Integrating Sustainability into Business Education
In February 2020 oikos International took part at the Integrating Sustainability into Business Education panel represented by Clementine Robert, the President of oikos International.
Business School leaders from across the UK and Europe joined at Imperial College Business School for an engaging seminar and panel discussion comprising sustainability experts from Business Schools within the Association of MBAs & Business Graduates Association network.
Sustainability is one of the key issues of today’s society as confirmed by increasing attention of governments, media, academics and industry.
In the context of sustainable development, businesses that are often referred as part of the problem, can be part of the solution. As a consequence of that, policy makers, industry leaders, society and academics with different backgrounds are today dealing with sustainability trying to understand how this affects traditional way of doing business, and, as well, how traditional businesses are affected by sustainability. How to develop organisations with a sense of purpose, and how to build a sustainable competitive advantage are key challenges in today’s agendas of global executives.
This keynote addressed the topic of sustainability from a strategic perspective. Topics covered included: the drivers of the sustainability debate; the business case for sustainability; sustainability and competitive advantage; sustainability in business education. Attendees engaged in an engaging debate that covered different perspectives of the topics discussed, including the economic, the environmental and social one.
You can watch the panel on the Business Graduates Association Youtube Channel:
Welcome to the May edition of our newsletter! This month was like no other before and really showed the strength and determination of our community. The past month has been a chance for the oikos Community to take a little break after a truly engaging period, in which many online events took place . Get a glimpse of what oikos is all about by going through our events in the period behind us!
#ChangeInvolvesAll – oikos Virtual Spring Meeting 2020
Spring meeting 2020 took place in April this year. The oikos Baku team had a difficult task on their hands to make a big shift from onsite to online format in a relative short period of time and they managed to make not only an amazing but also the most inclusive Spring Meeting yet.
This year, oikos Virtual Spring Meeting 2020 explored the idea of Inclusive and Sustainable Development as it has evolved over time since the revolutions in the West, and in the developing countries since 1950 when development economics and development policy were officially born. Nowadays, in lots of societies, many people are excluded because of their gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, or poverty. The effects of such exclusion are staggering, deepening inequality across the world. Hence, Inclusive and Sustainable development ensures that all marginalized and excluded groups are stakeholders in development processes. It is defined as a policy that deliberately seeks to achieve concurrently a dynamic relationship between individuals and societies. The active pursuit of this process must, therefore, be the basic aim of development policy. In short, Inclusive development is development for all the representatives of the various societies as mentioned in the motto of Spring Meeting 2020 – #ChangeInvolvesAll
Recently, Inclusive Development has become a topic of crucial importance all over the world. This concept extends traditional models of economic development, with particular emphasis on health equality, human capital, environmental quality, social protection, and food security. According to The World Economic Forum 2018 reports (Inclusive Development Index – IDI), Azerbaijan holds the third-highest rank in an inclusive development index among the economies of 79 developing countries.
Particularly, Baku is one of the foremost spots in the world with more than 4 million people with 15 different nationalities as well as religions and gives the real feeling of inclusiveness. Thuswise, in this venture, oikos Baku emphasized Social, Ecological, and Relational Inclusiveness to be the topics of Spring Meeting 2020.
An above-mentioned fact made us consider and work on one of the biggest challenges in the developing world.
Session Inclusion of children and young people with disabilities – why all planning must start from them, not end with them, explained Gwenn Burchell representative from UAFA who talked about inclusion in the education process and showed various examples and tools used in the international and local context.
Climate Change is a topic, we never forget about both in oikos international and local level. Shahana Bilalova, Research Associate at Caspian Center for Energy and Environment at ADA University touched the Climate Change and Inclusive Development: Contradictory or Complementary?
Maryam Majidova, Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Youth Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan (NAYORA) approached the topic on the “Why of Inclusive Youth Work”. Purposes of Youth Work, the Role of Inclusion in Youth Work, Benefits for Youth NGOs were discussed in this session. Maryam also revealed 8 Steps to Create an Inclusive Organization. What is Youth Work? According to the survey during the session, Youth Work is experimental, voluntary, accessible to all, participatory, concerned about quality, youth-centric, value-driven, willing to share power and decision making, respectful of youth as equals, knowledgeable about youth issues.
