Learning by Doing at Gustavson School of Business

MIISThe first week of a new school year is an opportunity to bring students together to meet and learn from each other. It is also an opportunity to send strong messages to students about the school’s approach to business education – in this case sustainability issues in business education. At University of Victoria Gustavson School of Business in Canada, they have combined these opportunities to create an innovative one-day programme called MIIISsion Impossible, which engages and empowers students to build a social responsible business idea in teams.

I had the chance to speak with Sheryl Karras, the Director of Administration of the Bachelor of Commerce Programme about MIIISsion Impossible.

Briefly describe the Gustavson School of Business’s approach to sustainability and responsible management

At Gustavson, we have four pillars that support everything we do. But the term “pillar” is a bit misleading, because the pillars – Integrative, Innovative, International, and Sustainable/Socially Responsible (IIIS) – are not separate entities. Really, they’re woven together like a terrific web.

What is MIIISsion Impossible?

MIIISsion Impossible is an example of the way that Gustavson integrates sustainability into education with cultural considerations, community involvement, and team building. We devote one day of our week-long orientation in which our Bachelor of Commerce students are assigned to teams of four or five, with at least one international or exchange student, to the programme. The teams have a morning to brainstorm and hone an innovative sustainable or socially responsible business idea or concept that would be a good fit in the country of the international team member. After a whirlwind four hours, they create a display board to explain their idea. Finally they pitch their concepts to academic, community, and business judges. The judges assess the presentations and ideas based on specific criteria, fill out score sheets, and then the top scorers move on to a final round of pitches in front of everyone.

How did it come about?

We wanted to give our students an opportunity, right from the start of the programme, to learn by doing and more specifically to experience our core concepts of IIIS. It was natural to create an activity that would focus on sustainability fostering creative ideas, and provide an opportunity for students to work in teams. As well, we have an extensive exchange programme and a significant number of international students. We wanted to highlight the international nature of our programme, which we accomplish by putting our international students in a lead role for this activity.

When we connected those dots with our core Business and Sustainability course and a very strong school-wide practice of experiential learning, it made sense to create an opportunity that achieve these multiple goals at once.

The students meet each other, and immediately they have to cooperate and draw on the strengths and experiences of each team member. They have the freedom to be creative and design a business concept that could work in the international sphere. The outcomes always impress the faculty and community judges because the students get so excited about their ideas and present them with great passion.

What are some examples of the projects?

One great idea came from a team with a member from China. They decided to do something about the 45 billion wooden chopsticks that go to landfill every year in that country. They figured the wood could be upcycled into fibreboard that could be used to create furniture. Some of the original team members were so excited about the idea that they didn’t stop when they won MIIISsion Impossible (where their prizes included books and chocolate bars). They continued to develop their concept, and by February they’d been whisked to Toronto to present to six of Canada’s top CEOs in the finals of the Walmart Green Student Challenge. Their second-place prize included that invaluable face-time plus $15,000!

Another exciting MIIISsion Impossible concept was electric taxiing motors in aircraft wheels that would save 2,400 litres of fuel per flight plus allow planes access to remote airfields with less-than-immaculate landing strips.

That team also liked their idea so much that they kept working together and eventually beat 500 teams from around the globe to go to the second round of Airbus’s Fly Your Ideas contest.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

This is a great activity to bring students, faculty, and community together to generate excitement and enthusiasm, and immediately put into action who we are as a school. We have chosen to tie this activity closely to our orientation, which has served us well, as it relies on a key group to undertake the event and provides an opportunity for students to very quickly get immersed in the philosophy/pillars of our school. The concept is quite straight-forward, but it is a big event that requires a lot of support from many people – inside and outside of the programme. It is important to keep the event focused, and to ensure that all of the support is in place to guarantee its success.

What are the next steps?

In 2014, our BCom programme is expanding from four cohorts of 60 students each to five cohorts of 60 students. Logistically, that means finding a bigger venue for MIIISsion Impossible – we’ve already outgrown the biggest space on campus.

