In the midst of a humanitarian crisis, the natural tendency of organizations is to lean into essential activities and create a defensive strategy to survive. However, when the dust settles, companies will either be defined by what they did during the COVID-19 pandemic—or be defined by the pandemic itself. The magnitude of the economic challenge presented by the crisis may spark a resurgence in the discussion of corporate purpose. That is, not in terms of balancing environmental, social, and governance factors with maximizing shareholder returns, but rather in regards to a company’s reason for existence and its impact on the world.
For businesses, purpose is derived from a need that a company is willing to take action towards. Agile, forward-looking companies across the world have already begun weaving new value propositions to meet new (and urgent) customer needs. It may seem callous to suggest this during such a crisis, but the emerging economic challenge businesses face is an extraordinarily relevant reminder that great opportunity lies within adversity. There is an abundance of opportunity not for exploitation, but rather for businesses to thrive while simultaneously having a positive social impact, whether it be through creating jobs or a new service for consumers.
Change forces creativity as much as creativity drives change. Allowing adversity to be a catalyst for transformation may become the new paradigm for success. Over the past few months our team has examined the challenges that a variety of businesses are currently facing and the opportunities they can take advantage of to reposition themselves. Included are articles proposing the opportunities elicited by failures and changing competitive landscapes that nonprofits and Victoria’s Secret must pursue to create greater value. We also discuss the opportunity banks have to divest in the wake of climate change, and demonstrate how companies can reduce the risk of corporate scandals.
Our articles on Beyond Meat and the National Basketball Association highlight opportunities that leverage existing competitive strengths. Finally, our article discussing research on mindfulness meditation suggests that leaders may need mindfulness practices now more than ever in order to make strong judgements.
The New Business Review is emblematic of the synergy and optimism that is required to challenge existing business positions and to champion bold ideas. As a new, entirely student run publication, it has developed a diverse ecosystem of individuals working together to foster student thought leadership within just four months of existence. Unlike the traditional model of faculty-based journals, our content is not a collection of papers from students’ coursework. Instead, each of the articles you will read comes from several months of intense collaboration between the writer, members of the Editorial Board, and select Faculty members. NBR was founded to provide a platform for student writers—tomorrow’s business leaders—to develop, discuss, and promote vibrant and rigorous business insights. In all, it has proven to create a dynamic learning experience for everyone involved.
I would like to acknowledge the New Business Review’s predecessors, the UBC Business Review Journal (1967-1999) and Sauder Business Review (2014-2015), that were once published annually. With the creation of the New Business Review, we are eager to celebrate a new beginning for student thought leadership at UBC. As a team we also acknowledge that we produced the magazine on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam People.
The following pages house the achievements of numerous UBC students, and are also the product of the extraordinary work done by the founding New Business Review Editorial, Research, and Art teams. The passion and persistence displayed by our writers and team members has been incredibly inspiring. The ultimate goal of any organization’s purpose is the formation of an identity that lives beyond an initial creation or contribution, and I hope you are able to see the impact you had. I would like to thank you for your commitment to making this collective achievement possible.
I would also like to express my utmost gratitude to all those involved in any and all stages of the founding and production of NBR. To President Santa Ono—thank you for encouraging us despite the challenges we faced. Special thanks is given to our Faculty Advisors, who offered unwavering support and invaluable guidance throughout the entire process. A big thank you is also extended to our sponsors who believed in NBR and its value even when it was just an idea. Your collective support has made this initiative a reality.
Lastly, I would like to thank you, the reader, for your interest and continued support. I hope that what follows in the next pages will spark your curiosity, expand your knowledge, and be a source of inspiration. Most of all, I hope this edition will provoke you to think about the opportunity that lies in adversity, and how you can execute on a purpose in both your business and personal endeavours.
Founder, Editor in Chief