2013/2014 Innovation Cohort – The Pioneers


In May 2013 a group of deans and directors of business schools and corporate learning and development specialists met at EFMD’s Brussels headquarters drawn by the question how do we drive change towards management education that serves a world in transition? They envisioned a shared journey and programme for business schools, other educators and corporate university leaders to build on insights developed through the 50+20 vision “Management Education for the World” and issued an invitation to a global network of committed peers to pilot and test responsible change in education and business.

Less than a year since the meeting in Brussels the first “Management Education Innovation Cohort”, a group of 18 individuals representing 16 institutions (see “The Participants”) is actively driving three hands-on projects (see “The Projects”) aimed at transforming management education in the service of society.

The Cohort’s work is scheduled over the course of a year with four face-to-face meetings at:

  • University of St. Gallen, Switzerland – October 2013
  • The New School, US – January 2014
  • Oulu Business School, Finland – March 2014
  • Barcelona School of Management UPF, Spain – June 2014 (upcoming)

Meet the Pioneers and learn more about their projects.

The Projects

Within a day and half of the first cohort meeting held at University of St Gallen in Switzerland in October 2013, the group organised itself into the three working clusters or projects.

1. Values in Action group

Over the past nine months, our project group entitled “Values in Action” has examined ERS practices and collected ideas based on experiences in our own eight universities in Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.

Our aim is to share our own peer learning as a stimulus through which to globally source rich, vibrant ideas about how universities are bringing ERS to life. Our larger purpose is to generate dialogue about the inclusion of ERS standards in various accreditation requirements, and to share learning across peer institutions about how ERS can be advanced, whether institutions are seeking accreditation or not.


We invite you to complete a short online survey to provide your feedback on our discussion paper entitled: Ethics, Responsibility, and Sustainability (ERS) in Business School Accreditation:  Peer-Learning Perspectives. (download PDF: Values in Action_Draft 20140920)

For information about our project please see the article: Survey on Ethics, Responsibility, and Sustainability in Business School Accreditation.

Group members:

2. The Motivation group

The goal for this project is to create a framework for motivating faculty to integrate responsibility and sustainability into their offerings and approaches – a framework that change agents in business schools and business programmes can use in their own context.

Group members:


  •  Coming soon

2. The Peer-Learning group

As part of the 9 month Innovation Cohort, our cross-institutional group has been prototyping a new form of web-based collaborative learning. Initially the idea has been tested by a small group in the GRLI Innovation Cohort representing business, schools, other learning institutions,  change consultancies and business practitioners. The presentation and paper attached explains the concept of peer Learning Groups in this context, the principles behind it, how it works and what has been learned so far about the value of engaging in our Peer Learning Group prototypes.

We hope that this will serve as a means to attract interest from the wider community of the GRLI network of business schools, GRLI Ambassadors and business, with the ultimate objective of it becoming a viable tool for new ways of connecting and learning across educational and business boundaries.


Group members:

 The Participants


Anders Sandoff, University of Gothenburg – School of Business, Economics and Law

My motivation for taking part in the Innovation Cohort relates both to professional challenges when trying to mainstream sustainability on a rather large scale, as well as to my personal interest in understanding what organizations and individuals go through in such processes. Given the difficulty of the tasks at hand and the advanced arguments supporting 50+20 vision I find it necessary to develop my personal repertoire in describing both problems and solutions in relation to a global context as well as the local situation at our school.


Charles Cho, ESSEC Business School

Charles is Professor of Social and Environmental Accounting at ESSEC Business School. His research interests are Social and Environmental Accounting; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); and Accounting and the Public Interest and has published numerous articles in refereed academic journals in these areas. At ESSEC, he is in charge of the “Management and Society initiative”, but is also actively involved externally in the academic community as a Council member of the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research, Chair of the International Associates Committee, and as International Associate representing France. He has also designed and taught CSR/sustainability and business ethics courses at the PhD, executive, graduate (MBA, MSc) and undergraduate levels.

Why he joined the cohort: “I believe in the urgent need for a ‘thinking-outside-the-box’ type of education in business schools. The GRLI 50+20’s objective for management education FOR the world and its call for a radical transformation in this domain led me to join and commit to the Innovation Cohort.”


