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Agenda 3 February 2016 - The Future of leadership is now

Nyhet   •   Feb 02, 2016 00:26 CET

The future of leadership is now
How can leaders apply a unifying systems perspective to help society become sustainable?

Our aim is to bring people together for the shared purpose of taking action to promote a positive systems change for sustainability. The seminar is designed to engage leadership in all kinds of arenas and on different scales to work systematically and strategically towards sustainability. We will discuss how to turn unsustainable organizations into sustainable ones as we move into increasingly sustainability-driven markets. We will also identify some overriding challenges and opportunities for strategic leadership towards sustainability in general and discuss additional activities to enhance sustainability together in 2016 and onwards.

The greatest challenge to nature and people is not climate change, toxicity, shrinking biodiversity, poverty, degradation of food production capacity or corruption. These are all great challenges, but our greatest challenge, the one driving the rest, is that our political and industrial leaders typically do not know how the myriad sustainability-related consequences of human activity are actually rooted in a set of easy-to-learn, overriding mechanisms of destruction of our ecological and social systems. As a result, our leaders do not systematically lead us towards sustainability.

The StepWise group
The seminar is organized by the StepWise group, in cooperation with The Natural Step and Blekinge Institute of Technology. In Sweden, a unique and growing group of corporate leaders and owners have met over the past two years to discuss how to apply modern science for strategic sustainable development to their respective organizations. In the StepWise group, leaders learn how to work with a Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD), including a robust definition of ecological and social sustainability and strategic guidelines for how to approach that definition while achieving improved economic returns. During the seminar, this will be referred to as “The StepWise methodology”. Examples of the benefits of the methodology include learning how to: deal with system boundaries, evaluate trade-offs, estimate sustainable resource and market potential before investing in new technologies, manage supply chains and cooperate effectively across sectors and disciplines. Executives explore how to design plans for transformational change that both contribute to society’s transition towards sustainability and are economically viable and competitive for their companies. The executives meet at regular intervals to allow the diversity of the group to be helpful for identifying creative innovations. 

Examples include:

  • Effective supply chain management, for instance, new Product-Service Systems (PSS)
  • More effective business models, for instance, improved value offers at lower cost
  • Technical innovations
  • More effective cooperation with politicians to increase the pace of change that the executives are already driving. 

  • The format of the seminar

    During the seminar, the members of Stepwise will introduce themselves and explain how they use the StepWise methodology in their businesses. That same methodology will be used to facilitate a cooperative learning endeavor with all the participants at the seminar. A dream for the near future is that leaders in general, at all levels of society, share the StepWise methodology. In short, the vision is that all leaders: (i) know how sustainability can be defined by robust operational principles, and (ii) understand how it is in one’s own self interest to support society’s transition towards fulfillment of those principles. We call this vision “A”, and questions to explore in the seminar include:

  • “B”: In relation to the above vision (A), what current assets and challenges do you identify (e.g., as
  • regards norms, education, etc.)?
  • “C”: How might the above challenges be overcome and how might the above assets be utilized?
  • “D”: How can the collective wisdom of the seminar be channeled into future activities? 

    Can we present the results of such activities at a second event, launched in cooperation between the seminar 
    We will gather on the top-floor of Färgfabriken, listen to inspiring speakers in the morning, enjoy an organic lunch, and apply the StepWise methodology during round-table discussions in the afternoon. After the seminar, we hope you will stay for drinks and mingle, and take the opportunity to learn about “Experiment Stockholm”, Färgfabriken’s project on lateral thinking in sustainable city planning.

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