Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit

Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit series

Optimistic. Bold. Transformational. These are the words people have used to describe the Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Patrick Cesceau the former CEO of Unilever and Honorary Chair of the first Global Forum along with C.K Prahalad described it as “an epicenter for sustainable innovation.”

The Global Forum is an “Unconference” because it is more like a massive design studio—engaging, creative and action–oriented—than a typical convention. The Forum taps into the “whole system of strengths” and uses design tools from the world–renowned Appreciative Inquiry Summit method to enable and inspire individual, team and collective action. To be sure, the Forum offers groundbreaking workshops and amazing speakers, but what makes the Global Forum such a landmark event for many people is its mantra: “up with design.”


History of the 2006, 2009 and 2014 Global Forums for Business as an Agent of World Benefit

Inspired by several thousand interviews of business and society innovation, delegates at the first (2006) Global Forum shared the vision that business has the opportunity to be one of the most creative forces on the planet, challenging “the great trade-off illusion”; and exploring fresh research on the business case for sustainability. Nearly 500 leaders attended.

In the second (2009) Global Forum the theme was “Manage by Designing in an Era of Massive Innovation,” focused on uniting design thinking with sustainable business practice and education. Over 600 leaders of business, policy and management explored the primacy and potency of design thinking as the vortex for creating a new breed of industry–leading stars, showing how the creative designer's attitude can transform 21st century corporate citizenship into a source of business opportunity and world benefiting innovation. Designers from IDEO and the methods of Appreciative Inquiry helped turn the conference room into a real-time design studio—the place was rocking—and again books, major initiatives and agendas were shaped. An important innovation was the creation of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).

The third (2014) Global Forum brought together leading business executives, management scholars, civil society leaders and government policy makers from around the world to identify and to leverage new solutions that have the potential to change the nature of 21st century society. Under the theme Flourish & Prosper, participants explored renewed purpose and radical “net positive” strategies to create greater value for business and society. Over 650 attendees contributed to a new business orientation aimed at helping organizations inspire and engage people in innovative ways. Healthy work spaces and mindful management practices were brainstormed to enable customers and employees to be more authentic, creative, and collaborative. Action plans were developed to assist companies to sustain industry leadership while realizing remarkable relationship value with diverse stakeholders including local communities, governments, nonprofits, and suppliers. The collective effort over two-and-a-half days led to breakthrough innovation ideas in eight mini-design summit areas. These ranged from agriculture and energy to metrics, the circular economy, cities, consciousness of connectedness and pioneering work on a U.S. Grand Strategy along with a new prizing project to showcase Business as an Agent of World Benefit. The result? Incredible energy and newfound enthusiasm for a business-led effort to create a world in which companies prosper, people excel, and nature thrives.

The Forum is designed to galvanize change. Visit the Flourish & Prosper Global Forum website for a taste of the most recent Forum, or subscribe to our newsletter to receive future updates.