Management is too important not to debate – University of Leicester

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 16.35.11Getting engaged in sustainability, CSR, and responsible management goes beyond putting key words into your mission statement or promotional material. It is about creating a culture on campus, opportunities to bring together different disciplines, and a space to discuss and debate these important issues. At the University of Leicester, School of Management, in the United Kingdom, they have done just that with their guiding axiom “management is too important not to debate,” I recently had the chance to speak with Stephen Dunne about Leicester’s School of Management’s approach to responsible management.
When did the University of Leicester School of Management begin looking at responsible management and sustainability?
The City of Leicester has long taken a pioneering approach to environmental sustainability. Back in 1990 it was designated Britain’s first Environment City by the Royal Society for Nature Conservation while in 1992 it was invited to send delegates to the very first UN Earth Summit. The University of Leicester’s School of Management was inaugurated around this time, in 1989, initially as an off-shoot of the economics department. Whatever was in the air back then has clearly lingered long! For, just as the City of Leicester has continued to set the standard for many UK-based sustainability initiatives, so too, Leicester’s School of Management, with its emphasis on “Critical Management Studies,” continues to place environmental concerns at the curricular and pedagogical forefront. In 2007, the University established its dedicated environment team and formalised its sustainability strategy – something which continues to be subjected to rigorous and constant review. It was also around this time that we in the School thought it would make sense to sign up to the PRME Secretariat initiative, as a means of acknowledging the fact that an abiding concern with the extra-fiduciary responsibilities of management animates all of us here, from the fustiest of faculty, right through to the freshest of freshmen!
Briefly describe the University of Leicester School of Management’s approach to sustainability.
The School’s guiding axiom is “management is too important not to debate.” This means we seek to attract researchers and teachers from across the social and natural sciences, as well as the humanities, in order to put management into its broader ecological context. In other words, the nature and purpose of management, as a recent blog entry from the Head of Department, Professor Simon Lilley put it, is too important to be left to managers alone. In it he writes, “Management is a multi-faceted phenomenon and so it requires a multi-disciplinary approach.” The approach we take here deliberately recruits insights into the nature of management from a wide range of areas such as quantum physics, and art history.
How do you encourage this kind of debate with your faculty and engage them in these discussions?
There are several ways that we do this. One is, as introduced above, our blog called, “Management is too Important not to Debate,” which we started in October 2013. We now publish weekly, which is terrific. The blog provides a space for faculty and students from different disciplines to come together to share insights on management, many related of course to sustainability and responsible leadership. A few of our blog posts have generated a good amount of discussion with faculty and students. The Head’s inaugural entry was one. One of our PhD students wrote an interesting piece on sustainability reporting earlier this year, and last year one of our faculty wrote a piece around emergent water markets. There is also a piece on a 3-day event we put on regarding the nature and purpose of the corporation including a video-recording.
Additionally, we hold weekly research seminars, which have been going since at least 2004 when I first arrived here. They are organised on Wednesday afternoons, when the majority of colleagues are freed from teaching, and they are attended by faculty and research students alike. Here, faculty have a chance to share the research they are doing in responsible management, CSR, and sustainability, and generate a discussion around it. More often than not, they are hotly contended affairs – Leicester’s external speakers rarely leave the Ken Edwards Building unscathed! Not that we are a nasty bunch, rather, we are a group that sees academia as anything but a neutral affair, particularly when it comes to matters concerning business and management.
What have been some of the challenges you have had in getting faculty more engaged in these topics.
Thankfully, the majority of colleagues are very much signed up to the “management is too important not to debate” axiom. The main barrier to engagement, to put it simply, is time and resources, or rather the lack thereof. Many colleagues tell me they would love to do more for the blog, for PRME, or for the School more generally, but that they simply don’t have the time anymore. This complaint seems to be sector wide, where many academics, indeed many academic departments, are having to do more with less. This sort of experience reverberates outside of Higher Education, of course, and a sense of injustice reverberates too. Many senior university managers, as has been recently documented, have excused themselves from the belt-tightening demands of austerity that they hypocritically expect of others. Thankfully, at Leicester, we are dedicated to the cause – this counts for a lot. Other schools will surely suffer to generate the enthusiasm if it isn’t already there in abundance.
What’s next for University of Leicester?
In an increasingly challenging funding environment for higher education in the UK the School is actively thinking about how best to maximise its impact on organisations of all sorts, via expanding the ways and means that it can engage with them directly. It has explored garnering the Small Business Charter to facilitate work with small and medium sized enterprises, and is also looking at other ways in which it can help students in the school to deploy what they have learnt in supporting organisational improvement. We are also in the process of developing a dedicated specialist track in Ethics and Sustainability, and are hoping to launch a new module on Corporate Social Performance to the Masters and MBA Degree suite of options, to compliment the existing suite of modules dedicated to ethics, sustainability and management responsibility.