 Daniel Serra

Daniel Serra, Universitat Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona School of Management

Daniel is Professor of management at the Department of Economics and Business, head of the Business Analytics Research Group, and Academic Director of The IDEC, Barcelona School of Management, at UPF.


Edith Littich, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Edith is Vice-Rector for Academic Programs and Student Affairs at Vienna University of Economics and Business. She is also Associate Professor and holds a Ph.D. in Economic and Social Sciences.

Why she joined the cohort: “Our university has always been aiming to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the economy and its phenomena. In light of the social, economic and environmental challenges that surround us in the ‘real’ world “ I feel a sense of urgency to rethink traditional business education and the cohort is a perfect setting for a start.”


Francesco Rullani, LUISS University Guido Carli – LUISS School of Business and Management

Francesco’s background in terms of scientific research is in innovation and entrepreneurship, providing him with the passion for discovery of new teaching methods able to increase the entrepreneurial side of the students’ learning experience. He strongly believes in the possibility to create sustainable businesses by blurring the boundaries between profit and social impact.

Why they joined the cohort: “Imaging new tools to teach to future managers how to conjugate profit with positive social impact is a difficult task that only a continuous and passionate discussion among different professional educators can tackle.”


Graham Boyd, Learning Transfer Systems

Graham’s background is in particle physics research. After 10 years working in physics he joined Procter and Gamble in Belgium as an R&D manager. This led on to 5 years in Beijing as part of the leadership team creating a thriving Asian business development centre. After 11 years he left P&G. He co-founded a PV company (SUNthing), a think tank (Renaissance2) and tetraLD. The last has just merged with LTSGlobal and are turning the research of Prof. Ed. Holton and his peers on learning transfer into easy products for the average business person to use.

Why he joined the cohort: “We are developing products and services addressing everything concerning individuals and their ability to turn new learning into new performance; but is outside any individual’s circle of control. The better organisations can do this, the better they support the activation of new learning, the better they can transform the challenges we face into thrival.”


Leticia Greyling, Rhodes University – Rhodes Business School

Leticia joined the Rhodes Business School in 2010, coordinating their environmental & sustainability cluster for the MBA programme. Her professional experience has been moulded in the corporate environment. Therefore, as a “new” academic, the learning around educational practices has often been frustrating, challenging and exciting in order to understand and break the traditional teaching, learning, research and even community engagement approaches.

Why she joined the cohort: “I’d like to experience, learn and discover new approaches to the same and different challenges for education – not only what we teach, but also how we teach.”


Mark Reno,  The Banff Centre & Ivey Business School, Western University

Mark brings to the Innovation Cohort expertise in the areas of leadership & character development, business ethics & responsibility, strategic management & organization development. Mark facilitates The Banff Centre’s executive development course Leading Strategically. At Ivey Business School Mark conducts research into the nature of good character in business leadership, how it impacts organizations, and how it can be developed, and he teaches business ethics.

Why he joined the cohort: “My interest in the 50+20 Innovation Cohort is a natural extension of my life’s work. Through my participation and my subsequent research, consulting, and teaching, I wish to advance our holistic understanding of the nature of effective and ethical and globally responsible business leadership.”

 Mary Godfrey

Mary Godfrey, Bettys & Taylors Group

In my 27 years with the business I have led product development and innovation, design and communications and am now a member of the Group Board and Group Executive Team, taking a collaborative CEO approach to distributed leadership which is good for business, good for people and good for the planet.

My personal learning objective is to further develop my awareness of new and emerging approaches which will inform the design of programmes and frameworks for the future.


Mary Watson, The New School

Mary is Dean of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School in New York, NY. She has served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Milano, and prior to that chair of the graduate programs in organization change and nonprofit management. She holds a Ph.D. in organization studies from Vanderbilt University, with a focus on change leadership.

Why she joined the cohort: “My own mandate is to consider how to advance collaboration across fields in the service of a ‘New School’ version of innovation/management education.”

Mathias Falkenstein

Mathias Falkenstein, LUISS University Guido Carli – LUISS School of Business and Management

Mathias has been working in the field of strategic development of higher education institutions and management education, with a great focus on CSR and Sustainability, by defining new roles and responsibilities for HEI’s and B-Schools in the 21st century.

