Posted 3.27.15

The next phase of The Flourish Prizes for Business as an Agent of World Benefit kicked off Thurs. March 26 with two global WebEx conferences, bringing together 32 professors in 19 countries.  

David Cooperrider and Ron Fry co-hosted the calls to introduce The Flourish Prizes to the professors in the pilot group, who have stepped up to help test and improve The Flourish Prize’s interactive learning process with their students. Using Appreciative Inquiry interviews, their students will track down stories of radical business innovations globally, and then submit these “Business for Good” stories into a dynamic online platform. 

Cooperrider and Fry explained that these inspiring stories of business innovation will become nominations for The Flourish Prizes awards, to be honored at the Fourth Global Forum in 2017 along with the students who discovered them and their faculty members who coached them.

Jonas Haertle, UN Global Compact PRME Secretariat, also joined the call as a founding partner of The Flourish Prizes. Many of the professors in the pilot are affiliated with one of the 600 PRME-signatory schools that are committed to developing the next generation of business leaders for a more just and flourishing world.

Haertle invited all the pilot’s participants and their Deans to attend PRME’s June 2015 Global Forum in New York City, where The Flourish Prizes will be featured in a working session.

Joe Kane and Roberta Baskin from The Flourish Prizes Core Team facilitated the calls, with the technology assistance of Suzanne Healy from the Information Technology Group at Case Western Reserve University.

During the 2-hour calls, offered twice to accommodate global time zones, the professors learned about the history of Business as an Agent of World Benefit and its roots at the United Nations. They also heard about the World Inquiry Innovation Bank that was started several years ago to house stories of radical business innovations for good.

As part of the pilot, the professors will invite their students to try out the story generation methodology and submit the stories they discover about radical business innovations as nominations. Pilot professors have already received customizable materials, developed by Cooperrider and Fry, to help them incorporate The Flourish Prizes into their curriculums and classrooms.

The Flourish Prizes stands apart because the winning innovations are being discovered, nominated and submitted by business school students, initially at PRME signatory schools. Beyond recognition, these awards are designed to have a vastly greater learning impact than other prestigious awards. The team at Case Western Reserve University is creating an integrated partnership with participation by hundreds of business schools across a global learning platform (powered by that will become the world's largest resource for innovations.

Speaking about the pilot’s launch, Baskin explained, “There's a more hopeful future in recognizing there's profit in doing good. I want to shine a bright light on those stories.”

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