The Business School of the Future?

A current FT headline about the demise of the full-time MBA caused me to come back to an earlier post that I have started writing. As we transition into the New Year I felt it apt to dwell on one of our core practices that encourages deep reflection - learning. Last year I finally visited the Rotman School of Management in Toronto – to date still one of the few business schools that takes a creative approach to executive education and which has created the discipline of Business Design. Roger Martin famously coined the phrase that Business Leaders should not merely think like designers but actually become designers e.g. in mastering the art of integrative thinking. In our work we often see the value of using a "business designers" mindset – beyond the creative methods of design thinking that have become better known through the work of IDEO and others. Because for creative thinking to fully realise it’s business impact, it needs to become the core driver of future business strategy. A creative mindset helps to liberate us from trying to re-engineer, optimise, tweak and fiddle with our business’s growth levers to start from a designers favourite place: a clean slate. With the power having shifted firmly into the hands of the people (e.g. as consumers / users / partners), business leaders need to embrace a creative mindset that allows them to build meaningful connections with key audiences and design more relevant experiences. Last year the World Economic Forum outlined these Top 3 skills of the future: Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking and Creativity.

This challenges established practices of management education and leadership development. With one of our clients we are currently trying to understand what the "Business School of the Future" could and should look like. As we started unpacking this theme with various internal and external stakeholders - as well as subject matter experts - we discovered some rather exciting experiments that are taking place in the field of executive education. With the advent of "massive" online learning offerings (MOOCs) from most top schools - we can now all take a course at Harvard -  one of the key trends is creating a more immersive, contextual, rich and transformational learning experience. Some of the local and global examples that we found inspirational in this context are The Camp in France (click here) or The Field Institute in Cape Town (click here) - as well as the Kaospilot School in Denmark (click here). We have started a partnership with latter institution and hope to bring some of their executive courses to South Africa next year - please see the "Events" section for more information.

Please also get in touch if there are learning journeys that you are keen to create in order to build an advanced innovation capability into your organisation.