Virtual Spring Meeting 2020 included productive seminars, discussions, and workshops to exchange innovative ideas among more than 50 enthusiastic youths from all over the world. The participants gained a chance to directly communicate with the expert and ask them relevant questions.
As a result, the participants gained deeper insight into the topic of Inclusive & Sustainable Development and broadened their horizons by collaboration with peers from diverse backgrounds. The Virtual Conference proposed new perspectives to look at the trend and empower participants to gain more control of inclusiveness in their cities and assisted youths to realize the following objectives and aims: – comprehending the implication of ID along with sustainability in a global framework; – focusing aspects of ID on the global population and transforming the current concept to the strategy of oikos; – ensuring adequate actions of marginalized groups toward several aspects of inclusive growth; – to promote the spirit of unity through the friendship and mutual understanding towards globalized, sustained and inclusive economy among individuals and marginalized groups in transforming platforms.
We would like to thank everyone who participated and helped make this year’s Spring Meeting happen! It was a trully wonderful experience in the most unusual of circumstances, but it still showed the power of our community and the willingness to take part in the change towards sustainability even from within our homes.\
The Power of Cross-Chapter Collaboration – oikos Hong Kong and oikos Suzhou
The oikos Hong Kong x oikos Suzhou Sustainability Impact Case Competition 2020 was successfully organized in April of 2020. Amidst the Covid-19 global pandemic, more than 160 participants from Suzhou and Hong Kong participated in this one-of-a-kind opportunity.
The oikos Sustainability Impact Case Competition is an annual event organized by oikos Hong Kong. Each year, participants get to explore issues based on different fields of sustainability and come up with innovative solutions that nurture students for becoming sustainable business leaders of tomorrow.
Within 3 weeks, participants were tasked to investigate a case of a Hotel Group by analyzing the scenario and presenting innovative solutions for the organization on disability employment. Students from Hong Kong and Greater China would get the opportunity to develop a welcoming attitude towards minorities and value more social, ecological, and relational inclusiveness.
Originally planned to take place onsite in Hong Kong following the success of such format of the first Case Competition last year, the organizing team was forced to shift it into a fully online format. This, however, didn’t pose much of a problem to oikos Hong Kong and oikos Suzhou. Given the situation in both Hong Kong and Suzhou, where students are all in lockdown, it quickly became an opportunity for both chapters to collaborate. The Team worked hard to put together a Case Competition where it connected voices from students and professionals to push for a more inclusive and sustainable world.
With the mode of events now digitalized, it has become much easier to collaborate and connect online with different oikos Chapters. Online conferencing tools like Zoom and collaboration tools like Google Suite and WhatsApp helped both the teams from Hong Kong and Suzhou to communicate effectively. Besides, the quality of online events is similar to the on-site counterparts and can attract more participants due to the ease of use.
Our firm belief in overturning a crisis into an opportunity gives us hope that no matter what happens we can always find a way to learn, grow, and contribute to society.
We would like to thank everyone for taking part in the Case Competition, and we look forward to future collaboration opportunities, building friendships, professional relationships, and collectively grow as oikees together!!
VR4Sustainability: How Virtual Reality can change our behaviors – oikos & swissnex Brazil webinar
From psychotherapy to education, Virtual Reality has became a tool applied in many fields. In fact, this technology provides the opportunity to embody, live, and understand existent realities and possible futures.
This is particularly interesting to encourage behavioral change for sustainability. By bringing psychologically distant events (both in time and space, as social inequalities or climate change) to people’s immediate reality, the relationship between human behavior and its impact can be made less abstract. VR has therefore the potential to foster social impact by showing the possible futures the individual can contribute to. NGOs are already making use of this technology to display their projects and their impact in the communities, which allows to present different perspectives and open dialogue between stakeholders.
Even though VR experiences are currently human-assisted, the technology is on the way to becoming a mass consumer product, that can be used without any external support. Apart from the technical improvements to make it more affordable and convenient for user adoption, we need to be, as with all new technologies, aware of any ethical concerns that could emerge.
