picture of Laura B. Cardinal Laura B. Cardinal University of South Carolina Co-Chair

picture of Sotirios Paroutis Sotirios Paroutis University of Warwick Co-Chair

Executive Discoveries Series

We are delighted to introduce a new initiative, the Executive Discoveries Series (EDS). For quite a while there have been discussions within SMS about how best to showcase and communicate impactful academic research to a wider audience. We value academic debate on the cutting-edge of research, but also want to create room and opportunities to engage in a meaningful dialogue beyond academia. Inspired by the success of similar activities at recent special SMS conferences as well as the multiple, exciting practitioner-focused initiatives by Interest Groups, our hope is that this initiative will help to foster this interaction.

The inaugural Executive Discoveries Series (EDS) in the SMS Madrid Conference provides an accessible pathway that connects sessions throughout the conference program aimed at executives, managers, and consultants. After close engagement with the leadership teams of the SMS Interest Groups, we identified sessions that cover a range of current managerial challenges.

Below you will find an easy to navigate, virtual, EDS Track that runs through the conference program. The EDS Track consists of plenaries, paper and common ground sessions, and panel discussions that feature cutting edge research coupled with provocative ideas that challenge conventional managerial wisdom and provide exposure for executives to new insights that can help advance their strategic insights and skills. These sessions are grouped into six themes.

We hope this first Executive Discovery Series is just a first step in achieving a meaningful and impactful conversation between academics and business practitioners and consultants. We recognize we have a ways to go, but we see the EDS as a move in the right direction. In future years it is our hope to nurture and grow the idea of the EDS Track into an exciting and meaningful experience for those who want to connect the best in academic research with the best of business practice. We hope that you will join us for this journey and help us nurture, grow, and evolve our newest SMS venture in the Annual SMS Meetings.

I. Expanding Your Strategic Thinking

The sessions in the first theme – "Expanding Your Strategic Thinking" – provide the rare opportunity to hear from two strategy thought leaders whose ideas have global reach and have influenced the best of business practice and cutting edge strategic management thought. Paul Polman of Unilever and Henry Mintzberg of McGill University are the distinguished speakers for the first two opening sessions.

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II. Developing Cutting Edge Strategies

The second theme allows engagement with experts experiencing novel strategy-making settings, such as social networks and firms engaged in multi-sided platform strategies. The aim here is to share understanding of how to cope with such new settings and create breakthrough strategies. These strategies are expected to leverage the unique aspects of a particular context, while simultaneously accommodating conflicting demands in unconventional ways.

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III. Making the Most of the Individual Strategist

The individual strategist is the focus of the third theme. The discussions here will examine the changing and challenging role of CEOs, CSOs (Chief Strategy Officers) and other directors with strategy responsibilities within an increasing demanding context. The goal is to explain how seeing strategy as an individual accomplishment can help managers uncover new methods and processes to enhance strategy making and implementation.

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IV. Dealing with International and Complex Contexts

For the fourth theme we turn our attention to the demanding global environment managers face. Sessions here feature discussions about the Euro area economic crisis as well as debates concerning how to improve the architecture of global corporations. Debates in these sessions will provide insight on how managers and executives can cope with the pressures posed by their complex contexts.

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V. Finding Novel Ways to Grow and Renew the Firm

The fifth theme is all about finding new trajectories to grow and renew. Sessions here address a number of wide ranging topics: business models, strategy frameworks, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and the granularity of firm profits. The goal is to engage in debate about how firms, in a post-crisis context, can make better use of resources and opportunities to renew their operations and offerings.

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VI. Dealing with M&As and Networks

The complexity inherent in M&As and networks entails special attention by strategists. Theme six is designed to focus on networks and M&As. Sessions include debates about the manner in which networks shape strategy, the role of innovation in M&As, and issues of governance in globalized networks. The objective here is to provide insights to unpack the complexity of both phenomena and to find better solutions to managing the complexity.

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Strategic Management Society