Sui Foundation partnership explores the potential of blockchain

Elias Papaioannou (Wheeler Institute) and Greg Siourounis (Sui Foundation) recently discussed the Sui Foundation’s $1 million gift in support of the Wheeler Institute.

Long-time friends and former LBS classmates Elias Papaioannou, Professor of Economics; Academic Director, Wheeler Institute for Business and Development, and Dr. Greg Siourounis PhD2000, Managing Director of Sui Foundation, recently got together on London Business School’s Sussex Place campus to discuss the Sui Foundation’s generous gift to the Forever Forward campaign in support of the Wheeler Institute.  

Sui Foundation is an independent organisation dedicated to advancing and adopting the Sui blockchain ecosystem. The Wheeler Institute continues to research business solutions to real-world challenges, exploring the potential that blockchain technologies bring. 

We captured some of the discussion on video, which can be viewed above. Read on to find out more about Greg, Elias, and the overarching ambitions of this unique collaboration between the Sui Foundation and the Wheeler Institute. 

Elias: Greg! What is it like to be back here at London Business School? 

Greg: It’s amazing. There are people still around that I haven’t seen for a long time, so it’s great to be back and to see all the things that the School has done in the last 20 years. 

Elias: So, what made you think about London Business School and to initiate this support from the Sui Foundation? 

Greg: As a Foundation, we have three pillars: one is to engage scientists on this new technology that the Sui blockchain is bringing. This goes with the fact that the School is interested in exploring these technologies and how they can be applied into solving real world problems through the lens of research.  

The second pillar, which is quite important for the Foundation, is awareness. What exactly can you do with this technology? This aligns very well with the LBS philosophy as we are trying to answer questions; we are trying to improve lives of people and societies out there. 

The third pillar is community. Community is especially important in all the activities that you do where you want to have an impact. It makes a huge difference and Sui technology is very much about solving problems for the wider public. So, it’s a scalable technology that is trying to bring this new way of solving problems and adapting technology. That was one of the reasons why we wanted to partner with LBS.   

Elias: You and I both share a desire to have a lasting impact and it’s fantastic that you have given LBS an opportunity to consider blockchain technology, which is a very new technology to us. 

With the Sui Foundation’s donation, the Wheeler Institute is in the process of implementing some exciting initiatives. We’ve been able to go to the LBS research community, including PhD students like we used to, and with your support we can now fund early-stage research in technology with an application to business. We increasingly have a significant community of post-doctoral scholars who are interested in this area of research, and we want to see more research coming from LBS in the field of blockchain, including the Sui protocol. 

We have also launched an Open Access course, which is more technical, but it’s very important nowadays for building skills and training young professionals on the applications and analysis of geospatial data. 

And finally, we have our growing communities: in Africa, in India, and across the world. Your donation will allow us to scale up our work in this area as access to blockchain technology is important in expanding our outreach. And as you know, we’re very happy with your support because this will allow us to take what we have done so far, build on it, and expand. 

Greg: This is all amazing because it aligns with what the Sui Foundation is mandated to do. Technology itself should solve problems, not create them, and it should also be very accessible. So, accessibility for us is very important and I’m happy that we have made this collaboration because of our joint commitment to solving real-world problems. 

One of the overarching principles of the Wheeler Institute is to develop informed communities of practice. By communities of practice, I mean having individuals like you, alumni, stakeholders like the Sui Foundation as well as faculty, students and the broader LBS community all coming together and being at the forefront of cultivating change and being part of the solution by developing cutting-edge progress. 

Greg: This is also why we wanted to partner with a top business school like LBS, because we think that there are two types of change that we can bring. Either you generate the change at a grassroots level – from the bottom up – or you make the leaders of tomorrow aware of the key capabilities of this new technology, which is exactly what LBS is doing. 

Elias: I understand that in computer science or electrical engineering, this technology has been around for at least a couple of years, but in business education, we’re very privileged and honoured that we will be amongst the first to produce some preliminary research.  

Greg:  We must thank LBS for being open to exploring new technologies. There are a couple of technologies that we see as being relevant to LBS in the future, but they are yet to be assimilated into the curriculums of global business schools. Blockchain and AI (Artificial Intelligence) might look like two separate fields, but they are very much interlinked. In the future we will see that these technologies prevail in every application out there to solve issues or problems that arise. It’s good that you will be one of the first global schools and with your support and willingness to do so, we’ll be able to harness these two technologies. We think that’s the future. 

Elias: For any academic institution, including LBS, it is challenging when innovation happens in real time. Research is becoming increasingly more data intensive and much more resource dependent. And the generosity of the Foundation comes at a critical juncture for the ongoing technological revolution. Your donation will provide us research funding to try to understand those issues first. 

Greg: We are happy that we are the catalyst of that change. We have a very strong trust when it comes to the LBS faculty, so it’s just a matter of asking the right questions. And of course, as this research becomes more available, it will generate more demand and more interest from other donors.  

I would urge everybody that wants to explore this technology to consider investing in LBS as their top priority and preference. It has the capacity, the human capital, and the professorship to be able to answer these questions in a constructive way. If we don’t invest in education, it will be very difficult to generate any innovation and, subsequently, for that innovation to be transformed into a growth. 

If we really care about long term education, innovation and about changing the world, there is a way to spend wisely and invest in that. The way to do that is through institutions like LBS. I want to be the example of our industry on how we can initiate research activities and a discussion around this new technology. 

Elias: Thank you, Greg. Hopefully with your support, we can expand our outreach and have an even bigger global impact.