2022 FFI Global Conference Call for Proposals
Call for Proposals
FFI 2022 – Boston/Cambridge Conference
October 26-29, 2022
Academic Host: MIT Sloan School of Management
Family Enterprise and the Fourth Economy:
Internal and External Pressures to Change and Adapt

Call for Proposals is now closed. Program to be announced in March.

In 2022, our academic host is MIT Sloan School of Management, located in Cambridge’s Kendall Square — often dubbed the “most innovative square mile on planet Earth.” Together we have chosen the overarching theme of Family Enterprise and the Fourth Economy: Internal and External Pressures to Change and Adapt to guide our thinking. Under this broad umbrella, we have identified four topics to explore when we meet in October.

They are briefly described below:

  • Changing Family Demographics: As life expectancy pushes past old records, people are living longer, birth rates are decreasing worldwide, and baby boomers are entering their senior years, just to name a few. The aging of the world’s populations and other demographic trends have profound implications for multi-generational family enterprises, advisors, and researchers. What demographic changes and changes in family dynamics and culture are your clients experiencing? How can you help them build family unity in this new era?
  • Environmental Sustainability: Societies, industries (and their supply chains), companies, and families are suffering from the destabilizing effects of climate change that include flooding and water shortages, violent weather patterns, air and water pollution, and physical risks that individuals endure from environmental degradation. Governments and others are ramping up efforts to create a sustainable economy and to limit pollution from businesses and households. Researchers are producing promising new technologies. Entrepreneurs are building significant wealth through new approaches to doing business. Can these combined efforts save us from life-altering changes? In any case, we need to understand how to guide family enterprises in this new era.
  • Future of Work: As digitization, AI, automation, and robotics are transforming the workplace, how will work get done over the coming years? How will work be influenced by core family enterprise concerns and considerations, such as generational and social shifts? What new skills and understandings do families and family firms need to build in this new era?
  • Societal Trends: For the past several decades, global prosperity, living standards, and longevity have increased, and the number of people living in severe poverty has fallen dramatically. On the other hand, income, wealth, and education inequality have risen, and societies are reeling from internal pressures to find a new equilibrium in which more can benefit from capitalism. During the next decade, researchers are anticipating increasing dissatisfaction in society, even in advanced economies. As relevant economic actors in all countries, family enterprises will need to find ways to navigate the challenges, opportunities, and dilemmas that will be posed by key societal trends.
Call for Educational Sessions Proposals
From December 3, 2021, to January 28, 2022, the FFI conference program committee invites proposals for educational sessions that illuminate and generate innovative approaches corresponding to the above four themes. Below, we suggest topics to be addressed and questions to be considered in the education sessions of the conference. You are not limited to these topics, but let them guide your proposal for an education session.

  • Changing Family Demographics
    • How is the demographic of an aging society disrupting enterprising families?
    • What impact does the increasing coexistence of different generations have on shared vision, expected risk, and leadership in the family business?
    • How do demographic trends, such as the delay of younger generations in reaching key life stages, gender fluidity, shifting ideas of “traditional roles,” influence the configuration and transition of leadership in family businesses?
    • Do (or how) do demographic changes drive innovation in family enterprises and in family investment portfolios?
  • Environmental Sustainability
    • How can family enterprises develop a shared sense of purpose and build momentum for change toward environmental sustainability? Where and how are decisions related to environmental sustainability made? How can progress and the effects of environmental sustainability strategies be measured?
    • How can families address the risks facing legacy polluting businesses in a moment of changing regulatory and social expectations? How can advisors help families divest from pollutants, transform their operations, and invest in a changing world?
    • What are the unique roles of family enterprises in environmental sustainability, as they combine activities like impact investing, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility in the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy?
    • How can family enterprises move from fragmented activities by individual family members or business units toward a cohesive family social impact strategy in domains like environmental sustainability?
  • Future of Work
    • How are family enterprises adapting their culture and governance to integrate innovation and technological change into their vision and business models?
    • Who within the family enterprise is leading the shift towards automation and robotics in the workplace? Are next-generation members leading this change? What challenges does this create between them and the current generation?
    • What is the future of consulting, facilitation, and coaching work given AI and digital technology? What kind of knowledge and skills will consulting teams need to support clients in their paths towards new models of work?
    • How do university-based family enterprise/owners educational programs harness the innovation that is taking place in the education field?
  • Societal Trends
    • How are political and social tensions affecting shareholder relationships and the familie’s commitment to the business and to building unity?
    • In what ways can families use the various parts of the family enterprise system (e.g., operating business, family offices, and foundations) to pursue environmental and social impact activities and to generate positive, memorable social change? What is the role of family and corporate philanthropy in addressing societal needs? Does traditional philanthropy have the transformational capacity to address today’s societal challenges?
    • How are enterprising families adapting boards and decision-making structures to address today’s challenges and change direction?
    • There is a growing awareness and conviction that current societal pressures will have a long-term impact on family businesses and family office investment portfolios. What changes can be seen in management of these risks?

General topics: In addition to these four themes, submissions relating to topics of continuing interest to our community are also welcome, e.g., family wealth, the role of owners, succession and transition, next generation development, family office topics, and opportunities for bridging gaps between research and practice.

More details:

  • Proposals should be designed for advisors, consultants, academics, and researchers and should focus on how these stakeholders are being called to help families and their enterprises change and adapt to new internal and external pressures.
  • A variety of presentational formats will be considered, e.g., individual presentations, interviews, and small panels that address cross-cultural, multi-generational, and interdisciplinary topics.
  • Presentations with technological components are encouraged.
  • All submissions must be made online.
  • Late submissions will not be accepted or considered by the Program Committee.
  • Please note: All sessions are 60 minutes
2022 FFI Annual Global Conference Program Committee
Chair: John Davis, MIT Sloan School of Management and Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, Cambridge, MA, USA
Patricia Annino, Rimon Law, Boston, MA, USA
Alexis du Roy de Blicquy, Family Business Network, Lausanne, Switzerland
Mary K. Duke, Independent Advisor to Families, Greenwich, CT, USA
Neus Feliu, Lansberg Gersick & Advisors, Barcelona, Spain
Jason Jay, MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, MA, USA