Stanford Business Magazine

Explore the Spring 2022 issue of Stanford Business — and see how people from all corners of the Stanford GSB community are coming together to change lives, organizations, and the world.

Editor’s Note

As I sit down to write this, I recall the words of the regional manager of a fictional midsized office-supply company: “A blank piece of paper equals endless possibilities.” That’s supposed to be motivational, but it’s also kind of intimidating. Great ideas rarely pop out of our minds and onto the page fully formed and ready to change the world. More often, they’re the product of hours of preparation and iteration, as well as a fair amount of perspiration.

The hard work that goes into the pursuit of bold ideas comes up a lot in this issue. Our profile of Professor Guido Imbens, who shared the 2021 Nobel Prize in economics, is a story of intense curiosity and patient collaboration. Those are also hallmarks of the creative process followed by Jason Mayden, MS ’11, a designer who draws inspiration from everything from birds to Batman. It begins, he says, by asking “big questions.”

Big questions are at the heart of Business and Government, a new class in which Professor Anat Admati and lecturer Robert Siegel, MBA ’94, push students to interrogate their responses to contemporary problems. That, in turn, echoes a lesson from Professor Deborah Gruenfeld about how effective teams succeed by challenging assumptions.

Our cover story takes a bite out of a complex topic that we will undoubtedly come back to. It presents bullish and cautious perspectives on the growing movement to link profits and growth with societal and planetary progress. It’s a provocative idea, and its proponents acknowledge it’s hard to get right. But, they argue, inaction poses a much greater risk. Sometimes, leaving the page blank is not an option.

Have some constructive criticism? Praise? Story ideas? We welcome your input. Email the editors.

— Dave Gilson

An illustration of a student sitting at a window, working on a design thinking exercise, while post-its swirl about. Credit: Meredith Sadler
Career Advice
4 Tips for Building Your Reputation

Allison D. Kluger shares her tips for creating and managing your reputation with Matt Abrahams on an episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart: The Podcast.

Back to Class

Jason Mayden, MS ’11

CEO & Co-founder, Trillicon Valley

Before he and his team hack together, say, a high-performance sneaker, Mayden asks “big questions,” looking for insights.

Mayden’s workspace is carefully curated for each project. He needs to surround himself with books, photographs, ephemera — a “physical mind map” where magic can happen.

Watch More

Class Takeaways: Managing Successful Groups and Teams
00:05:30
Class Takeaways: Managing Successful Groups and Teams
Five lessons in five minutes — learn how to build and lead successful teams.
All Else Equal podcast logo
Making Better Decisions

Join finance professors Jonathan Berk and Jules van Binsbergen as they explore the science and strategy of making better decisions.

Voices

Image
An illustration of a butterfly made out of post-its floating through the air.

Illustrations by Meredith Sadler

Related Reading