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15th ABIS Annual Colloquium 2016
ABIS GlobalEvents15th ABIS Annual Colloquium 2016

15th ABIS Annual Colloquium 2016

Time for a Change and a new Agenda in Education, Learning & Talent Development

Time for a Change and a new Agenda in Education, Learning & Talent Development

Date 27 October 2016
Host ABIS - The Academy of Business in Society
Venue Ateliers des Tanneurs, Brussels, Belgium
Focus Education and Talent Development for Sustainable Business

Thematic Focus

The past 18 months have been highly significant in terms of the global sustainable development agenda. Acceptance has grown among political leaders, in particular, that urgent collective action is needed to tackle a range of complex, volatile threats to our biosphere and ecology.

As a result, intergovernmental commitments and policies around environmental and social issues – such as the COP21 Paris Agreement, UN Sustainable Development Goals and the European Union’s Circular Economy (CE) package – have set out clear goals and targets to achieve by 2030.

Huge opportunities await for business transformation and innovation: recent Accenture research suggests a US$ 4.5 trillion reward for successful CE business models in this timeframe. Yet plenty of other question marks remain, such as:

  • Do companies have the right people to grasp these opportunities in a responsible and equitable way?  
  • Do they understand the implications of digital transformation for their current workforce? 
  • What will the jobs in a circular, digital future look like?
  • What kind of talent, skills and competences will be needed to support these by 2030?

As the Colloquium Executive Summary shows, key stakeholders increasingly accept that these shifts in the global landscape will require a new paradigm in education and talent development, and new sets of organisational & individual capabilities.

This is specifically true with regard to business education, given industry’s role as a driver of innovation, jobs, growth and competitiveness, and business schools’ role as a connecting hub between the sciences, technology, innovation, management, and more.

As we will see on October 27, there are pockets of innovation developing in companies and in academia which may help to accelerate the development of dynamic new talent systems. However, the overall debate remains fragmented between public, private and civil sectors.  International coalitions for change are very much in their nascent stages. And above all, the scale of today’s economic, environmental and social challenges means that we can no longer wait to act.

In this context, the 2016 Colloquium will bring together leading voices from industry, academia, youth communities and public policy – as well as those with related interests in global sustainability – to address three main issues, which ultimately frame the entire conference:

  1. Developing a unified view of shared priorities for change among key stakeholders;
  2. Adapting and scaling current innovations in business and academia;
  3. Identifying successful business-academic partnership approaches that deliver measurable impact and change.


Related Documents

Colloquium Event Report

Colloquium Executive Summary

ABIS Education Initiative Report









(All times local)


09:30 – 09:50

Welcome | Room: Main Hall

Alfons Sauquet Rovira - President & Chair of the Board of Directors, ABIS Global Dean, ESADE Presentation

09:50 – 10:00


Programme Introduction | Room: Main Hall

Joris-Johann Lenssen - Managing Director, ABIS

10:00 – 11:00

Opening Plenary: 

The Case for Systemic Change | Room: Main Hall


Gary Kildare – Vice President, Human Resources, IBM Europe

Maury Peiperl – Pro Vice Chancellor & Director School of Management, Cranfield University Presentation

Dean van Leeuwen - Founder, TomorrowToday 

Anita Negri – President of the Executive Board, Oikos International Presentation


Doug Baillie - Chair of the Strategic Advisory Board, ABIS 

This session seeks to connect the business, academic, student and public policy perspectives on why systemic change is so important. More importantly, though, it will address future concerns, uncertainties and questions that will need to be considered as a ‘future of education & talent development’ agenda moves forward. 

In this regard, participants will hear from IBM about the future of jobs and skills in a digital future; from Cranfield University about the prospects for sustainability transforming the conventional model of the University; from Oikos International about the new expectations and aspirations of millennials regarding sustainability and their future careers; and from the European Commission about the challenges of defining long term political vision and goals in skills and education.

11:00 – 11:30

Coffee Break | Room: Networking Area

11:30 – 12:45

Interactive Sessions:

Creating Dynamic Systems of Leadership & Talent Development  

It is clear that companies and education institutions will be at the forefront of building the new capabilities, skills and values that will underpin global sustainability progress. Both will however need to undertake a fundamental redesign of traditional approaches to ensure that sustainability is embedded in culture, hearts and minds inside the organisation.

To address this,the middle of the Colloquium programme features two blocks of interactive parallel sessions – the first corporate, the second academic. These will explore new approaches to creating systems of talent for sustainability, supported by insights from a new ABIS initiative or member innovation. The emphasis throughout is on people-driven debate and a systemic view of the main theme.

BLOCK I: Corporate Innovation Drivers

Session A: The Future Role of Boards | Room: Merlot

Boards of Directors have an essential role to play in shaping the purpose, culture and values of the firm within a context of sustainability and long term value creation. In this session, participants will discuss the challenges of effective stewardship in a volatile and complex business environment, as well as new approaches to developing the necessary skills, knowledge and mindsets that will empower Boards to lead from the front.   

