The Impactful Five (i5): Learning in Leadership Education
Background and Motivation
Business leaders are undeniably one of the most important agents to create sustainable positive development for the world. In the wake of a global pandemic, rising inequalities and environmental disasters, it has become increasingly clear that leaders with a holistic skillset are in scarce supply. These humanitarian catastrophes have surfaced ‘wicked problems’ where no predefined methods exist to solve these transnational challenges and where the call for novel innovative solutions, and ‘minds-on/hands-on’ multi-disciplinary approaches are critically in demand. Today, there is an urgent need for world leaders who can leverage interconnected, dynamic and holistic skills to tackle the global challenges society faces. However, this breadth of skills has not been fostered by business schools due to pedagogies that focus exclusively on the development of cognitive skill sets. In other words, in order to develop effective business leaders with the relevant skills to address today’s challenges, business schools need to adopt a new and different pedagogical approach for holistic skill and mindset development.
The PRME (i5) program is motivated by two-time sensitive opportunities: the ability for business schools to adjust to the current global challenges including social, economic, and ecological issues by shaping a new style of responsible manager who has the skills to lead more holistically, and the need to increase the relevance of business school education in the newly emerging landscape of micro-credentials and digital learning, open access academic content and lifelong reskilling.
The PRME ‘Impactful Five’ (i5) is a three-year program that brings novelty to SDG leadership education by focusing on pedagogical approaches that make sustainable development the norm for responsible management education and leadership in business education. Today, leadership education predominantly emphasizes cognitive skills training in its aspiration to develop innovative and imaginative leaders. The PRME (i5) program develops methods to combine the cognitive skill set training with creative, emotional, social, and physical skill set training. The PRME (i5) program draws on prior knowledge and experiences with ‘playful learning’ to integrate collaborative, social, meaningful, joyful, iterative, and actively engaging methods to generate the future leaders that the world urgently needs.
The purpose of this program is to develop pedagogical adoption of playful learning for holistic development among the PRME network of global leadership educators. Our target group for impactful change is business school educators, while the ultimate beneficiaries are business school students (18-28 years old) at UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Signatory schools.
The Impactful Five Characteristics
The program will set a significant global agenda for valuing pedagogical approaches in educating innovative leaders. An agenda, that is currently hugely undervalued, will contribute to institutionalizing a systemic impact on leadership education to develop future leaders, i.e. leadership students, with a holistic skill set, by employing the pedagogical approach of playful learning and extending the development of the breadth of skills into existing leadership education. This is what is meant by the Impactful Five (i5): the five characteristics of playful learning and the development of five skills: cognitive, emotional, creative, social, and physical. The program will be implemented by the global network of business schools and universities of PRME. The i5 Characteristics aim to:
Make learning Meaningful
Facilitate Active Engagement
Design for Iteration
Develop supportive Social Interaction
Foster Joy and Well-being
During the first three years, the program will effectively pave the way for a globally scalable institutionalization of different types of pedagogical approaches to achieve the relevant and urgently needed management skills for the future. To achieve long-term sustainability, there is a need to further embed the program in institutionalized structures and systems and to further scale globally for systemic change. Importantly, the long-term sustainability will enable tracking of progress between the baseline developed during the first three years with the long-term impact on both educators and students as well as student alumni, i.e. global leaders, in the subsequent years and long-term perspective.
Sulitest: Sulitest's vision is to develop Sustainability Literacy worldwide and empower engaged and committed global citizens to make informed and responsible decisions and collectively build a sustainable future. To meet this need, Sulitest developed an ecosystem of tools that academia and companies can use to measure and improve Sustainability Literacy amongst their staff, students, faculty, and other stakeholders. Its mission is to expand sustainable knowledge, skills, and mindsets that motivate individuals to become deeply committed to building a sustainable future and making informed and effective decisions.
With the support of the Assessment Taskforce, Sulitest is responsible for leading The PRME (i5) Assessment Framework closely aligned with the Playbook with the expectation of developing a digital assessment tailored to the PRME (i5) program so that it specifically tests the development of PRME (i5) learning and pedagogical approaches among faculty outlined in the Playbook and holistic skill set development among students in their classrooms.
Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education: Project Zero (PZ)’s mission is to understand and nurture human potentials –such as learning, thinking, ethics, intelligence, and creativity –in all human beings. Today Project Zero is an intellectual wellspring, nourishing inquiry into the complexity of human potentials and exploring sustainable ways to support them across multiple and diverse cultural contexts. Anchored in the arts and humanities, and with a commitment to melding theory and practice, we continue to work toward more enlightened educational processes and systems that support learners, individually and in the community, to thrive in, reflect on, contribute to, and change the world in which they will live. PZ is responsible for leading the construction of the PRME (i5) Playbook with a goal to provide an authoritative guide based on rigorous research (e.g. research questions, design, appropriate methodologies, research ethics) that equips educators to test new pedagogical approaches for holistic skill set development among their students at leadership schools. The Playbook will reference characteristics of effective learning, such as considering research and scientific-based approaches that incorporate the five characteristics of playful learning (e.g. social, joyful, iterative, actively engaging, and collaborative experiences). The Playbook will be piloted by business school educators and scaled among further educators to nurture holistic skill set development in PRME’s network of 860+ business schools around the world.