Sustainable Business Examples from Around the World – British Columbia, Canada

Finest at SeaAs businesses become more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they repeatedly hear the same examples from the same international companies.

In an attempt to share some new examples of good practise, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Below are some examples from Canada, more specifically across British Columbia.

 

Rachel Goldsworthy,Coordinator, Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation,  Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria, Canada

Maple Leaf Adventures is a small ecotourism business that takes visitors from around the world into wilderness areas of Canada’s West Coast to experience the region’s rich natural and cultural history. Along with a host of other responsible-tourism attributes, Maple Leaf has respectful longstanding agreements with local First Nations that provide access and guides to their traditional territories. One of the biggest impacts of Maple Leaf tours, though, is that they give passengers a first-hand look, smell, and taste of healthy wilderness, and they invariably disembark with a zeal to protect it.

Finest at Sea is a completely integrated seafood business that owns the fishing boats, the licenses, the processing plants, retail shops and even some food service outlets. All of its products, which are sold to local and global markets, are sustainably harvested. As well, the owners believe in a sustainable workforce so they train staff to work in a variety of roles; nobody gets stuck at a filleting table all day every day, and that makes for happier, healthier employees as well as a resilient business.

 

Mark Giltrow, Program Head Sustainable Business Leadership Programme, British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Vancity with nearly 500 000 members is a credit union serving the metro Vancouver area. Among it’s many sustainable initiatives it has undertaken the B-hive. The B-hive allows Vancity to target the $100 million dollars a year procurement it spends on goods and services to member businesses that provide sustainable social or environmental impact to the community. By directing money to their business members as well as showcasing specific positive impacts that some of their business are engaging in, the B-Hive helps ensure the alignment of Vancity values and circulates cash flow among its members.

 

Stephanie Bertels, Assistant Professor, Simon Frasier University Beedle School of Business, Canada

Potluck Café Society provides healthy meals and creates jobs for people with barriers to employment living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Its highly successful catering business supports its community programs which have become a beacon for those living in the DTES. Shift Urban Cargo Delivery is Canada’s first trike delivery service. It operates as a co-op to deliver products such as office supplies, food, clothing, and even recycling to business throughout Vancouver, saving on fuel costs and GHG emissions. Shift is a participating organization in Radius, a social innovation lab and venture incubator based at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. Inner City Farms revives neglected garden space and converts lawns into beautiful and productive urban farms throughout the city of Vancouver. In 2013, it grew food for over 50 families and 6 restaurants through its Community Supported Agriculture program.

 

- What are your favorite local sustainable businesses? Share them in the comments area below. -

 

 

 

Creating a Sustainability Report – lessons from Hanken School of Economics

HankenAt the 2013 PRME Summit – 5th Annual Assembly in Bled Slovenia, a number of schools were recognised for their Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) Reports. Produced by schools on a regular basis, SIP reports outline a school’s approach and activities related to responsible management education. Hanken School of Economics was one of the schools recognised at the Summit, because its report had a clear and coherent structure, readability, and detailed the evolution of their activities, along with the school’s future goals and plans.

As many schools have experienced, putting together a report that brings together all of a school’s activities around responsible management education is a challenging, yet rewarding experience. I recently had the chance to speak with Nikodemus Solitander and Martin Fougere at Hanken about their experiences and lessons learnt around putting together a solid report.

How did you go about putting together the report?
From the beginning, we had a clear three-fold aim with establishing a SIP reporting praxis at Hanken: (1) Approach the task the same way we would a research project. This means that, on the one hand, we draw on the critical research the two of us have conducted on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and UN Global Compact reports, and on the other hand,  we do not outsource the collection or analysis of data to administrators or the marketing department, and we try to be upfront and transparent about progress as well as lack of progress and tensions.(2) Whenever possible, we try to create synergies with the data collection and reporting we provide to other organisations, such as AACSB or EQUIS, applicable research projects (as both myself and Martin conduct research on the implementation and pedagogy of PRME), and general development projects within the school. Finally,(3) we report on all principles even the ones where we do not excel.