Why they joined the cohort: “Imaging new tools to teach to future global leaders how to conjugate profit with positive social impact is a difficult task that only a continuous and passionate discussion among different professional educators can tackle.”



Olivier Brenninkmeijer, Business School Lausanne

Olivier is Associate Dean at Business School Lausanne. He has a professional background in higher education management, and previously managed post-graduate research projects at the United Nations. He also carried out research on cross-sector conflict resolution and on public-private partnerships & sustainability, and initially began his career in the retail and public relations business sectors.

Why he joined the cohort: “The question is not only how responsibility can be taught, it is also whether it can be taught as a subject or discipline in the same way as, say, accounting or business strategy are taught, and also offer measurable learning outcomes which can be validated for school program accreditations or other teaching-quality evaluations.”


Philip O’Regan, University of Limerick – Kemmy Business School

Philip is Dean of the Kemmy Business School and has been Director of the MBA programme for the past five years. His disciplinary background is accounting, and his teaching and research span corporate governance, accountability, accounting history, financial information analysis and the role and impact of the accounting profession.

Why they joined the cohort: “What we need, and hope to gain from involvement in the 50+20 Innovation Cohort, is the opportunity to learn from the experience of our peers and implement best practice in terms of a vibrant, impactful research culture, focused relationships with business and solid partnerships with other business schools.”


Rudolf Müller, Maastricht University – School of Business and Economics

Rudolf has been Associate Dean of Education as of January 1, 2014. Over the past 6 years, he has been first director of BSc programs and then director of MSc programs. His research over the past 25 years covered topics in mathematical optimization, information systems, economic theory, and behavioural economics.

Why he joined the cohort: “Academic staff, developing their own career trajectory, has to trade-off between effort spent for students, effort put into academic research, and effort in corporate connections. The question then becomes how to balance all these different demands of different stakeholders in light of our ambition at Maastricht to develop globally responsible leaders. In the next couple of years, I will be responsible for enabling the development of policies and programs that move us forward towards this ambition.”

 Satu Natti

Satu Nätti, University of Oulu – Oulu Business School

Satu works as an Associate Professor in the Unit of Marketing. For a long time now, she has been interested in education development and pedagogy and she also has official pedagogical qualification of a vocational teacher. Most importantly, from the beginning of year 2013, she has been responsible for bachelor program reform process in their school. In practice it means that half of her work hours are dedicated to research, other half to program planning, leading faculty-level transformation process and related activities.

Why she joined the cohort: “I would like to have variety of tools and methodologies to implement this goal to our program, and share ideas and experiences with peers from around the world.”

 Sheila Killian

Sheila Killian, University of Limerick – Kemmy Business School

Sheila is Director of PRME at Kemmy Business School. Her teaching and research interests include corporate social responsibility & business ethics, corporate finance, fairness in taxation policy, language and governance issues in accounting, and sustainable development with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.Why they joined the cohort: “What we need, and hope to gain from involvement in the 50+20 Innovation Cohort, is the opportunity to learn from the experience of our peers and implement best practice in terms of a vibrant, impactful research culture, focused relationships with business and solid partnerships with other business schools.”


Sybille Schiffmann, University of Plymouth – Plymouth Business School

Sybille is Entrepreneur in Residence with Plymouth Business School with a remit for Leadership and Coaching. She develops leaders at all organisational levels. She is a keen advocate of action centered approaches to organisational learning through team leadership development and is running a national project supporting this theme in Health.Why she joined the cohort: “In essence we seek to engage and prepare students for the disruptive social, environmental and economic challenges and develop competencies informed by sustainability and social and ethical responsibility using these more experiential learning approaches…”


Thomas Dyllick, University of StGallen

Thomas is Professor of Management with special focus on Sustainability Management and the University’s Representative for Responsibility and Sustainability. His main fields of research are Sustainability Management and Sustainable Development of Business Schools. He is also a lead author of the 50+20 vision.Why he joined the cohort: “We hope to transform our curriculum to include non-traditional forms of teaching such as sustainable case studies, role play, or simulations in order to engage our students in discussions and reflections on the content of their courses but also on their own future roles as managers.”

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