Day 1 - 27 April
What business and economy is emerging?
On Day 1, we started by taking stock and sensing into the shifts that are happening in the world. The panel session on "Emerging business models and economic systems" explored the developments and calls for alternative economic systems such as inclusive or stakeholder capitalism and circular economy, also taking into account the challenges of the post-Covid recovery and social distress.
- Moderator: Alexia Perversi, Director Global Sustainability Services, Mazars
- Louise Scott,Vice President of R&D, Natura &Co
- Marc de Wit, Director of Strategic Alliances, The Circle Economy
- Marcello Palazzi, Global Ambassador, B Lab
- Doug Lynam, Partner, LongView Asset Management & Member, Council for Inclusive Capitalism
Alexia Perversi kicked off with the ongoing challenges precipitated by COVID-19, climate change and biodiversity crisis and how these call to rethink economic and business models. Doug Lynam explained the approach of inclusive capitalism, which recognizes the benefits and limits of capitalism and the global demand for fairness - socially, geographically, and intergenerationally. A positive development in this regard is the shift of assets and investments to environmentally and socially responsible funds. Marcello Palazzi continued with an overview on the B Corp movement, a community of almost 4000 certified businesses creating benefits for not only shareholders, but also other stakeholders. B Corps take a life-regenerating approach for people and for the planet, combining earning profits impacts, collaborating with cities and countries to enhance change at a systemic level.
This philosophy is espoused by Natura&Co, and Louise Scott explained how prioritising purpose instead of profits and quantifying societal impact has become beneficial for the company as well, and ensures sustainability in a broader sense. Natura &Co has three main challenges: mitigate climate change, transition to a circular economy, and promote social wellbeing, with the aim to become carbon neutral. Finally, Marc de Wit shared a poignant point of how dramatically our consumption and production have increased, with only 10% of materials eventually going back to the economic system.
This is why the circular economy is needed as a way to rethink the whole economic system. The Circle Economy contributes to this change by explaining best practices and identifying what actions can be taken. In essence, products need to be reusable, have a longer lifespan, and produced in a cleaner way. Overall, the panelists shared some optimism as they see evidence of new business models, and an increasing mind shift and acceptance that a more sustainable and circular reality is possible and beneficial.
The following interactive session featured a Fishbowl discussion. The format allowed any participants to contribute with specific knowledge and concrete sustainability initiatives and innovations. Some of the points raised dealt with the need to taking systemic approaches, responsive business, drivers for collaboration, leadership and "walking the talk". (Curious about this format? Check out the Resources section below).
Day 3 - 29 April
New Learning Paradigms
The last panel "What do businesses and business schools need to learn?" of our KIAF reflected on new mindsets and competences that are needed to deal with this increasingly complex human society, social divides, and environmental challenges. We discussed how businesses and business schools can become innovative and learning organizations to navigate new waters.
- Moderator: Ivo Matser, CEO, ABIS & Vice President, IEDC - Bled School of Management
- Mette Morsing, Head of PRME, UN Global Compact
- Njeri Mwagiru, Senior Futurist, University of Stellenbosch Business School
- Eva Pomeroy, Social Innovator in Residence, Concordia University & Core Team Member, Presencing Institute
The panel discussion started off with the statement of Mette Morsing that the purpose of corporations shifting from profit maximation to betterment of society, should also be at the center of business education teaching and it’s still not reflected in textbooks and pedagogies. There needs to be a more collective lens on understanding and measuring the success of management education, which includes the development of student agency, the ability to identify critical questions and a breadth of emotional and social skills needed in management. Another element that was added by Njeri Mwagiru is the importance of adopting foresight and futures thinking to and engage with the contradictions of the future we are pursuing vs the future we are envisioning, to open up for preparedness, and to move from thinking to testing and scaling viable solutions). There is a lack of know-how both in business and business education, and a great opportunity to develop such skillset.
Eva Pomeroy stressed how education should help students ignite passion and purpose, and align these to what is necessary in the world (“What is significant to me and the world about what I am learning?”). This would mean cultivating key qualities like deep curiosity, empathy, humility and vulnerability that often do not show up in learning objectives – cognitive skills are extremely valuable, yet these are the only skills we are nurturing. The lively discussion that followed generated a wide variety of insights on drivers, characteristics and examples of new educational models in terms of:
- innovative, dialectical learning interventions (peer learning, faculty-student mentoring, dispersed learning, reflective approaches)
- context (local orientation, bringing society into the classroom, collaborative partnerships)
- content and structure (e.g. social and environmental justice, design science, economics for biodiversity, cross-disciplinary knowledge)
- assessment (from quantitative to qualitative, self-reflection, portfolios of narratives)
You can listen to the brilliant perspectives and ideas of our panelists in this RECORDING!
The following interactive co-creation session on the future of business education featured a 3 Horizons exploration, which purpose was the help participants to initiate transformative action and acquire the perspectives of futures consciousness. The session harnessed the learnings from the event and participants insights which generated a map for possible developments in business education. (The session outcome as well as other relevant materials can be found in the Resources below).