How do you collect the information?
The data are collected from various sources, but the bulk of the information comes from interviews with the heads of each of Hanken’s units. The unit heads have the most up-to-date knowledge on projects, research, and various initiatives related to the PRME Six Principles that are addressed in their units – and are therefore in the best position to provide relevant information. The headmaster provides her contribution in the form of a letter where she discusses the ways in which PRME-related issues are worked into Hanken’s strategy, while interviews with deputy headmasters reveal how those strategies work in practice. We also look at our database of publications and identify recent research that relates to the topic area in a relevant way, and include these in the report. In addition, we talk to members of the administration and other staff to learn how sustainability goals are integrated into their jobs.

How has putting together your report changed over the past 3 reports?
For sure it is more systematic today. Now, we collect the data throughout the year and “reposit” it until we start writing the drafts. Usually we start working on drafts 6-7 months prior to our submission date. During the first year we made the mistake of not collecting data “outside” of the actual report production, and then it was really time-consuming to start collecting data about events and seminars retrospectively. You tend to forget a lot of things that are so rooted in praxis that they seem mundane – it becomes difficult to recall these in retrospect. These days, we start the actual writing earlier, for the first report we started 4 months prior, now its 6-7 months and it still feels rushed. For the most recent report, we wanted to develop the reporting on progress in a more clear and readable manner, so we introduced simple arrow symbols to indicate progress or lack thereof.
Is there a part of the report, or the report process that you are particularly proud of?
We’ve made an effort to be frank about lack of progress and things we have identified that need further development and work. Being reflective and transparent about your own organisation is never easy. The report has the feeling of being a report on our own organisational learning, and organisational learning is always something to be proud of. We’ve also made a very conscious effort to stay clear of marketing discourse with the reports, and we’re pretty content we’ve fulfilled that aim.

What have been some of the challenges you faced and how did you work through these?
In the last mile of the report we have been consistently late with the last parts of editing and fine-tuning the report – keeping the deadlines is really hard. Our finalising process is such that after our PRME assistant has collected the data and put together the draft (3 months prior to submission), the two of us edit and rewrite the draft on top of our “paid duties” as faculty – as with all editorial work, it is at times monotonous and tedious. Getting the report to reach the consciousness of all internal staff was another challenge, until we received the SIP reporting prize at the PRME Summit. This gave the report and reporting process a good soap box to stand on.

How do you share the report? How has it been received by the school’s community?
Once the report is finalised, a printed copy is sent to everyone who has been involved in helping us gather the information. Of course it is also made available in electronic form, and posted on the school webpage, where it can be accessed by anyone. After the success of the last report, we were asked to present it to faculty and staff, at a type of mini-seminar. Additionally last year, the school rector presented us with an award for advancing these sustainability principles at Hanken. We would say that the whole process of interviewing key people for the report, as well as the final resource of the report, helps increase awareness of PRME within Hanken.

What advice would you have for other schools putting together their first report?
Try to be comprehensive in regards to reporting on the Six Principles, rather than minimalistic – recognising the needs for development is more important than reporting only on success, in the long-run. Try to create synergies with other activities with regards of the collection of data. Keep track of your institution’s PRME-related activities throughout the year, instead of working backwards. Begin writing the report three months prior to your original plan – it always takes longer than you expect.

What are your plans for your next report?
To have time for a proper spelling and language check… Half-jokes aside, we will build on the existing report and its structure, and perhaps try to get more student input again for the next report.

 

Raising awareness and encouraging discussions around Poverty – “Big Questions”

Big Questions – Syrian Refugees – Promo from Big Questions.

A few months ago, the first episode of “Big Questions,” a TV show created by Dr. Patricia Werhane, Managing Director at the Institute for Business and Professional Ethics at DePaul University, aired in Chicago. The series of half hour shows, also available for download, aims to raise awareness about systemic poverty and encourage lively conversation and debate around questions that most people are afraid to ask. I recently had the chance to speak with Patricia about this innovative project.

 1.     What is “Big Questions”?

“Big Questions” is a series of TV shows aired on public television in the US, which are all about how people are changing the world, one idea at time. Each episode takes you inside issues that aren’t ordinarily covered by the media. It highlights situations involving the poorest and most disenfranchised people, both globally and locally, and celebrates the best examples of effective change being implemented all over the world. We want to bring you touching stories of people in need and challenge you to get involved in creating a different future for the world. We have filmed and aired seven programmes, and our project is to develop at least 6 more.

