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Dr. Laurence B.  Mussio Image

Dr. Laurence B. Mussio

Scholar and Author; CEO, Signal Influence Executive Research and Communications; Co-Founder, Long Run Initiative; Lecturer, Schulich School of Business at York University, Toronto

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Dr. Laurence B. Mussio has spent his professional career studying and writing books about how big decision-making engines in finance, government, and technology shape and are shaped by the world around them. As CEO of his own consulting company, Signal Influence Executive Research and Communications (SIERC), he is also an active entrepreneur. The result of these hybrid activities is that he offers a unique perspective on human judgement in action. Dr. Mussio is able to connect insight and hindsight to contemporary leadership challenges in a compelling, engaging, and creative way.

His remarkable ability to write for, speak to, and connect with both professional and popular audiences in hundreds of public appearances is one of the distinguishing hallmarks of his career.

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Dr. Laurence Mussio | Keynote Remarks for BMO

Bio

Dr. Laurence B. Mussio has spent his professional career working and writing at the intersection of the private, public, and academic worlds. His career has been built on connecting research and insight to helping leaders understand and deal with leadership challenges.

In the last decade, Dr. Mussio led a massive research project to capture the history of one of North America’s most important financial institutions. The result was the landmark publication, in 2020, of a two-volume history of the Bank of Montreal, called "Whom Fortune Favours: Bank of Montreal and the Rise of North American Finance." The historian Niall Ferguson called Dr. Mussio’s book an “exemplary, deeply researched and insightful history” of one of North America’s founding financial institutions.

The culmination of Dr. Mussio’s work on decision-making and management comes with his current and most exciting work on artificial intelligence and human judgement. "The Decisionmaker’s Dilemma: Artificial Intelligence vs. Human Judgement," coming out in 2022, will focus on what AI targets most profoundly: human judgement.

Speech Topics

Few people understand how profoundly Artificial Intelligence (AI) will reorganize the way we work and the way we live. AI is replacing and exceeding human intelligence and human judgement. If the social media revolution targeted our social systems, then AI targets our decision-making systems themselves: our human judgement. But, like the social media revolution, the real story is not so much about technology as it is about human judgement and decision-making in the face of this technology.


Through compelling storytelling and armed with the long-run lens of an historian of decision-making, Dr. Mussio examines the stakes, the challenges and the opportunities as AI gets integrated deeper and deeper into our decision-making systems


How to successfully preserve what’s best in human judgement and what’s human in decision-making  is at the core of Dr. Mussio’s reflections. The focus on AI and human judgement provides a great opportunity to connect an incredible technological advance with the elements shaping what we decide and how we decide.


Dr. Laurence B. Mussio has spent his professional career studying leaders, organizations and institutions and how they respond to the world around them. He has published books about how big decision-making engines in finance, government and technology shape, and are shaped by, the world around them. Dr. Mussio can thus offer a unique perspective on human judgement in action, connecting insight from hindsight to contemporary leadership challenges in a compelling, engaging and creative way. The culmination of Dr. Mussio’s work on decision-making and management comes with his current and most exciting work on artificial intelligence and human judgement. The Decisionmaker’s Dilemma: Artificial Intelligence vs. Human Judgement, coming out in 2022, will focus on what AI targets most profoundly: human judgement.


The public corporation as we know it today is increasingly at the centre of an emerging debate about its proper role in society. Grand challenges posed by globalization, technology, and the uncertain future of work have put the corporation in the spotlight. Declining trust in institutions, environmental degradation, concerns about both social cohesion and the future of work have opened up a global debate on the role and purpose of the corporation, and the need to reconceptualize it. The global Pandemic has simply put these questions front and centre.


In this evolving context, what role does the corporation play? How does it change the relationship between the state and private interests? What role do supranational institutions play? Business and corporate historian Dr. Laurence B. Mussio’s speech will examine some of the key questions surrounding the future of the corporation through both the long-run and the contemporary lens. Using compelling storytelling about past experience, present challenges and future opportunities, Dr. Mussio outlines some of the challenges and opportunities available as we shape the future of the public corporation.


