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Our History

The Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit was originally launched October 14th 2006, when the Academy of Management, together with thousands of the industry-leading corporations and signatories of the United Nations Global Compact said “yes” to Case Western Reserve University’s invitation to establish the Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit.

2017

The Fourth Global Forum

300

Participants

11

Speakers

11

Partners

The Fourth Global Forum brought together 300 participants from 31 countries, including representatives from business, academia, and nonprofit organizations. Participants worked together to discover how flourishing enterprise—at the individual, organizational and system levels—can improve productivity and bottom-line results. Using the principles of Appreciative Inquiry, they focused their efforts on one of four design areas: Impact Investing, AIM2Flourish, Quantum Leadership, or the Future of Management Education. Design sessions were interspersed with inspiring keynotes that challenged participants to transform their organizations.

One of the highlights of the 2017 Forum centered on AIM2Flourish with the awarding of the inaugural Flourish Prizes. These 17 prizes recognize business innovations that support the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Business leaders, professors, and students from around the world joined to celebrate the ways in which these companies are making a difference in their communities. Two of our Flourish Prize winners—Adam Ziv of Buza Ice Cream and Tyler McMahon of SmartPaani—were featured in an IdeaStream interview.

2014

The Third Global Forum

650

Participants

19

Speakers

12

Partners

The Third 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.

2009

The Second Global Forum

600

Participants

36

Speakers

7

Partners

In the Second 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).

2006

The First Global Forum

500

Participants

14

Speakers

4

Partners

The Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit was originally launched October 14th 2006, when the Academy of Management, with its 20,000 professors from over 130 countries, together with thousands of the industry-leading corporations and signatories of the United Nations Global Compact said “yes” to Case Western Reserve University’s invitation to establish the Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Inspired by several thousand interviews of business and society innovation, delegates at the First 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.

The Forum brought together top business leaders and educators to focus on ways of doing, researching, and teaching business that is both profitable and successful in addressing the world’s most pressing social needs. Instead of one-way speaking, the Forum allowed participants to spend the majority of their time in intimate dialogue. Innovative processes which foster participative and interactive dialogue, such as Appreciative Inquiry, allowed participants to explore the business case for corporate social responsibility while developing solutions for implementing, researching, and teaching socially responsible activities. Nearly 500 leaders attended.