What is 50+20?

Introduction

50+20 is a collaborative initiative that seeks to learn of new ways and opportunities for management education to transform and reinvent itself. We are asking critical questions about the state of the world, the emerging societal issues, the dominant economic logic, the purpose of business, the crucial role of leadership, and the challenges facing management education.

Background

To this day business and management education efforts at large function in line with an agenda that was set during the 1950s when the world was a very different place from the one we know today. It has therefore been 50+ years since the agenda for management education has been reset. The upcoming RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (June 2012) will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth summit. It has therefore been 20 years since Governments have been collectively urged to rethink economic development and find ways to halt the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources. It is at this juncture in history where 50+20 takes action to reset the management education agenda.

50+20’s point of departure is our belief that the time is ripe for critical reflection on the role business and management education plays in society, today and specifically tomorrow. The way our initiative was born and developed is a perfect reflection of how we believe global issues can be addressed and resolved. 50+20 is a collaborative effort of three organizations – WBSCSB, PRME and GRLI – all active in trying to figure out how to change management education for the better. Rather than embarking in competitive projects, we travelled to meet each other, to sit together and decided before long to join forces and work on a common vision.

Aim and purpose of 50+20

Management education FOR the world provides education and research that is relevant & applied, holistic & integrative, responsible & sustainable, inter-disciplinary & multi-level, and, of course, learning-oriented. The 50+20 project seeks to achieve this through:

  • The 50+20 “report” that takes the form of 2 publications:
    • An agenda in executive summary style that highlights the vision, the challenges and the emerging solutions. This will be presented at the RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012
    • A comprehensive book for the inspired managers, business students and general public outlining the future management education provider in pragmatic and captivating language (published after June 2012)
  • Emerging projects at participating business schools around the globe, showcasing emerging practices and pioneering solutions of a responsible & relevant management education
  • Creation of five new business school initiatives in different geographic areas (Asia, Europe, South America, Africa, North America) as leading pioneers to showcase enlightened new models of b-schools

Presenting our vision at the U.N. Earth Summit RIO+20 in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 represents a first small step of the management education community to participate in and contribute to the public dialogue on the challenges the world (the earth, society, citizens and business) faces in the coming decades.