Welcome from the Program Chairs

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to attend the SMS Special Conference Berkeley, March 25-27, 2020. The conference will be held at the Berkeley-Haas School of Business, the oldest public business school in the U.S., on the inspiring University of California campus located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. Berkeley-Haas is close to the vibrant city of San Francisco and easily accessed via the San Francisco and Oakland international airports. As one of the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial universities and being firmly embedded in Silicon Valley’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, it is an ideal location for the theme of this year’s special conference: “Designing the Future: Strategy, Technology, and Society in the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

The conference takes its inspiration from the frenetic pace of change that has occurred in Silicon Valley since the 1970s, much of it occurring at the intersection of design, technological innovation, and radical new business design. Fuelled by entrepreneurial start-ups and intrapreneurial innovation efforts in established corporations, Silicon Valley, the Bay Area, and universities such as UC Berkeley, the Silicon Valley ecosystem is unparalleled in contributing toward the design and creation of technologies that have transformed societies and economies globally. 

Today we find ourselves in what Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and his colleague Eugene Stoermer termed The Anthropocene—or the epoch of the human. It’s a time during which humans will profoundly alter the earth through our decisions and actions (or lack thereof). This epoch places us at the cusp of many plausible and competing alternatives—on one end, human disaster, and on the other, incredible advancement through technology. This 4th Industrial Revolution brings new challenges, ethical and moral, as we make critical choices about which of these paths we will embark upon. 

This begs many key questions, such as: How might we characterize and address plausible risks and opportunities associated with technology deployment at local vs. global levels over time? Despite this, the discipline of strategy has been relatively silent on the role of strategy formulation, selection, and implementation in addressing how we might design for the future under these “wicked” conditions. The field of design, however, has over the decades contributed significantly to creating alternative futures. By bringing together academics and professionals in business, government, and third-sector organizations working at the forefront of design, technology, and strategy, we seek to create a vibrant, lively, inspiring, and most of all collegial experience where we share ideas and practices, imagine possibilities, and debate the state of the art in order to advance theory, research, and practice in how we design the products, services, experiences, organizations, and societies for the future. 

Thanks to the kind sponsorship of Berkeley-Haas, Durham University Business School, and Warwick Business School, we are able to offer a wonderfully interactive program that intersperses regular paper sessions with site visits, grand challenge debates, industry panels, design sprints, and keynote sessions from world-leading scholars and business people. In addition, editors of Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and California Management Review will run workshops on publishing in these journals.

We can’t wait to see you and welcome you to the SMS Special Conference Berkeley in 2020.

Luciano, Tyrone, Sara, and Andy

Program Chairs

picture of Sara Beckman
Sara Beckman
University of California Berkeley
picture of Andy Dong
Andy Dong
Oregon State University
picture of Tyrone Pitsis
Tyrone Pitsis
Durham University
picture of Luciano C. Oviedo
Luciano C. Oviedo
Warwick Business School (UK)