Good Disruption

”Good Disruption” is a lively discussion between UVA Darden School of Business Professors Mike Lenox and Yael Grushka-Cockayne on cutting edge technologies and practices that are challenging the status quo. They then make their personal call on whether this is a good disruption, bad disruption, or actually no disruption.

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Monday Jul 01, 2024

Let’s talk lettuce. Every year Americans consume 30 pounds of lettuce per capita, a fivefold increase from the previous century, with more than 90% of it grown in California and Arizona. What happens when that supply chain is threatened? 
We saw a glimpse of the disruption in 2021, when US production dropped 11% and prices rose 17% because of pests, severe weather, and increased demand during the pandemic. With rising temperatures and more extreme weather patterns forecasted for the years to come, it’s time we rethink how we grow and distribute food.
Beanstalk Farms co-founder Jack Ross joins Mike and Yael for this episode to talk about the nutritional and environmental benefits of indoor, vertically farmed produce and the need to build a more resilient, decentralized US food system that prioritizes fresh over processed.

Monday Jun 03, 2024

Gen Xers will remember Knight Rider, a television show in the 1980s about a crime fighter who battles bad guys with the help of a technologically advanced Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that drives itself and talks, all powered by artificial intelligence. At that time, the idea of a self-driving car was futuristic; but now 40 years later, some elements of autonomy are available in passenger vehicles as a standard offering. Just how close are we to fully automated vehicles and how will transportation itself change as a result?
Mike and Yael talk with Will Shepherdson, Darden alum (MBA’21) Product Manager at Waymo, and Madhur Behl, an Associate Professor in Computer Science at UVA. Waymo operates autonomous ride-hailing services in Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin. Professor Behl conducts research at the confluence of Machine Learning, Predictive Control, and Artificial Intelligence with applications in Cyber-Physical Systems, Autonomous Systems, Robotics, and Smart Cities.
Look for new episodes of Good Disruption on the first Monday of each month!
Podcast photo image of Waymo vehicle courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Monday May 06, 2024

Garments that respond to body movements, intricate laced dresses using plastics and resins, highly sculpted pieces with complex geometric shapes. The use of 3D printing in the fashion industry is allowing designers to think outside the box, in both materials and creativity. Major fashion houses Adidas, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Reebok, Tommy Hilfiger, and others are using 3D printing to bring new ideas to life while helping to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint.
The impacts of this multi-billion fashion industry are estimated at 10% of global carbon emissions and 20% of global clean water pollution.  The production process is also responsible for significant waste – an estimated 35% of materials used in the supply chain ends up as waste.
In this episode of Good Disruption, Mike and Yael are joined by Naomi Kaempfer, Creative Director for Art, Design, and Fashion at Stratasys, a leader in industrial 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions, materials and services, to discuss how the fashion industry can benefit from 3D printing by creating customizable, fully digital products that reduce waste and improve supply chain efficiency. Together they look at the potential for improvements in creative design and ponder the impact on traditional industries from customizable and “intelligent” clothing.
For more information about our guest on this episode, visit
Good Disruption is now releasing monthly on the first Monday! Join us again in June for another exciting topic.
Thumbnail image for this podcast Designed by Freepik.

Monday Feb 05, 2024

From the explosion of Generative AI to the evolution of the hybrid workplace, disruption has become the “norm” for business. How will business and society be shaped by disruption in 2024?
Yael and Mike are joined by Devin Bigoness, Executive Director & Chief Client Officer for Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning, to explore just a few of the emerging technologies and trends, as well as ongoing concerns, that senior leaders need to be ready to manage and leverage in 2024, including:
Top-of-mind issues for CEOs
What ChatGPT says are the top 5 trends in 2024
Adoption of AI/tech in business and integrating tech into the classroom — including how Darden's flagship advanced management experience, The Executive Program (TEP) has evolved to include a core metaverse experience used throughout the program and explores how other industries are implementing new tech to enhance training, customer experience, etc.

Wednesday Dec 13, 2023

Happy Anniversary to Good Disruption! It's been an interesting year of good, bad, and no disruptions. From generative AI, NFTs, and cryptocurrency to renewable energy and clean meat, Yael and Mike review their predictions and discuss whether they still hold up. 

Tuesday Nov 07, 2023

The proliferation of AI has given rise to fear of job replacement across many industries, including entertainment. Technologies like Chat GPT and AI-facilitated computer-generated imagery (CGI) threaten the livelihoods of tens of thousands of writers and actors. In April 2023, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Months later, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) followed suit. In their list of demands – protection from the use of AI by studios.  Is this a real or perceived threat and what is the potential impact on the consumer experience?
Mike and Yael speak with Anthony Palomba, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at UVA Darden. Palomba teaches leadership communication and storytelling with data at Darden. His research explores how technology innovation influences competition among entertainment and media firms and the deployment of these technologies to better understand consumer and firm behaviors.