2.     How did it come about? Why a TV show?

We developed these programmes from our initial focus on poverty alleviating projects at DePaul University. Then we got the idea that if we could visualize some problems of poverty through a TV programme,  the topic would be appealing to a broader audience.

For each episode, we spend 3-7 days filming in each location. It is then edited in our Chicago studio and prepared for broadcast use during a ½ hour TV slot. Each programme is constructed from the videos and engages experts to discuss the issues raised by the particular documentary. Each creates a context designed to raise awareness and deliver emotional impact to its viewers.

 3.     What are the big questions that are tackled in the series?

We have covered a wide range of topics so far. In Ghana we looked at a pineapple plantation that hires only local people, a school for the deaf, as well as a rural fresh-water well initiative. We also looked at a telemedicine project at a United Nations Millennium Development Village. In the United States we have looked at issues such as wage theft (people who work but don’t get fully paid as promised), “food deserts” in Chicago (neighbourhoods where there is no availability to purchase fresh food), and recidivism reform in the Benton Harbor county jail located in the most blighted community in Southern Michigan. Other “Big Questions” covered include micro lending and a small start-up school in Haiti, micro lending and family self-development projects in Bangladesh, and in The Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development health care and health access projects in Tanzania.

The current episode is focused on our conversations with Syrian refugees currently seeking sanctuary in Jordan. We spent time living in the Zataari refugee camp, which houses almost 150,000 people, of which over half are children. There we also had the chance to speak with aid workers and government officials working to alleviate the situation.

4.     What advice do you have for schools wanting to use the videos in the classroom?

Poverty is a system and people in poverty are often very bright but deeply disenfranchised. It is a system that doesn’t provide basic necessities, such as food, shelter, security, clean water, or affordable health care; there are often poor or no educational facilities, the absence of legal protections, and scarce employment opportunities. “Big Questions demonstrates that systemic poverty is best alleviated not by mere money, but we learn that people are truly helped with public-private partnerships that often engage community leaders, moms, families, and groups of individuals through self-development opportunities. The programmes are available to download on our site (www.askingbigquestions.com) and can be the basis of a very interesting debate amongst business students around not only these issues but also possible solutions. I use these videos in my applied ethics course, but they could be used in a wide range of courses.

5.     What are the next steps for the programme?

We are currently looking at putting together future episodes on a variety of topics, including on turn-around public schools in Chicago and Haiti, the day in the life of a formerly homeless drug addict gang member, the rights of indigenous people in Minnesota, a for-profit corporation that gives away all its profits, and teaching inmates how to create their own businesses. For more, visit www.askingbigquestions.com.

Introducing Students to a Product’s Lifecycle

Lifeycle of Milk completed by Ahmed Amlani during his coursework at SFU's Beedie School of Business

Lifeycle of Milk completed by Ahmed Amlani during his coursework at SFU’s Beedie School of Business

There are many different ways to embed sustainability into the classroom. In this new series of blogs, I will share examples of assignments used by faculty around the world to really get students thinking about these topics.

This first Sustainable Business Assignment is courtesy of Stephanie Bertels, assistant professor at Beedie School of Business, who has been using it with her students at Simon Fraser University in Canada for several years now. The assignment is used in the business school’s operations class and takes place over several weeks.

Describe the Life Cycle Project

As the first assignment of my sustainable operations class, I ask students to conduct a lifecycle assessment on a simple product. I ask each student to select a different product, ideally something of interest that would be helpful to him/her going out into the job market. This provides a nice opportunity to chat with students about what industries and companies interest them and to get them thinking about how sustainability might connect to their future careers. For instance, a student interested in fashion might pick blue jeans or a t-shirt. A student wanting to work in the mining industry might select aluminum foil. The key is to pick a product that is not too complicated.

Once they have selected the product, what do they need to do?

Students are asked to select an item for which they must prepare a lifecycle diagram that outlines the key environmental and social aspects of this product’s full lifecycle. They are asked to produce a report that would be useful both for the company’s senior executives and the product design team. The focus should be on identifying the pathways, knowing what needs to be quantified, and getting a sense of where to target improvements to the sustainability of the product.

The students are asked to support their analyses using external sources, but they are not required to conduct detailed calculations. If they come across quantities or comparisons, I encourage their inclusion in order to illustrate the key choices along the lifecycle, but it’s not necessary to quantify all impacts. It is necessary to demonstrate where they’re getting the information about the process and the potential impacts.

