Happy New Year!
In 2014 I posted one short idea a day, for 100 days, exploring how we could rethink business education to ensure that it produces the kinds of leaders that our businesses and the planet need, in particular in order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). A very special thanks to all of you who followed and supported the 100 ideas and even implemented some of the ideas.
Last year I had the chance to revise the ideas, rethink and rewrite them as well as come up with quite a few new ideas and publish them in a book with Greenleaf. The book is called The Future MBA: 100 Ideas for making Sustainability the Business of Business Education and is out now. Rather than provide an implementation roadmap, these ideas are meant to be a source of inspiration to turn the management education sector into a key player in moving the sustainability agenda forward. I’m hoping they will encourage schools to think about these topics in different ways…and put in place new and exciting initiatives.
To coincide with the release of this book, starting on Monday for 100 days I’ll be posting some of my favorite examples of how business schools are implementing these, and developing their own innovative ideas in business schools, and other organisations, around the world (here we go again!). These are ways that schools around the world are already active in engaging in the Sustainable Development Goals.
You can submit your own ideas to be included and shared with deans, directors, students, staff and businesses around the world by visiting Submit an Example or sending me a quick email.
As with the first 100, all emails will be short and (hopefully) sweet.
P.S. I developed a free short course online to help you develop your own innovative ideas. Click here to read more and sign up: Re-imagining the Future Business Degree.
SIPS is a formalised programme at the University of Tasmania in Australia for engaging multiple parts of the university in moving the school as a whole forward in terms of sustainability. The programme is formalised with a memorandum of understanding between the operational side of the university and the academic units that interested in doing projects which makes it easier to initiative projects, get things started and move things quickly into courses. Projects can come from many different places, operational, academia or individual students and are integrated into research projects, in class activities and assignments. For example, if there is an operational need, for example a waste audit, the project will connect to academics and students to implement the audit. Students get real life experience but also academic credit. Results are used on campus and have direct operational outcomes on campus.
The York University Advisory Committee on Responsible Investment believes that the integration of environmental, social and corporate governance considerations into investment management processes and ownership practices is wise and aligned with the University’s commitment to sustainability, social justice and good governance. They create a platform to hear the concerns expressed by those in their community regarding the investment of the University’s endowment fund, identify companies that may be involved in activities contrary to the University’s principles and believes, advice on proxy voting and where the University should invoke proxy voting, advice about circumstances in which stocks held by the University may cause social or environmental injury and working with a range of like-minded shareholder groups and coalitions.
The University of Leicester is engaged in the HeForShe Impact 10x10x10 cohort, a group that convenes ten heads of state, ten global CEOs and ten University Presidents to fast-track gender equality in boardrooms, classrooms and world capitals. The University if committed to closing the gap between men and women in key academic and career areas, to degenderize career options, to make public conversations around gender, provide transparency about their activities and actively monitor progress on these issues. The campaign was kick started with a hundreds of ideas crowd sourced by students and staff at the university exploring how to create a culture of gender equality on campus. This has resulted in, among other things, a senior level staff position with responsibility to oversee implementation of these ideas and commitments.
James Cook University’s (JCU) innovative Green Bike Fleet programme gives new love to abandoned or unwanted bike. The programme has restored over 400 second hand bikes and sells them at a low cost to JCU students. The programme is so popular that bikes are often in short supply. Students also have the option of returning their bike at the end of the year for a reimbursement. In addition to this project, the school has created an environment with a wide network of bike lanes, free bike mechanic services, a support group for cyclists and plenty of bike parking and shower facilities. For those who don’t get their hands on a Green Bike there is a popular bike share programme on all three of JCU’s campuses.
Thunderbird for Good, part of the Thunderbird School of Global Management started in 2004 with an idea to provide learning opportunities for Afghan businesswomen. Today they educate students from emerging markets around the world through a range of specific programmes that focus in on female entrepreneurs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Peru and Central America in collaboration with various local partners. All the programs focus on interactive business training, practical skills such as planning, negotiation, marketing and employee management. They also provide assistance in accessing capital (through their various partners) as well as on-on-one business advising and mentorship and access to a network of like-minded women. More than 30,000 participants have attended programmes at their campus in the USA.
The University of Oxford has developed a Living Lab to support the University’s transition towards a sustainable, resilient and low-carbon campus, facilitate world-class research, guide and improve practice, and enhance real world learning. The Carbon Innovation Programme establishes multidisciplinary teams of staff and students to work collaboratively to identify new innovative ideas to help reduce carbon emissions across the University. This programme, and the resulting projects, support the University’s Carbon Management Strategy and help the University to achieve its target of reducing carbon emissions by 33% by 2020/21 from a 2005/6 baseline. (more…)
ISTUD Business School in Italy offers series of courses that aim to cultivate mindfulness and courage at the executive and senior management level. The courses aim to leverage various intellectual and cognitive dimensions, beyond the technical aspects of the managerial profession and that aim to widen and enrich the professional culture and personal development of managers. The first course aims to cultivate a mindful attitude, to develop awareness of what happens to us in the present moment, increasing our ability to manage and respond to functional contexts and stressful conditions; to learn to direct and focus your attention without being distracted y internal or external stimuli. The second focuses on the art of courage, to provide the basic tools for acting with courage in front of the unexpected, but also develop confidence in each person and to understand their own mental models.