Presenters:  Anthony Carey (Mazars) & Annemieke Roobeek (Nyenrode Business Universiteit & ABN AMRO Group) Presentation

Session B: Integrating Sustainability Throughout Leadership, HR & Talent Systems | Room: Gamay

The prospects of a new industrial age shaped by macro trends, climate challenges and digital transformation will require companies to be more agile, resilient and entrepreneurial than ever. Established business models will come under increasing pressure. Corporate longevity will depend a great deal on the human capabilities inside the firm to lead profound change in the current way of doing business. In this session, participants will discuss the critical differentiators in terms of leadership qualities, skills and mindsets required to thrive in the new context, as well as the leadership development approaches which may better identify and harness this potential from an early stage.  

Presenters: Patrick Hull (Unilever) & Paul Begley (University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership)

Session C:  Anticipating Sustainability Skills & Talent | Room: Syrah

Various macro trends will have a profound impact on the business environment during the UN SDG era. Going beyond current policies, companies have an increasing incentive to anticipate the skills and talent they will need to deliver a sustainable, profitable business model in the years ahead. In this session, participants will discuss the definition of a new blend of skills, styles, traits and leadership qualities for current high potentials, its relevance to millennials, and the implications for mainstream business education and executive development.

Presenters: Doug Baillie (ABIS) & Luk van Wassenhove (INSEAD)

12:45 – 14:00

Lunch | Room: Networking Area

14:00 – 15:15


Interactive Sessions II:

Creating Dynamic Systems of Leadership and Talent Development  

BLOCK II: Academic Innovation Drivers

Session A: Mainstreaming & The Strategic Case for Change | Room: Merlot

Mainstreaming sustainability has significant implications for business schools and universities in terms of curriculum and programme design, student recruitment, internal culture and brand management, among others. In this session, participants will discuss the key success factors behind formulating a strategic case for change, securing the buy-in of key stakeholders, and ultimately implementing the organisational transformation process.

Presenters: Petra Molthan Hill (Nottingham Business School) & Mirjam Minderman (Tias School of Business and Society) Presentation

Session B: Interdisciplinarity & Breaking Down Walls Between Disciplines | Room: Gamay

Business schools are ideally positioned to collaborate with the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ sciences to create new education frameworks and content that develop sustainability skills and competences. In this session, participants will discuss ways to build successful internal partnerships, fuse relevant knowledge and concepts from across disciplines, and integrate into programme marketing, delivery and student engagement.

Presenters:  Kosheek Sewchurran (UCT Graduate School of Business) Presentation & Kaisu Puumalainen (Lappeenranta University of Technology) Presentation 

Session C: Faculty Development & Building New Capabilities | Room: Syrah

Sustainability educators have a vital role to play in driving forward a new agenda, but are often in a minority within their institution and face specific challenges in career development. In this session, participants will discuss ways to deepen sustainability commitments and pedagogic skills across an entire faculty, and to increase the materiality of sustainability teaching and research to overall career prospects. 

Presenters: Kai Hockerts (Copenhagen Business School) Presentation & Mollie Painter-Morland (Nottingham Business School)

15:15 – 15:45

Coffee Break | Room: Networking Area 

15:45 – 16:00

Plenary Session:

Highlights from Interactive Session Debates | Room: Main Hall

This short bridging session has two main objectives: (1) to share the headline messages and insights from the Interactive Sessions with the full audience, and (2) to provide extra inputs and stimulus for the following panel discussion of future collaboration models.

16:00 – 17:00


Plenary Session:

Partnerships That Make a Difference | Room: Main Hall

Partnerships can be the sulution to many problems, but can also be the source of the same. Partnerships with ambitious goals are not different: so what makes them tick, what drives the success? The session is designed to examine some of the empirical aspects of partnerships. Participants will gain insights from real-life experiences of leading ABIS members and strategic partners on a range of collaboration models: from Nottingham Business School on co-creating leadership programmes in Africa; from GlaxoSmithKline on international capacity-building partnerships including developing markets; from CSR Europe on building business-education partnerships in a high-level policy context, and from the North Star Alliance on a cross-African collaboration.


Mollie Painter-Morland – Nottingham Business School

Sherif Hassane – GlaxoSmithKline

Jan Noterdaeme – CSR Europe & Pact 4 Youth Presentation

Luke Disney - Executive Director, INSEAD Centre for Social Innovation 


                                                                                                                        Jens Meyer - CEDEP

17:00 – 17:30

Closing Session:

 Moving the Agenda Forward | Room: Main Hall

The final session will be an opportunity for participants to share their experience and highlights from the conference, and what they see as the main priorities for action going forward. It will also be an opportunity for comment on additional perspectives to engage and include in 2017, and commitment to different initiatives being developed by ABIS and its strategic partners. 





Related Documents

Colloquium Event Report

Colloquium Executive Summary

ABIS Education Initiative Report








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