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Darwin Festival Lecture - 'Risky behaviour - entrepreneurial adaptations to the business jungle'

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact shelley.gregory-jones.

The Cambridge Darwin Festival, in collaboration with the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) and La Caixa, cordially invites you to attend a special celebration lecture at Judge Business School on 3rd July 2009

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change” Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882)

This quote encapsulates a key Darwinian principle that can be applied successfully not only to the biological but also to the business world. In particular, it can help to explain the special role of entrepreneurs and their approach to risk taking behaviour which, for good or ill, sets them apart from others. The lecture will refer to research published late last year in Nature in which it is asserted that ‘hot’ decision-making – involving the evaluation of reward and punishment – is essential to the entrepreneurial process and may be possible to teach.

Plus: Special video link up with audience in Barcelona, Spain, supported by La Caixa!


6:30pm Welcome

6:35pm Introduction to the overall picture of entrepreneurship by Dr Shailendra Vyakarnam, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning

Followed by Prof Barbara Sahakian FMedSci, Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, presenting an explanation of research recently undertaken to better understand risk taking and decision making among entrepreneurs

7:00pm Question and Answer session – Members of the audience in Cambridge and Barcelona will be able to ask questions and interact with the guest speaker(s)

7:30pm Networking and refreshments in JBS Common Room

8:00pm Close

PLEASE RSVP by 26th June:

Contact in UK – Shelley Gregory-Jones, Darwin 2009 Festival Development Board ( ); Email:

Further information on the research:

In tough periods of economic decline or stagnation and even during periods of stability one of the most sought after qualities in humans has been the ability to innovate, creating new solutions and opportunities. In other words societal progress can at least in part be attributed to entrepreneurial individuals who have made things happen.

But what are the qualities of entrepreneurs that have made this possible? There are probably five preconditions for entrepreneurial action: intention to act, which in turn arises from high levels of self confidence and self belief; a significant enough opportunity to create the purpose for action; personal circumstances that create the perception and desire; ability to make business decisions, which are a mix of know-how and know-what and last but not least the ability to tolerate risk.

N.B: This event is one of a series planned as part of the celebrations for the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth, the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work, ‘On the Origin of Species’, and the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge. We warmly invite you to take part in the celebrations to mark these significant events. Further information is available on the Darwin Festival 2009 web site at

This talk is part of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge Business School series.

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