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Walking Towards More Sustainability In Economics and Management Education – #WalkTheTalk

The sixth oikos FutureLab was held at the Weiterbildungszentrum Holzweid (WBZ) of the University of St Gallen. Stakeholders from the oikos community gathered from all parts of the world for this event, to pursue the implementation of the oikos mission: integrating sustainability in economics and management education.

The theme for this year’s conference was #WalkTheTalk, catapulting words into action. Prior to the FutureLab, oikos Presidents met for oikos LEAP (our sustainable leadership program) where they honed their skills of decision-making and designed better action plans to #WalkTheTalk. After the Legislative Meeting on the 6th of November, oikos members gathered at the WBZ on 7th morning ready with their ideas, their motivation and passion to delve deeper into being in same terms as the oikos mission. While the participants tried being support chairs for each other in their break barrier session with Chris Taylor, the Alumni met up for chalking their future plans, and oikos partners met to exchange ideas for the future of oikos.

After a quick break session and a warm welcome to beat the weather, the much awaited session with Dr Antje Von Dewitz, CEO of Vaude, began. The session was also covered live on Facebook for everyone else to join us virtually who couldn’t in person. Antje expressed to the audience how one can be the entrepreneur they wish to be while walking hand in hand with sustainability. She shared her bigger than picture life story, about the challenges she faced while building up career, the many little wins and how being a go getter in life is exactly how one lives and walks their talk.

Post a scrumptious lunch, participants, partners and alumni spread over to workshops of their choice. The five workshops running in parallel to each other addressed five mega trends. At the climate change workshop, by Dominik Moesching, from myclimate, participants learnt about the different ways we could do our share in working towards the common goal of measuring sustainability. Dr. Bjorn Muller, from the ‘unschool’ Stride, headed the workshop on culture of knowledge and individualization, pushing his participants towards thinking out of the box. From the University of St. Gallen, Prof. Ivo Blohm and the oikos Associate, Christoph Rappitsch, took participants into the world of digital economy and its opportunities and impact on sustainability. While Lisa Futing from Audi Urban Solutions tackled the workshop on urbanization with her participants; Dr. Antje Von Dewitz and Lissi Reitschuster, CEO of Manemo, walked their talk in a workshop on working with purpose. The day winded towards an ending with a panel discussion where the workshops facilitators discussed the role of education with regards to sustainability together with the audience. The evening ended with dinner and lots of talk.

Day two started with equal amount of enthusiasm in a snowy St. Gallen. After an eventful ‘impact journey’ on the bus, participants attended the first session with Michael Gotz, CEO of YMCA Bavaria. Michael spoke about his experience and enlightened everyone with his #WalkTheTalk project in Germany on social sustainability. Post the first session everyone split up into their respective Learning Circles only to briefly meet for lunch and go back into working their wonders with the Learning Circle action session. After a very inspiring ‘Impact Fair’ the floor was kept open for sharing of ideas, thoughts, inspiration and motivation. Guests also participated in a “call for the future” where they wrote commitments for themselves and the year that is going to soon unfold. As the time to conclude the FutureLab came nearer, participants were left zapped with the FutureLab movie that was filmed during the course of the two days. Everyone walked away with smiles on their faces and motivation in their heart, towards the closing party.

The FutureLab 2016 ended with each and everyone promising to create a ripple and keep walking their talk or finally take a leap towards starting a journey where they would take their words into action.


Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the video – out soon!


Written By: Nimisha Ghorpade