May 4: 3rd International Online Conference on Role of Business in Society
New Model, Old Aspirations
By Nadya Zhexembayeva
When planning our first international online conference in 2004, we made it all about the presentations. We jam-packed the days with keynotes and workshops, and filled every possible spot on the agenda with a bit of content. In 2005 the story continued, and the second international online conference, although scaled down by a day, was still packed with speeches and PowerPoints.
Nothing against PowerPoint - after all, we did enjoy the insights of senior executives of ShoreBank, Institute for OneWorld Health, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and McCann Erickson Chile, as well as reflections of such thinkers as David Cooperrider, Ron Fry, Jane Nelson, Mary Grace Neville, Judith Samuelson, Jim Ludema, Keith Cox, and many others. Yet, as we surveyed the many hundreds of participants who made both conferences so vibrant and powerful, the re-occurring theme for the most exciting aspect of these events was simple: dialogue. Whether happening in small one-on-one "side conversations", or large-crowd chats, dialogues, not presentations, were the most moving, interesting, thought-provoking, mind-expanding experiences of the past two online conferences.
So, we are taking it to heart. The 3rd International Online Conference, titled "U.N. Millennium Development Goals as Business Opportunity," is all about dialogue. Held in May, it serves as a precursor to the October 2006 global forum, Business as an Agent of World Benefit: Management Knowledge Leading Positive Change, uniting the Academy of Management, United Nations Global Compact, and Weatherhead.
Of course, there will be many conversation starters - inviting all of us to explore business opportunities in the works of poverty alleviation, peace making, environmental restoration, health creation, and many other pressing issues of humanity. The reflections of Stuart Hart of Cornell University, Jane Nelson of Harvard University, and C.K. Prahalad of University of Michigan will be featured in special multi-media presentations.
There will also be a few workshops - among them "Mental Models and Their Impact on Sustainable Business Decisions" by Susan Svoboda of the Realia Group, "Holistic Law: Using the Peace-making, Healing and Helping Skills of Lawyers to Benefit Our Global and Local Communities" by Susan Belgard, J.D., and "A Home for Sustainable Literacy - A Green Home" by Mark White and Angela Jones of Brisbane City Council Green Home - will highlight practical relevance of global issues raised by the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. However, at the core of the conference is the idea of open space, of powerful questions, and accessible conversations. So all of us - participants from around the globe - will be welcome to start a conversation thread, host a chat, and/or propose an opinion poll.
We are also staging a new virtual experiment - dedicating the entire second day of the two-day conference to an online "World Café" meeting. The idea of World Café, created by Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, is a "simple, yet powerful conversational process for thinking together and creating actionable knowledge that has been used successfully with organizations and communities on six continents." As a part of the World Café session we will host three rounds of simultaneous chats, inviting all of you to move through, share ideas, and connect across issues and chat rooms.
So, here it is, at a glance. The 3rd International Online Conference "U.N. Millennium Development Goals as Business Opportunity," scheduled for May 4th and 5th, 2006, is free and open to all. REGISTER and we will meet you online.
Nadya Zhexembayeva serves as a director for the 3rd Annual International Online Conference, heads up the World Inquiry on Business as an Agent of World Benefit, and is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Organizational Behavior, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. To contact Nadya, please e-mail her at email@example.com
For updated information about the 3rd International Online Conference, please click here.