Management Seminar - Professor Steve Maguire

Seminar Room 9.037, The Spot Building (198 Berkeley St)


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A/Prof Susan Ainsworth

T: +61 3 9035 5639

PRESENTER: Professor Steve Maguire (University of Sydney Business School) 
TOPIC: “From Beaker to Business: Exploring Risk and Knowledge in Green Chemistry Start-ups” 

This study explores the interplay of risk and knowledge in new science-based ventures, the success of which depends upon bringing together inventors and early-stage investors around shared understandings of a focal opportunity and a mutually agreed ‘deal’. It draws on qualitative analysis of interviews carried out, in Canada and the US during 2017, with academic entrepreneurs seeking to commercialize novel technologies based on green chemistry; representatives of incubators, accelerators and other start-up service providers; and venture capitalists. The study’s original motivation was practical, and a series of lessons for would-be green chemistry entrepreneurs was presented at the 100th annual conference of the Canadian Society of Chemistry. The themes of risk and knowledge emerged from the data, although asymmetrically: potential investors focused on risk while inventors focused on knowledge construed narrowly in technological terms. Three risks that “keep investors up at night” are identified – technology, market and entrepreneur/team risk – as well as their implications for inventors, in terms of how they can engage with and leverage knowledge to ensure that these risks are adequately managed. The paper concludes with broader implications for scholars of organizations and entrepreneurship.

Professor Steven Maguire is Professor of Strategy, Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the University of Sydney Business School since January 2019, where, as the School’s first Fellow of Multidisciplinary Innovation, he collaborates with scholars from other faculties and institutes, including Sydney Nano, to develop impactful multidisciplinary research. Prior, he was Professor of Strategy & Organization in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University; Founding Director of the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management in the Faculty of Management, which he built into an important hub of multidisciplinary research and teaching programs focusing on sustainability, social innovation and entrepreneurship (2011 – 2017); and Co-Chair of McGill University’s Innovation Steering Committee (2015 – 2017).

His research focuses on technological and institutional change driven by the emergence of new risks to human health and the environment, theorizing the role of non-market actors in shaping the adoption or abandonment of particular technologies. He has particular expertise on chemicals management, serving on the Government of Canada’s Chemical Management Plan ‘Challenge’ Advisory Panel during 2007 – 2011, and working currently on research with scientists from Health Canada and Environment Canada. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals (e.g. Strategic Management Journal; Academy of Management Journal; Academy of Management Review; Organization Studies), chapters, and conference proceedings, as well as four edited volumes; is well cited (> 6,700 according to Google scholar); has earned substantial research funding (> $22 million, with active funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, les fonds de recherche Québécois en nature et technologies, and Genome Canada); and garnered numerous awards, including the 2014 Page Prize for Integration of Sustainability Issues into Business Curricula, the 2010 Greif Research Impact Award, the 2001 Academy of Management “Organization and Natural Environment (ONE)” Best Doctoral Dissertation Award, and a 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded by the Governor General of Canada for significant achievements and dedicated service to peers, community and Canada.

RSVPs are not necessary.