WDI’s London Honored With Faculty Award

Friday, September 16, 2016

Ted London, vice president and senior research fellow of WDI’s Scaling Impact Initiative, has dedicated his career to exploring the role of business in alleviating poverty, particularly with respect to the base of the pyramid (BoP), defined as the 4-5 billion people who live on less than $3,000 per year. A key focus of his work is sharing what he has learned with aspiring entrepreneurs and future venture leaders through his MBA course, Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid, at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Ted London, left, speaks with a farmer in Africa.

In recognition of his impact, London has been named an Aspen Faculty Pioneer Award winner, given to innovative business professors teaching about the most pressing “grand challenges” faced by society today. London’s award also includes a “Building the Field” distinction that honors his long-term influence on building the BoP domain and shaping the next generation of business leaders.

Watch a video of London talking about his work here.

The awards, handed out by the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, were established in 1999 to honor educators who exhibit leadership and risk-taking, and develop curriculum that studies the relationships between capital markets, firms and the public good. The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy study organization that provides a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues.

“This year’s Faculty Pioneers are leading the charge toward a more modern version of business education,” said Claire Preisser, who manages the Faculty Pioneer selection process as associate director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program. “Against the backdrop of society’s ever-increasing expectation of firms, business education is still organized around preparing students to be profit maximizers – focusing them on financial, largely short-term measures of business success. Instead, our award winners equip students with the kind of problem-solving skills that firms need to make a positive impact on the most pressing issues of our time.”

London said he was humbled by the award and heartened to see his work in the BoP domain recognized.

“Our students seek to harness the power of enterprise to address society’s grand challenges, including poverty and inequity faced by the base of the pyramid,” London said. “Now more than ever, these students want strategies, frameworks and processes that guide and drive action. They also need to appreciate the unique opportunities and challenges of operating an enterprise in this demanding market environment.

“My goal is to provide them with both an action-oriented toolkit and the contextual knowledge needed to build scalable businesses with substantial social impact.”

His latest book, “The Base of the Pyramid Promise: Building Businesses with Impact and Scale,” was released earlier this year. WDI Publishing has also published many of his case studies

In addition to London, Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at Michigan Ross, was named a Faculty Pioneer Award winner. Hoffman and his graduate students have also authored many case studies found on the WDI Publishing website.

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