In the first week, I break the students into groups and invite them up to the board to draw the lifecycle of different forks (stainless steel, plastic, bioplastic, compostable, and wood forks). This lets me preview concepts like closed loops, embedded energy, consumer use and reuse, barriers to recycling, transportation impacts, a living wage, and design for disassembly.

The following week, the students are asked to come prepared to draw their lifecycle on the board. We’ll discuss them in class, and this gives us a chance to surface issues about boundaries and push the students to start thinking about which issues are most ‘material’ to address. In this class, I show lots of short videos on how things are made and explain how a recycling facility works or how glass gets recycled. I also link this to a class discussion on planetary boundaries and social floors.

Their final report needs to include a drawing of the lifecycle of the product, identify and justify the key impacts, and make recommendations for next steps for how to improve the sustainability of the product.

Any tips for other faculty thinking of doing something similar?

I find the assignment can seem ambiguous at first and that some business students can be a bit afraid of the science. I try to reassure them that they don’t need to dig into the chemical formulas; instead I’m looking for them to map out the complexity of the system and get a feel for the trade-offs in the system. Having them put up the first version of their lifecycles on the board to get feedback from their peers and from me has proven to be an important step along the way.

What is your favourite part of this assignment?

Students have told me that this assignment really gets them looking at the world differently. One summer, I had an email from a student that said, “I’m in a shoe store and trying to work through the lifecycles of two different shoes.” About 15 minutes later, I got another that said, “In the end, I decided I probably don’t need more shoes.”

 

Creating a space for Interdiscplinary Reflection – Lviv Business School

ph2Over the past few years, Lviv Business School in Ukraine, has put in place several new programmes aimed at raising awareness, and supporting development of responsible and sustainable management education. One of these programmes, Reflexio, is an innovative, five-day interdisciplinary retreat that brings together faculty, entrepreneurs, religous leaders, artists, and a range of other individuals, to discuss and explore leadership, ethics, values, and trust.

I had the chance to speak with Halyna Onyshko from Lviv Business School about this innovative programme.

What is Reflexio and how did it come about?

Reflexio (Latin for “reversing”) is the unique ability of the human consciousness to perceive itself during the process of perception, so that the human consciousness becomes self-aware.

Reflexio takes place at the intersection of business, philosophy, and the humanities. The five day programme is set in the picturesque Carpathian landscape, in the tranquil Hoshiv Monastery, to encourage every participant to think about relevant issues of leadership, ethics, values, responsibility, and trust.

It is an invitation to discard what is urgent in order to reflect on what is important. We offer this programme in order to learn how to reflect and grow. Communicating with moral leaders, you will be able to crystallise the true priorities of effective leadership. Our aim is not to teach you but to help you to learn and realise your role as a leader not only within your enterprise – but also in the global context.

What happened during the programme?

The five-day programme had a series of new speakers and opportunities every day.  Participants had a chance to meet Bishop Borys Gudzik president of the Ukrainian Catholic University, and practice silence and retreat with Father Vasyl Zakharus on one day. On another day, participants painted pictures together with one of the most famous contemporary artists in Ukraine, Mykhaylo Demtsiu. They studied Eastern religions and the logic of writing hanzi with the director of Shanghai based company RR Commodities, Sergiy Lesnyak. Participants also studied philosophical texts and symbols with vice rector of the UCU, Volodymyr Turchynovksyy, while later, human rights defender Myroslav Marynovych shared his experience and lessons from his life. 

What has been the response to this new programme?

The best way to talk about the success of Reflexio is to share the reflections that participants gave to us at the end of the five days. One business participant wrote, “There is integrity in this programme: the atmosphere of a monastery, worship, and people with different and interesting experiences – are all valuable components of a new adventure. In business, there are issues that require strategic thinking and sacrifice in order to achieve aimed targets. The questions are what to sacrifice, and whether the target justifies the means. Here, I realised how important it is to understand your target, the target of your company, and to analyse whether or not the sacrifice is expedient.” Another participant said the programme helped her to rethink her life radically and realise the need for change: “LvBS managed to get together different people from different regions, and during the programme, we became very close. I felt inner peace and learned to listen.”  Many participants said that they usually don’t have time to stop and reflect, and that this experience was very useful for that.

What are the next steps for the programme?

Next summer we are planning to continue our programme and make it completely different from first one – to try a new approach, while  keep is the intersection of business, philosophy, and the humanities

 

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