The University of Copenhagen in Denmark has set out ambitious targets for sustainability designed to make it one of the world’s most sustainable universities. The strategy involves a focus on the physical setting (buildings, facilities), using the campus as a living laboratory for the development of tomorrow’s sustainability solutions, and creating a sustainability culture that encourages students and staff to practice sustainable behaviour everyday. More recent goals include a 65% reduction of CO2 emissions from energy consumption and transportation, a 20% reduction in waste and recycling of 50% of waste produced, reduction in the university’s pollution and chemical environmental impact to name but a few. The University’s green accounting shows that since 2006, their sustainability efforts have results in an annual savings of nearly DKK 35 million.
Sustainability Week is the largest student run sustainability programme in Switzerland. Now in its fourth year, it is organised by over 60 students from 5 universities with over 55,000 students in Zurich, ETH, Universitat Zurich, PHZH and Zurich University of the Arts. Over the past few years it has organised over 120 events with the aim of reaching and information as many students as possible on campus and around the city. The event also has the goal of setting concrete sustainability demands to the individual universities and connecting the five universities further around these topics. All events are open to the public and free of charge.
The GIANT campus includes 250 hectares of research, technology research, companies and higher educational institutions such as Grenoble Ecole de Management in France. The campus includes 2 national research organisations, 3 key European research facilities, 3 educational institutions and represents 30 company partners as well as competitive clusters, local authorities and other public organisations. In total Giant involves over 6,000 researchers and over 5,000 students. The goal of the campus is to offer solutions to the challenges of tomorrow in the field of information technology, communication, energy and health. Many collaborative projects have come out of this joint Campus including a MOOC on Energy Transition and Sustainable Development.
The Students Swap Stuff project at KU Leuven, supported by the Brussels environmental agency, aims to counteract overconsumption and waste from students who often buy cheap essentials when they arrive for their students, especially international students. The aim is to provide a practical solution to this problem and ensure that as many of these items as possible do not end up in the waste cycle. Existing students, staff and the public can drop off gently used appliances, kitchen essentials, bedding, etc. In September, students can “buy” the fairly priced Student Swap Stuff card and can use this card to rent a number of second hand items which can be chosen from the Swap Stuff Pop up store set up in a shipping container parked just outside campus. The store also hosts a number of events to help students learn more about recycling, reusing and repairing.
The Renewable Energy Incubator at The Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Trinidad & Tobago is the first of its kind in the region. It is designed to foster projects that would contribute to the diversification of the economy as a whole as well as diversifying the energy sector. It provides training as well as business support, technology transfer, facilitation of access to markets, finance and partnerships to Small and Medium Enterprises operating within the emerging renewable energy sector. Not only does the incubator aim to produce a calibre of individuals who can assist in the production of energy-efficient homes and businesses, but it also fosters an outlet for projects of a practical nature to be implemented throughout the country.
The University of Stellenbosch in South Africa introduced Glocal Classrooms in order to lower opportunity costs for students and enable broader access to university and in particular post-graduate education. Rather than travel long distances from remote provinces to the universities in larger cities, students can use their phones and laptops to join virtual classrooms. Students interact with other student over life online platforms to simulate real classroom settings, including taking exams and doing presentations.
Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden has a number of multi-disciplinary researchers working together to generate concrete solutions and processes that will contribute directly to sustainable economic development. The school has partnered with the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research for this initiative which focuses in on projects relating to sustainable systems, circular economies in the fashion industry, microfinance and poverty alleviation, global supply chains and human rights, the creation of sustainable food consumption, sustainable capital budgeting and integrated reporting. It currently involves over 50 researchers in Sweden and abroad from natural science, engineering, economics, management, sociology, political science and philosophy. (more…)
Kaospilot is a hybrid business and design school based in Aarhus, Denmark. The school has created a program focused on fostering enterprising leaders, change makers, creators and responsible entrepreneurs. Part of the programme involves Outposts, a 4 month placement to a city outside of Scandinavia. These challenge students to address new ideas and task by applying their skills in entirely different ways by working with new projects and local partners. Each year the outpost has a different theme and students have 10 projects to complete that are set up by local partners in and around the city chosen. The students are also immersed in the culture of the country on all fronts and integrate with the people to enhance the learning.