Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit

About the Center

The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit exists to create a world where business can prosper, human beings can flourish and nature can thrive. We advance Business as an Agent of World Benefit by awarding the annual Flourish Prizes, hosting the Global Forum series, offering the internationally-used AIM2Flourish program, and through research, teaching and applied service.

The Fowler Center was established in 2009, with the timely and generous gift of Chuck and Char Fowler. Originally named the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value, the donation launched the inquiry into Business as an Agent of World Benefit initiative, started in 2002, to a new level of priority, scale, and scope as an interdisciplinary center of excellence. “Sustainability is here to stay,” said Chuck Fowler, “and it's not just the right thing to do but it's a business innovation engine—doing good and doing well are totally and mutually reinforcing, and sustainability provides an overarching ideal and storehouse of leadership tools to make it so.” The Fowler Center's aim is clear: to build on and leverage the legacy and to create the finest research, education, and applied center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit in the world.

Mission and Purpose

The Fowler Center helps propel business success + flourishing enterprise through the belief that business is one of the most powerful and positive forces for advancing a better world. The center challenges, at every turn, what might be called “the great trade-off illusion” - the myth that doing good is at odds with doing well. Peter Drucker, one of our first advisors, was clear that every business exists to create value and advance a better society.

The research, teaching, and service mission of the Fowler Center is to be one of the world's most powerful, science-based, and inspiring organization development centers for the advancement of business success and what we call “full spectrum flourishing.”

Business as an Agent of World Benefit is about accelerating, as the new normal, the kind of full spectrum flourishing enterprise that's about (1) people being inspired every day and bringing their best selves to work; (2) it's about innovation arising from everywhere; and (3) it's about realizing remarkable relationship value with stakeholders—customers, employees, supply chain partners, communities, and the biosphere—to create unprecedented, enduring business advantage.

About the Founder

David L. Cooperrider, PhD, is the Faculty Director and Founder of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. He is a Distinguished University Professor and holds the Fairmount Santrol - David L. Cooperrider Professorship in Appreciative Inquiry at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. David is also the Honorary Chairman of Champlain College's David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at the Robert P. Stiller School of Business. In 2017, David received "The Lifetime Achievement Award"-the highest honor in his field of Organization Development.

David is best known for his original theoretical articulation of "AI" or Appreciative Inquiry, created at the Weatherhead School of Management in the 1980's. Today AI's approach to strengths-inspired, instead of problematizing change, is being practiced everywhere: the corporate world, the world of public service, of economics, of education, of faith, of philanthropy, and social science scholarship.


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