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#thechoice of sustainability 

One hundred and four participants from 36 nationalities just started the ESCP top-ranked Executive MBA programme. This year is marked by a complete redesign of the induction week to focus on sustainability and the associated challenges for the future of business. 

#thechoice of sustainability was an obvious one for Prof. Véronique Tran (Academic Dean, Executive MBA and GMP) and Inès Khedir (EMBA Director) at the start of this new decade: "We wanted to be bold and innovative while being fully aligned with the mission and core values of ESCP Business School, showing our Executive MBAs the path to responsible and collaborative leadership. It all starts here!". A choice that EMBA participants applauded. For Maria Gemayel, “it would have been unacceptable for a Business School not to tackle this topic!"


This one week induction seminar is the outcome of the collaboration with two ESCP Chairs:  our Deloitte Chair on Circular Economy, led by Profs. Aurélien Acquier and Valentina Carbone, and the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute for entrepreneurship, supported by RCI Bank and Services and led by Prof. Sylvain Bureau.

Last June in Madrid, sustainability was featured as one of the central themes of the Executive MBA’s closing seminar and special Bicentenary celebrating event. The Circular Economy Chair had been invited for a roundtable discussion on new business models in circular economy.

For Aurélien Acquier, "Business Schools and MBA programs are often criticised for making little room to sustainability issues. By putting sustainability at the very start of the Executive MBA programme, we want to make it clear for participants that sustainability is the fundamental and radical challenge of our century. Spending a week on sustainability is key to be clear about the urgency, risks and opportunities, and have our participants reflect on the profound change business needs to undergo and their own responsibility in this change process. As leaders, we want to raise their awareness as well as empower them to act". 

On their very first morning, participants explored the mechanisms of climate change through a Climate Collage workshop. "The Climate collage is a participatory and creative workshop to grasp the main man and nature related mechanisms responsible for climate change. It is a powerful tool to bring scientific knowledge in our classes in an accessible manner. It is from such knowledge baseline that we can then more consciously build future sustainable futures together", Valentina Carbone explains. "A great way to learn while having fun!" said Ioana Kyriakou. 

Then conferences and roundtables about "Doing Business in the Era of Anthropocene", "Finance and Leadership for Sustainability", and "Rethinking Business Models" brought further insights into this new reality we need to face more dramatically than we think. "I was not so familiar with sustainability. Now I feel better equipped to explore new business models, other solutions and approaches. I got a lot of inspirations with clear examples speakers and experts provided us with" said Luca Nicolardi.

The Art Thinking Workshop: Improbable was a bold yet again obvious path to bring participants to realise that creativity and innovation are the necessary ingredients to reinvent business. Art Thinking is a very powerful method, developed by Sylvain Bureau for the last 10 years. As he states: "Art Thinking is a method that enables you to create the improbable with certainty. Thanks to this method, you do not need to be creative anymore, you just need to follow the method and you will be able to  challenge status quo and develop innovative perspectives on organisations, markets and society.. More than just having ideas, executives need to develop a critical mindset to apprehend complex problems like climate change, technological or business disruptions in a new way."

After 2,5 days of the Improbable workshop, participants organised an opening of their pieces of art at the Grand Palais. An outstanding venue to showcase the outcomes of the creative process they went through. Twenty two projects related to topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Smart cities, food, sustainability, or education… 

Hard to sort out which projects to focus on, as they were all very impressive.
Baris Aktas and Michele Fabbri were part of a group who addressed the topic of Fashion, bringing Fashion to old-people in retirement homes. Their "New age of Fashion" project  was the outcome of their quest to denounce the fast-fashion industry and its spread-out over generations. They both appreciated the challenging process of Improbable. "Great learning with experiment!" Says Gauray Sharma, another participant, about the Improbable experience. The "Bloody data" project questioned the way people give away data, every single day. Their piece of art put the visitor in a familiar and trustful situation of  blood collection process. Blood is the data, which feed and grows the AI. "With Improbable we leave our comfort zone to question our values, to move away from agreed models, to change your perception" explained Khalil Tabbi, one of the team members of Bloody Data. 

This Induction Seminar shows the EMBA programme's ability to create a community of responsible leaders able to design the future of management.  This induction seminar was the first step of a beautiful human adventure that will last 18 months.

➔    For more information on the programme, please contact Inès Khedir, EMBA Director, ikhedhir@escpeurope.eu

ESCP EMBA Improbable Workshop

 

ESCP EMBA Improbable Workshop

ESCP EMBA Improbable Workshop

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