As part of a cooperation between swissnex Brazil and oikos International, the webinar on “VR for Sustainability” will present how VR can be employed in the education and sensitization to sustainability issues. With Pedro Kayatt, Founder of VRMonkey, Bruno Weis, Communication Coordinator at Instituto Socioambiental – ISA , Philippe Bertrand, Co-Founder of BeAnotherLab and Maximilian Stoller, Founder of respecTomorrow, we invite NGOs, educational institutions and sustainability-oriented organizations to explore with us the state of the art of VR in Brazil, some ethical concerns about this technology and examples of its application in sustainably-related projects.
Date: 20th of May 2020 Time: 10:30 – Brazil / 15:30 – Switzerland
This summer the oikos in Residence will be taking place in YOUR residence, with all events held online. So to make plans we want to hear a little about what times and days would work best for you and what topics you want to hear more about. The oikos in Residence is a new event that promotes research related to economics and business education. The team is still designing the program, but we imagine sessions will include topics like building arguments for curriculum change, doing curriculum reviews or student surveys, and designing options for alternative curricula.
The second oikos Curriculum Change Academy was jointly organized by oikos Lausanne and the oikos international Curriculum Change Initiative team from April 3 to 5 2020. Due to the situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held only online. Despite this particular context, we were so grateful to have gathered more than 30 people from several countries in this inspiring Academy.
Over the course of 3 days, we tried to grasp the breadth of economics and management subjects and relate them to current social and environmental challenges. Professors, early career researchers, and students came together to understand each other’s needs and exchanged on how to collaborate in order to drive the curriculum reform towards sustainability. This second edition was concieved around the Curriculum Change Initiative’s values, the multi-dimensional side of economics, and even practical examples of succesfully reformed curricula at some universities.
The first day kicking off the academy started with a presentation from Augustin Fragnière, head of the Interdisciplinary Sustainability Centre of the University of Lausanne. The presentation shed some light on the current situation as well as the strategy and actions the university is taking to integrate sustainability in all the fields of studies. A workshop followed the presentation in which participants investigated the key competencies, they believe they’d require for the implementation of curriculum reform. It concluded that connecting and collaborating with stakeholders of different backgrounds and disciplines is the key element. Along with it there is the necessity to train and empower students, lecturers, researchers, and university management representatives to address sustainability-related topics. Furthermore, the emphasis on developing and acknowledging the teaching qualities and not only research achievements as well as the need for intellectual courage and capacity to re-shape the courses program were discussed.
The first day activities were also complemented with the Economics and Management Education for the 21st Century debate, owing to the five amazing and inspiring speakers who took part in it. The debate featured Guido Palazzo from the University of Lausanne, Julia Christensen Hughes from the University of Guelph, Florian Rommel from the Cusanus University, Lea Trogrlic from Plural Economics Zurich and Petra Molthon-Hill from the Nottingham Business School. They addressed important issues regarding Curriculum Change and provided the participants with concrete examples of what can be done.
“Students can play an incredibly helpful role. Figure out who your allies are. Hopefully that includes a dean or associate dean. Also, try to understand your institution’s curriculum change processes. Maybe they require students to sit on the committee. Make sure those students understand what you are trying to achieve.”
– Julia Christensen Hughes
For the remaining two days, the aim was to explore all the opportunities we have to effectively drive the reform.
On a Saturday morning of the second day, Adriana Troxler of oikos started the day with a workshop focusing on personal values, where we dwelled deep into and explored what is it that gives us energy and motivation to act in each of our lives. Following the workshop, Daniel Obst from Exploring Economics introduced us to heterodox economic theories. We the applied those theories to the current global Coronavirus situation so we can have a look at it from different perspectives, going beyond mainstream economic thoughts. Later, J. Christopher Proctor from oikos brought the main insights from the oikos in Residence workshop which aims to accelerate the creation of resources for changing the business education. Its purpose is to eventually create a guide for the oikos community encouraging individuals to think more systematically about what they want future business education to look like. We closed the day with an open space which allowed us to deeply reflect on how to re-design the curriculum. The main question was focused on whether it should be done through adapting existing classes or completelly starting from scratch.