Wednesday Feb 08, 2023

The COVID pandemic forced people to work from home and left many questioning the value of going back into the office. Employee surveys suggest that most workers want to retain some form of remote work, either full-time or hybrid.  In response to this shift, large companies like Twitter, Slack, and Salesforce have announced new hybrid work plans.  It seems that fully working on-site is a thing of the past.
There are many emotional, societal, and environmental benefits to remote working.  No longer are employees tied to city centers with higher costs of living and reduced travel will lower greenhouse gas emissions. There are also benefits to companies, with some research suggesting that remote workers are more productive. Yet, challenges like Zoom fatigue and team collaboration exist.  How do organizations navigate this new normal?
Mike and Yael speak with Roshni Raveendhran, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at UVA Darden. Roshni's research focuses on understanding the future of work. She examines how technological advancements influence organizational actors, workplace practices and the management of employees. In doing so, she develops insights about how organizations can effectively integrate novel technologies into the workplace to manage their employees and address the changing nature of work.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter @TalkDisruption.

Wednesday Feb 08, 2023

One quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the US is attributed to electricity production. Greening the grid is critical to our ability to decarbonize the economy and after decades of investment and technology improvements we are finally at a tipping point with renewables. Utility-scale solar and wind power are cost-competitive with natural gas even without incentives. Renewable energy sources now account for more than 20% of electricity generation.  
Yet, challenges exist to broader adoption, including the need for a massive build-out of energy storage on the grid. What policies and actions are underway to overcome these barriers? How might other clean technologies like green hydrogen and geothermal play a role in decarbonizing the US grid?
Mike and Yael speak with Sandy Reisky, Founder and Board Member for Apex Clean Energy.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter @TalkDisruption.

Good Disruption: Episode 9- NFTs

Wednesday Feb 08, 2023

Wednesday Feb 08, 2023

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet – "just setting up my twttr" – sold for more than $2.9 million. Bored Ape Yacht Club digital art pieces fetch just over $100,000. NBA Top Shot sells digital NBA moments for millions of dollars. Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are making this possible. But is it more hype than reality?
In previous episodes we explored the phenomenon of algorithms creating art and music and touched on the idea of NFTs representing personal data. In this episode we dig deeper into the growing NFT market. Will NFTs be more broadly adopted or limited to the wealthy? What are the potential negative externalities associated with using NFTs, such as energy consumption, malicious behavior, and equal access?
Mike and Yael speak with Dennie Kim, Associate Professor of Business Administration at UVA Darden. Dennie’s research examines the design and performance of whole organizational networks, and the emergence and evolution of new industries. His current work examines multiple contexts, including disparities in healthcare delivery, healthcare reform, whisky, and blockchain applications, including NFTs.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter @TalkDisruption.

Wednesday Feb 08, 2023

Deepfakes once used purely for entertainment purposes are becoming more pervasive on social media and, in some alarming cases, more sinister. Take last year’s video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy where he appeared to tell soldiers to surrender to Russia. The video underscores the potential damage that deepfakes could cause if there are not protections in place.
Yet, there are also benefits from automation in content generation. The use of deep learning algorithms like GPT-3 offer the ability handle, manage, release, and edit more content over time. But there is also a danger that comes with this automation. We could find ourselves in a world where most of the content being consumed on the internet daily is created by fewer and fewer people and companies. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? How do policymakers protect people from the dangers of misinformation? 
Mike and Yael talk with Dr Tom Chatfield (@TomChatfield), a British author and tech philosopher. Tom’s non-fiction books explore digital culture, including How To Thrive in the Digital Age (Pan Macmillan).
Be sure to follow us on Twitter @TalkDisruption.

Monday Jan 30, 2023

Here on the Good Disruption podcast we talk a lot about technologies, but what about the person behind the disruption?  To tackle wicked problems like climate change, not only do we need innovative technologies but also, innovators who introduce solutions that benefit society more broadly.  What makes a good disruptor?  How can we move the needle on climate change?  Mike and Yael talk with Chrissa Pagitsas (MBA ’09), Laure Katz (GEMBA ’16) and Chanceé Lundy Russell to discuss these and other questions around sustainability during UVA Darden’s 2022 Women in Leadership Summit.

