Jason Jay

Senior Lecturer, Sustainability

Director, Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan


Jason Jay

Jason Jay is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan.  

He teaches courses on leadership, strategy, and innovation for sustainable business. Jason engages students and alumni in hands-on projects with leading companies and organizations. These efforts help build a community of innovators for sustainability that includes MIT students and alumni, faculty and researchers, with partners in business, government, NGOs, and hybrid organizations. 

Jason’s research focuses on how people navigate the tensions inherent in the quest for sustainability, as they simultaneously pursue their own self-interest and the flourishing of human and other life. This work includes deep case studies of cross-sectoral collaboration and hybrid organizations that combine social and business goals. These case studies have been published in the Academy of Management Journal and California Management Review. He also contributes to the MIT Sloan Management Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Greenbiz on the topic of sustainability-oriented innovation (SOI). A key finding of his research is that social innovation occurs through authentic conversations that hold the tension between divergent values and perspectives. With Gabriel Grant, he is the author of Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World.

As a facilitator and consultant, Jason has helped advance sustainability strategy with companies like Biogen, Novartis, and Bose. He is a research partner and facilitator for the EDF Climate Corps and its network of companies. He has contributed to the strategy and curriculum of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Social Innovation and Change Initiative as a faculty affiliate.

Prior to MIT,  Jay ran an internet startup, traveled around the world, taught kindergarten in a progressive preschool, and worked as a consultant with Dialogos International, where he consulted on leadership development and organizational change for major international corporations and NGO's including BP and the World Bank. 

Jay holds an AB in psychology and a Master's in education from Harvard University, and a PhD in Organization Studies from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Faculty Media

  • COVID-19 Conversations

    If we approach these conversations in an authentic and compassionate way, we can strengthen our relationships, reinforce new norms we need to fight the pandemic, and maybe even invent new solutions...

  • Database Will Track Carbon Footprint of Financial Firms

    Jason Jay discusses how the ultimate goal of the project would be to drive the reallocation of capital away from carbon-intensive activities to lower-carbon assets to reduce emissions and the...

  • How to keep conversation alive in a polarized world | Jason Jay | TEDxBocaRaton

    In our polarized world, it is easy for conversations to get stuck. How can we find new pathways forward on the big issues of our time, whether at the holiday dinner table, in our organizations, or...

  • [Innovation@Work Blog] Getting Unstuck: Easy Steps for Achieving Conversational Breakthroughs

    When was the last time you tried to have a productive conversation with someone, despite diametrically opposing viewpoints? Were you successful? Or did your conversation get … stuck?

  • [Innovation@Work Blog] Sustainability Tools Demystified: MIT Sloan Launches SHIFT

    While having a lot of tools is typically a good thing, wading through this glut of resources can slow companies down in the journey toward sustainability--and even prevent them from implementing...

  • [Innovation@Work Blog] What Does the Trump Administration Mean for Climate Change Efforts?

    "For every conservative who dreams about ripping up the Paris Agreement, there's a company executive who wants to stay in."

  • [Innovation@Work Blog] Taking #OurAccord Personally for Earth Day

    People often think of climate change as a policy issue, one that is best dealt with through legislation and mandates, and not as an individual.

  • What's the Key to Winning Hearts and Minds?

    One overarching lesson we have learned from our research at MIT and Yale is that you can’t change someone else’s mind or their habits.

  • MIT Sloan’s Jason Jay on Breaking Through Gridlock

    Think about the last time you tried to talk with someone about political, social, or environmental issues who didn’t already agree with you. How well did it go?

  • Tips for Sustainability-oriented Entrepreneurs Seeking Capital

    Increasing numbers of entrepreneurs willingly are adding another task to an already impossibly long to-do list: having a positive environmental or social impact.


Contact Information

Office: E62-435
Phone: (617) 253-0594
Email: jjay@mit.edu
Support Staff
Name: Dominic Farello
Phone: (617) 324-6246

How to keep conversation alive in a polarized world

“We can figure out how to create living wages, healthcare for all, AND a vibrant economy. We can protect the climate AND create jobs. We have to... We can invent our way to a new future, one conversation at a time,” Jason Jay during his TEDxBocaRaton talk.