On the final day, Dr. Dušan Kučera from the University of Economics Prague gave a presentation on crises of managerial personalities while applying an interdisciplinary perspective of history, ethics, theology, and sociology. Afterwards, Florian Rommel introduced us to the new curriculum for economics undergraduates at the Cusanus University. The Cusanus examples is there to prove that sustainability-centered studies are possible, which motivates us, even more, to strive for a change. We concluded the Academy with a discussion about how we can join forces to effectively act to transform economics and management education and shared our personal commitments towards this important mission.
We want to thank everyone who took part in this inspiring weekend. The next oikos Curriculum Academy will take place from February 11-14 2021 in St-Gallen, stay tuned!
The LEAP Advanced Participants will have their last webinar on 28th of May. We are pleased to welcome Jennifer Garvey Berger from Cultivating Leadership. She will talk about Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps & Habits.
See more about the speaker below:
Jennifer believes that leadership is one of the most vital renewable resources in the world. This might be more true than ever as organizations across sectors and around the world are facing an unprecedented amount of volatility and change. Leaders can see these swirling currents of change as a threatening force to be survived, an inconvenience to be managed, or an opportunity to be harnessed. Harnessing the opportunities in this time of complexity, though, requires a new form of leadership with new approaches to leading people and crafting solutions. If we want organisations where people are thriving and bringing their best, we need leaders who are learning.
To that end, Jennifer designs and teaches leadership programs, coaches senior teams, and supports new ways of thinking about strategy and people with clients facing these dramatic shifts in complexity, volatility, and change in their workplaces and markets. She blends deep theoretical knowledge with a driving quest for practical ways to make leaders’ lives better. Reviewers have said that her most recent book, Simple habits for complex times: Powerful practices for leaders (co-authored with Keith Johnston) “…is a superb exploration of the ways that complexity calls on leaders to think, act, and engage differently.” Jennifer has worked with senior leaders in the private, non-profit, and government sectors around the world, in (like Google, KPMG, Lion, Microsoft, Wikimedia, and the New Zealand Department of Conservation).
Jennifer also supports leaders one-on-one as a leadership coach. Over the last decade, Jennifer has developed The Growth Edge Coaching approach, which she describes in her book, Changing on the job: Developing leaders for a complex world (Stanford Business Books 2012). She supports clients to find their current growing edge and then make choices about how they want to grow, and she teaches coaches around the world transformational and developmental coaching approaches in her Growth Edge Coaching certification series. Jennifer speaks at leadership and coaching conferences, and she offers occasional courses for coaches at universities all over the world like Harvard University, the University of Sydney, and Oxford Brookes University.
Jennifer has a masters and a doctorate from Harvard University. Eschewing work/life balance for a life that feels like fun across the board, Jennifer loves to write, to walk her dog through the streets of London, to scuba dive, to travel with her husband and their nearly-adult children, and figure out how to make whole organizations work better. Formerly an associate professor at George Mason University, Jennifer learned about deep change a more than a decade ago when she turned down the tenure offer and moved to a small seaside village in New Zealand with her husband, two kids, and the family dog. Transformation is not a one-time event, though, so two years ago Jennifer and her family moved to central London to see what joys urban living holds.
Act for Sustainable Curriculum – zoom call for everyone curious about economics and management curriculum reform
Join us for the Curriculum Action Call on Friday, May 29 from 4 – 5:30 pm CEST time. Just click on the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83381467353 The Curriculum Action Calls is an ongoing project initiated by the oikos Curriculum Academy participants. All people interested in how should economics and management education that addresses urgent global challenges look like are most welcome to join. Every last Friday in a month, we will virtually meet. The Curriculum Action Calls provide space to share ideas, get feedback on our projects, and help each other. After a short inspirational talk, there will be an open conversation. This time Celine Sauer from oikos Graz will introduce the “Basismodul Nachhaltigkeit” (Basic Module Sustainability) which will be embedded next semester at the University of Gratz. Celine will also explain how the whole process behind setting up this new module was conducted.