Monday Sep 19, 2022

For many patients battling disease, working with their doctors to find the most effective treatment can be a painful exercise of trial and error. What if you could more precisely choose medications and customize treatment based on people’s genes, environment, and lifestyle?
Today, this type of customization is possible thanks to the Human Genome Project, which published the full sequence of the human genome in 2013. The release of this data provided clinicians the opportunity to identify genetic variations of thousands of diseases and has led to the rise of a new way to treat patients through personalized or precision medicine. Yet, creating a detailed and complete view of individual patients requires an incredible amount of computing power and there are concerns around accessibility, profiling, discrimination, and privacy with access to personal data.

Monday Sep 19, 2022

In 2018, Director Steven Spielberg released the movie Ready Player One. Set in the year 2045, the movie depicts a virtual world, Oasis, where players can escape their everyday lives to be whoever they want and do whatever they want through an avatar. Fantasy? Perhaps, but big tech players like Facebook are betting on the idea becoming a reality. Last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of the company to Meta, a move that appears to be a strategic positioning tactic for the next digital frontier.
What exactly is the metaverse? What are the challenges in building an interactive virtual world? Which technologies will get us there? How will players – particularly younger ones – be protected while engaging with others?

Monday Sep 19, 2022

Livestock farming represents more than 60% of agriculture GHG emissions. Cattle account for most of these emissions and are the primary drivers of deforestation. If we want to reduce the global impact of beef, we need to think differently about how we grow and source it.
Across the U.S., new plant-based alternatives are showing up on menus, offering customers similar taste and texture as beef, but without the carbon footprint. Chains like Burger King, Carl Jr., and Starbucks are offering Impossible and Beyond Meat products. Still, many beef lovers are hesitant to make the switch. What if you could promise real beef but without the environmental impact or even, without a herd? In steps cultivated meat, where beef is grown from cow cells in a laboratory.
Podcast image courtesy of World Economic Forum, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday Sep 19, 2022

When Ludwig van Beethoven died in 1827, he left his 10th symphony unfinished. Working off just a few musical sketches and notes by the composer, a team of computer scientists at Rutgers University-based start-up Playform AI trained an artificial intelligence to mimic his style and complete the symphony. The finished product was performed by The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn on October 9, 2021.
The use of AI for creative endeavors is not new, but more recently interest in using it for music composition has exploded. Machine learning promises to increase the pace and volume of content released by artists and makes music and composition more accessible to budding new artists. On one hand it helps to feed the seemingly insatiable desire for new content on streaming platforms but on the other, it threatens originality. There is also the question of “who owns the music that the software produces” – is it the programmer, the musician, or the AI itself?

Monday Sep 19, 2022

Ten years ago, a group of Stanford professors founded Coursera, an online education platform that allows university partners to offer courses using a subscription-based model. Known in the industry as MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, the company has provided access to more than 95 million learners. These MOOCs have allowed universities to engage a broader audience not able to be reached through traditional means. Market analysts report a year over year increase in online learning, both nationally and globally. In 2021, MOOCs had reached more than 200 million people. The COVID pandemic has only accelerated this trend with most schools forced to move all classes online. Concerns around the rising costs of higher education are increasing the pressure on many universities to consider digital offerings. It’s clear that disruption is underway, but where are the opportunities and what are the risks to top-tier universities?

Monday Sep 19, 2022

Bitcoin. Tether. Dogecoin. These are some of the most popular cryptocurrencies being traded around the world. The sheer number of crypto options available today suggests significant market disruption is underway. Building on open source blockchain technology, developers have created more than 4,500 cryptocurrencies. Yet, where there is hype there is also volatility. Just last year, the value of Bitcoin dropped by $6 billion within weeks of Tesla announcing that it would not accept it and China warning that it would block all crypto exchanges. After recovering and reaching an all-time high later in the year, the price once again dipped at the beginning of 2022. Is it merely the newness of crypto that is causing this volatility or does the concern go deeper? What are the benefits of shifting the economy toward digital currencies? What are the concerns? Who will benefit?

Monday Sep 19, 2022

The automobile industry is in the middle of a significant disruption. Initially led by Tesla, new companies like Rivian and Lucid are emerging while GM, Ford, and other incumbent manufacturers are scrambling to introduce new electric models and shift inventory away from gas-powered cars. Eighteen of the twenty largest car manufacturers representing 90% of global new vehicle sales have committed to expanding their electric offerings. Today, more than 10 million electric vehicles are on the road, with 3 million of that added just in 2020. Electric vehicles are on track to become the dominant technology over the next 10-20 years.  But do we truly understand all the implications of this shift? Are we ready for it?

Monday Sep 19, 2022

Welcome to "Good Disruption", a lively discussion between UVA Darden School of Business Professors Mike Lenox and Yael Grushka-Cockayne on cutting edge technologies and practices that are challenging the status quo. They then make their personal call on whether this is a good disruption, bad disruption, or actually no disruption. Subscribe to Darden Ideas to Action podcasts on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts!


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