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Allen Wang

Filipe Santos

Visiting Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at INSEAD


Filipe Santos is Visiting Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at INSEAD. He is the Dean and Chaired Professor at Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics. He received the Schwab Foundation Social Innovation Thought Leader Award in 2019.

Prof. Santos was a full-time faculty member of INSEAD since September 2003 and left in January 2015 to lead a new government initiative called Portugal Social Innovation that aims to catalyze a social investment market in Portugal to consolidate the social entrepreneurship and innovation eco-system in the country. At INSEAD, Professor Santos led ICE - INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship from 2009 to 2013 and was the founding Academic Director of the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Initiative from 2007 to 2015.

Professor Santos’ research received more than 7500 citations in Google Scholar and has been published in journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Business Ethics and California Management Review, as well as several books and book chapters. His work lies at the intersection of strategy, organization theory and entrepreneurship and focus on the emerging field of social entrepreneurship and social innovation. He is particularly interested in understanding the processes through which entrepreneurs construct new firms and markets. He is also interested in the growth and scaling up processes of new ventures in order to maximize economic and social impact. Related research interests are on business model innovation, impact investing, corporate social entrepreneurship, and family business.

Professor Santos taught courses on entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship in the INSEAD MBA, EMBA and Executive Education programs and co-directed the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program (ISEP) since 2007. He also developed the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp which has been adopted by partners worldwide. He co-founded IES – Social Business School and the Labortatory for Social Investment in Portugal. He regularly speaks on topics of entrepreneurship, social innovation and impact investing. He also mentors entrepreneurs and advises venture investors.

A native of Portugal, Professor Santos holds a PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. He also holds an MSc. Degree in Industrial Strategy and Management from Lisbon Technical University, and an Economics degree from Lisbon New University. He was the recipient of the Lieberman Fellowship at Stanford University, an award recognizing outstanding scholarship and institutional contributions. He also received in 1996 the award for best MSc. student. His doctoral thesis "Constructing Markets and Shaping Boundaries: Entrepreneurial Action in Nascent Markets" was finalist for the Heizer 2004 Entrepreneurship Award. He received an Honourable Mention for Best Paper at the 2006 Strategic Management Society Conference and the 2008 IDEA award for Research Promise from the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division. He also won the 2008 award for Best Teacher in Elective Courses at the INSEAD GEMBA program. He was the finalist for the same award in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and received the Deans’ commendation for excellence in MBA teaching in 2010. He also received the EFMD 2012 award for best case in the Africa category with the Nuru Energy case series.

September 2019

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Assessing the Impact Potential of Investments in Social Entrepreneurship

Last July, in Lugano – Switzerland, I spoke at the first-ever conference on Partnering for Global Impact (PGI). This is an annual platform, organized in collaboration with INSEAD, dedicated to impact investors and social entrepreneurs, so that both sides can meet and make deals that support the scaling up of social enterprises.


A New Perspective on the Longevity and Success of Family Firms

A common statistic presented by many researchers and consultants on family business suggests that only 30% of family firms are able to succeed to the second generation of the family, with the number decreasing to 13% for the third generation and a mere 3% for the fourth generation. This last number suggests that fewer than 1 in 30 entrepreneurs could aspire to keep their firms healthy and family controlled by the 4th generation, 60-80 years later. This somewhat depressing number is used as evidence of the challenges in managing family firms and the difficulty of passing the leadership to the next generation.


The Challenge of Innovation: How companies can stay at the top in the 21st Century

Charles Dow, the American journalist who, in the late 19th century, first popularized the stock market index, always chose the most stable and reliable companies to be part of his index. Yet, of the first 100 corporations ever listed in the Dow-Jones index , only one still remains today– General Electric. All others went bankrupt or became a shadow of their former greatness.