Life on Campus / Spring 2016
Creative Destruction Lab

Rotman’s innovation lab is all about disrupting the status quo


Photo of the Creative Destruction Lab signage

Photo courtesy of Creative Destruction Lab

The Creative Destruction Lab was named after economist Joseph Schumpeter’s concept of economic growth as an activity in which older products and processes are continually destroyed and replaced by newer ones. Schumpeter, who coined the term “creative destruction,” cast entrepreneurs in the central role of challenging the status quo.

“Given our focus on bringing university innovations to society through entrepreneurship, I thought the concept of creative destruction fit well with the spirit and nature of our work,” says Ajay Agrawal, a Rotman professor and the founder of the lab.

However, Agrawal questioned whether non-economists would understand the name, and several colleagues resisted the term “destruction.” He says, “Finally, I took the name to the then-director of the lab, Jesse Rodgers, who was deeply steeped in the entrepreneur community and was not an economist… . He responded: ‘It sounds like a punk rock band.’”

They kept the name.

Learn more about U of T’s Creative Destruction Lab

Read more about economist Joseph Schumpeter’s idea of creative destruction.


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