder. Professor Mike Lenox and Senior Researcher Becky Duff at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business talk with the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr about their new book on what it will take to decarbonize the economy. Not just one sector. Every sector. And their insights have big implications for every business leader, investor and policymaker.

Wednesday Mar 10, 2021

The future of work is changing, whether you’re ready or not. But getting ready is no simple task. Who can you trust to teach the new skills you’ll need? How much should you pay? What’s more important: credentials or knowledge? University of Virginia Darden School of Business Dean Scott Beardsley has spent the last six years honing the School’s strategy to serve the needs of the next generation of business leaders, and he joins Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning’s Anne Trumbore to dissect the landscape of lifelong learning, how it is evolving to meet the needs of the modern workplace and how professionals can best tap the power of education to advance their purpose.

Monday Jan 25, 2021

New year, new you? Flipping the calendar has become a cliché for goals, resolutions, intentions and self-improvement. Those good intentions fail all too often, not out of desire but out of an inability to change or adapt. Humans struggle with change, and the stakes of that limitation are getting higher as the world enters an era of massive technological disruption and the coronavirus pandemic challenges our way of life. University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Ed Hess is an expert in high individual and organizational performance. His latest book, Hyper-Learning, offers practical pathways to develop “a new way of being” for individual success and “a new way of working” for business success. The Batten Institute’s Sean Carr speaks with Ed to share how we can all simply be better at changing.

Thursday Nov 19, 2020

The Trump Administration is on the way out. The Biden Administration is on the way in. And amid the transition, the largest wave yet of the coronavirus pandemic is resulting in new restrictions in the United States and around the world. It’s a pivotal moment for the U.S. and global economies, and the U.S. Federal Reserve holds a key position of influence. University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Frank Warnock, a former Fed economist and current research adviser with the Fed, discusses the tools available and possible next steps for the Fed with the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr.

Monday Oct 12, 2020

Have you ever shown up to a meeting thinking you’ve got great ideas, piercing insights and the motivation to make a positive impact, only to discover the decisions you thought were still on the table have already been made? You’re left wondering if you were the only person who didn’t know. How did that happen? The play Hamilton popularized the phrase “the room where it happens,” which speaks to a very real unwritten playbook for power and influence in organizations that continues today in much the same way it did in the 18th century. University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor of Practice Toni Irving brought her decades of experience in finance, health care, consulting, government and nonprofit management to the table in a discussion with the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr on the practicalities of getting in “the room where it happens.”

Thursday Aug 27, 2020

Eliminating discrimination from customer service has been historically difficult, even for organizations with stellar service reputations. Is there a way for companies to better identify their breakdowns and eliminate discrimination from the fast food drive through to the hotel lobby? University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Tami Kim joins the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr to discuss how her research proved discrimination pervades the customer service landscape. She shares what she’s learned about how companies can identify the issues unique to their service and take a better approach to solving the problems.

Wednesday Jul 15, 2020

No event in modern history has driven so much change, so fast, as the coronavirus pandemic. In a world beset by the challenges presented by COVID-19, can we look into the minds of entrepreneurs to discover how businesses and individuals might start to rebuild? University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Saras Sarasvathy, a world-renowned thought leader in the field of entrepreneurship, discusses the logic of thinking used by expert entrepreneurs with the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr to uncover how the entrepreneurial approach can help us all through the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Tuesday Jun 23, 2020

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and national protests for racial justice, businesses and leaders are working to embrace a defining moment for racial equality. University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Laura Morgan Roberts joins the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr to discuss the movement for racial justice and what leaders can learn and do to be allies to the Black community in business and society.  

Thursday May 21, 2020

Panic-buying toilet paper. Baking bonanzas. Home hair-dye kits. The coronavirus pandemic is changing our routines, our social interactions and our relationships with companies and brands. University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Lalin Anik joins the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr to explore the evolution of consumer behavior in response to COVID-19, how brands are reacting, and what the future may hold as people look to them for trust and meaning amidst the uncertainty.

Thursday Apr 30, 2020

Businesses large and small are in a fight for survival as the coronavirus pandemic brings economic activity to a near complete standstill. Professor Greg Fairchild joins the Batten Institute’s Sean Carr to provide insights on what small businesses can do to survive months of lost revenues amid mounting costs and what they can do now to thrive in whatever the “new normal” for commerce might be when the immediate crisis ends.

Thursday Apr 09, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis of unprecedented scale and scope. In response, the world looks to its leaders for clarity, direction, and the reassurance that their actions will mitigate — not exacerbate — the pandemic’s dire humanitarian and economic consequences. While no U.S. president has faced a challenge quite like the current one, what do past commanders-in-chief have to teach us about leading through a crisis? University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Bob Bruner shares findings from his examination of the leadership styles of past U.S. presidents that could inform the current moment for leaders at all levels as we navigate the difficult path ahead.


UVA Darden School of Business

At the UVA Darden School of Business, our mission is to improve the world by developing responsible leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Through degree and non-degree programs, delivered by the world’s best faculty and bolstered by their research and ideas, we put your personal purpose in motion, setting the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. 

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