Week 1 Lectures

Updated: Jan 17

Opening Lecture posits two questions:

  • A pandemic similar to COVID-19 was predicted by the World Health Organization in 2015. Imagine if you were an executive at a company in one impacted industries (Boeing, Hilton, Disney, etc.) what would you do?

  • COVID-19 is the 6th pandemic of the century, fifth of the past decade, and we should expect more. The students graduate-level engineers in my class may have 50-year career-spans, and will need to find innovative ways to address these problems. With this as a landscape, what then is the purpose of business, and the products and services which businesses create?

The lecture continues, and poses how might Systems Thinking (which is different than Systems Engineering) provides guidance on how to solve these problems.

The first lecture briefly quotes Roger Martin, and after posting it he wrote an additional article in the Harvard Business Review.

(Just for interest - it's not required reading.)

It’s Time to Replace the Public Corporation

  • We need a model that truly focuses on the long term. by Roger L. Martin

  • Summary: Critics charge that in today’s heavily traded capital markets, executives are increasingly incentivized to manage in tiny, short-term windows, with an eager eye on their stock-based compensation and a fearful one on activist hedge funds. In this article the author tracks the decline of the public corporation and explains why its most important shareholders—retirement investors—and the most critical part of its workforce, namely knowledge workers, are ill-served by this model. He proposes a new structure, which he calls the long-term enterprise (LTE): a private company in which ownership is limited to those two groups of stakeholders, who have the greatest interest in long-term value. The LTE, Martin argues, would also diminish the ability of activist hedge funds to extract gains at their expense.

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