Dr. Mussio has spent his career studying and writing about institutions and decision-making. In the last decade, he has worked on studying, analyzing and writing about one of North America’s most important financial institutions, BMO Financial Group. The work  resulted in a landmark two-volume publication called Whom Fortune Favours: Bank of Montreal and the Rise of North American Finance, published in 2020 by McGill-Queen’s University Press (Montreal, New York and London). Dr. Mussio is CEO of Signal Influence Executive Research & Communications (SIERC) Canada and a Co-Founder/Director of the Long Run Initiative (LRI), a global project based in Canada and the United Kingdom focused on providing long-run insights to contemporary grand challenges.


Should companies leverage their long-run experience to inform strategy in the here and now? If the answer is yes, how can they do it? This speech is aimed at decision-makers in organizations and how they can uncover and leverage the power of their own experience. It makes the ‘case for context’: to understand that a company’s own experience, or their industry’s experience, contains a potentially critical source of insight into the decisions that face them every day– if executives took the time to see the bigger picture. As executives move up the ranks, they discover the following: the debates and patterns over time are similar, but the details are different. Understanding both can generate new and relevant perspectives.


We live in a world where the focus on the day-to-day, the short term, the quarter, the year-end, dominates. Pervasive information technology and communications has made matters much more complicated by emphasizing immediacy and speed over quality, rapid response over strategic thinking.


Nothing in the contemporary world better illustrates the value of long-run data to the decision engines in enterprise and government, than what is coming in artificial intelligence. Yet the challenge is not a technological one. Rather, it is one to which human decision-makers themselves need to respond. Data becomes analysis; analysis becomes intelligence. That transformation requires a unique kind of human expertise. Think about that intelligence as EXI – Experiential Intelligence.


Dr. Mussio provides the unique perspective of a professional working, consulting and writing at the crossroads of business, government and academic worlds. His position as the ultimate “inside-outsider” in these worlds allows him to integrate insights from all three – as a consultant to management and an historian of business, government and technology. Known for his thoughtful analysis and remarkable ability to mobilize context to make sense of decision-making (as well as his charismatic delivery style), Dr. Mussio makes the case for why executives should, and how they can put their long-run experience at the executive table.


When disaster strikes, business and economic historians are asked to compare what they study with what everybody is experiencing. When a massive catastrophe strikes, like the coronavirus pandemic, the power of the unprecedented seems to leave historical analogies in the dust. In this hurricane, can a long-run perspective provide any guidance in the face of this extraordinary moment? The answer is yes. But it’s complicated.  As the American novelist William Faulkner once wrote – the past isn’t dead — it’s not even the past! In this scenario, Context Is King. Executives are finding themselves having to “go deep” to understand, analyze and navigate these strange waters.


In this compelling and wide-ranging speech and using examples drawn from a variety of sectors, senior business historian Dr. Laurence B. Mussio argues the case for knowing about and leveraging your long-run experience. Through compelling storytelling of organizations that have done exactly that, this speech makes the case that, especially in these turbulent and transformational times, capturing your company’s corporate experience and putting it to work around the strategic decision-making table has never been more important. In both the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 and the Pandemic of the early 2020s, seemingly unprecedented times challenged policymakers and executives. Even in these extraordinary situations, the long-run experience of people, institutions and societies can and have acted as a guide to a deeper understanding of what’s happening, and how it’s all connected. Unlocking experience is like unlocking a better tool set — if we only know how to draw on the accumulated experience of people who have faced similar problems in the past.


Dr. Mussio has spent his career studying and writing about institutions and decision-making. In the last decade, he has written on North America’s most important financial institutions, BMO Financial Group. The work  resulted in a landmark two-volume publication Whom Fortune Favours: Bank of Montreal and the Rise of North American Finance, published in 2020 by McGill-Queen’s University Press (Montreal, New York and London). CEO of Signal Influence Executive Research & Communications (SIERC Canada), and a Co-Founder/Director of the Long Run Initiative (LRI), a global project based in Canada and the United Kingdom focused on providing long-run insights to contemporary grand challenges. He has taught in the undergraduate and graduate schools of several Canadian and US universities and currently teaches at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto.


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