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The following article was published by the Globe and Mail on March 13. Not every student who shows up for an undergraduate business degree or an MBA wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. But a whole lot of them do. That’s why business schools are increasingly offering courses and programs that teach innovation – both in an entrepreneurial context and as an approach to business in general. They do so in the face of […]

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Whether it’s in the delivery of state-of-the-art smart phones or innovative health care, design thinking is an increasingly critical element for businesses and organizations in 2012. For David Dunne, Beedie School of Business Adjunct Senior Fellow, the intersection of design and business translates into major challenges and opportunities for managers, entrepreneurs and other leaders.

Design thinking is defined as approaching management problems as designers approach design problems. Though it has been traditionally associated with product and service design, it also has important implications for management, something recognized increasingly by both academic research and the business press.

Dunne, an award-winning management educator, author and consultant who is jointly appointed with the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, joined Simon Fraser University earlier this year. He combines international experience as a senior executive with an outstanding record as an academic.

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As the Miami Heat professional basketball team duels with the Oklahoma City Heat Thunder in the NBA Finals for the league’s biggest prize, new academic research from SFU’s Beedie School of Business is putting the spotlight on the business thinking that brought the Miami team together. Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Lebron James’ decision to play with a higher-profile Heat team and all-star teammates shows sound marketing and career-management acumen, according to the newly-published article focused on the evolution and importance of star status for today’s professional athletes.

In order to maximize their earnings and endorsements, today’s celebrity athletes — from James to David Beckham to Peyton Manning — need to be mindful of the evolution of their star status. That in turn has major implications for the teams they choose to play for, and the teams they turn down or leave behind.

So what makes a star shine even brighter in the world of pro sports? It’s a combination of not only personal performances and team records, but also includes the markets that athletes play in and the star calibre of the athletes they compete with.

The study, “Investigating the evolution of star status in professional team sports,” describes the rise and fall of celebrated athletes using data from the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1987 to 2008.

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Will Mitchell didn’t come by his decision to attend business school lightly. As an 18 year old, he was pouring lead slag into a furnace for a living at a lead-zinc smelter in Trail, BC when he decided to heed the call of higher learning – from Simon Fraser University.

Mitchell, whose parents were both teachers, grew up in the scenic West Kootenay communities of Trail and Fruitvale. Geographically, he was hundreds of kilometres from the West Coast and the top of Burnaby Mountain. Psychologically, the distance was even further.

But the lure of SFU was neither dulled nor diminished by distance or geography.

At the time, Simon Fraser University was a young institution with a reputation for flexibility and radicalism. The young Mitchell couldn’t resist the mix – and in a matter of days he had made the transition from the smoke-belching smelter to classes in political science, sociology, anthropology, English and math.

“At SFU,” he says, “you could do very interesting things.”

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