The start of the GRLI community’s annual gathering for 2015 was marked by the “All Gathering Momentum” meeting of Partners, Members and Associates on 21 & 22 June hosted at The New School in New York City.
The New School was founded by forward-thinking educators in 1919 to defy the intellectual constraints of traditional college education and attracts active scholars, artists, and pacesetters who deploy creativity and innovation to challenge the status quo. Their new state of the art auditorium in the recently completed Student Centre (corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street) provided the perfect stage for the start of GRLI’s week in New York which also included participation in the Global Forum for Responsible Management Education (23–24 June) and the UNGC+15 event (25 June).
The purpose of the GRLI AGM
The purpose of the GRLI AGM was to facilitate an environment in which Partners, Members and Associates could:
- Connect and reconnect with each other, the vision and mission of the GRLI and the activities which support and promote Globally Responsible Leadership
- Influence and shape –and learn from the contexts in which we operate and in which we develop and practice being globally responsible
- Inform, update and engage in GRLI actions and intitiatives
From connection to collaboration
At the highly interactive ‘Human Being in New York’ opening session — the title a reference to the Humans of New York photography project — participants connected through the use of photographic introductions and discussed what they wish to work on with others and share during their time in New York.
On Monday morning two new board members were welcomed onto the GRLI Board namely Ricardo Siqueira of Fundacao Dom Cabral (FDC) and Arnold Smit of USB Executive Development at University of Stellenbosch Business School.
During the Getting Up to Speed session that followed, John North presented an overview of GRLI developments and actions since our previous AGM in Cleveland last October. He highlighted how the work of GRLI is increasingly project- or initiative-oriented and how the Innovation Cohort model acts as core engine for driving renewal in GRLI and initiating action through the network. He also describe the subtle but important shift in GRLI’s approach from working with “business and management education” (a phrase that in the past was often misread or misunderstood as business- and management education) towards focusing on “management education enabling business to servE society”. This clarification of GRLI’s positioning coupled with an emphasis on our role as incubator and collaborative laboratory, further differentiates GRLI’s unique work and role as catalyst in the broader management education ecosystem.
The participation of GRLI partners in the Global Forum later that same week clearly showed how GRLI thought leadership and innovation (e.g. the 50+20 collaboratory or the framing of global responsibility at individual, organizational and systemic levels) permeates and influences the direction and activity of networks and platforms such as PRME and UNGC.
A large part of the AGM was devoted to GRLI initiatives or project-based workshops in an open space format. Work that was progressed during the AGM included:
- COMMIT — a project championed by oikos international and focused on Change Of Management Education & Methods In Teaching. The initiative is sparking a global student movement calling for “Education as the Essence of a Future Worth Living” in this open letter. The movement is calling on institutions to provide learning environments which enable students to follow their passion and fulfil their potential as independent thinkers that are responsible and able to tackle the challenges of society. The new COMMIT NOW website was unveiled during the GRLI AGM and as part of the open space workshops a prototype of a student-facilitated Faculty Development workshop was piloted.
- The Flourish Prizes, championed by the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Weatherhead School of Management — Case Western Reserve University, is a student-discovered prizing initiative, where the nominations are based on stories about profitable business solutions to global challenges. During the GRLI 2015 AGM a preview of the new Aim2flourish.com website was shown which is intended as global learning platform and community for students, business leaders, citizens, and educators. Here you’ll find a showcase of real-life business innovation stories including profiles of courageous leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs who view the great challenges of our day as inspiring opportunities to create a better world. Each innovation story published on the platform becomes a nomination for a Flourish Prize.
- The workplace of tomorrow research championed by Oasis School for Human Relations was met with a positive and encouraging response. Several more business schools joined the project and comparative research studies are now being developed in three new countries.
Several other initiatives were also sparked or developed further including an initiative on shaping business leadership in Africa, a project aimed at mapping the ecosystem of responsible management education initiatives, and the Sustainability Literacy Test which has been going from strength to strength and is being championed by Kedge Business School.
The AGM event, through its innovative design and facilitation provided by GRLI Guardians and active participation of committed individuals and institutions, added further momentum to the collective work of GRLI partners and members from all corners of the globe developing globally responsible leadership and practice.