A Gateway Initiative of the GRLI

50+20 Vision

Introduction to 50+20

50+20 was a collaborative initiative that sought to learn of new ways and opportunities for management education to transform and reinvent itself. We asked critical questions about the state of the world, the emerging societal issues, the dominant economic logic, the purpose of business, the crucial role of leadership, and the challenges facing management education.

The resulting 50+20 vision invites and challenges management education institutions to make a paradigm shift: seeking to be best FOR the world instead of best IN the world. It was launched in June 2012 during Rio+20 at the 3rd PRME Global Forum as a short film and the 50+20 Agenda.

The initative emerged from parallel projects that came together to develop and produce a new vision and agenda for management education.

  • The World Business School Council of Sustainable Business (WBSCSB) started an initiative at the Academy of Management in Montreal in August 2010, when 35 leading sustainability scholars and a few business school deans from around the globe met to talk about “breaking the silos in business and management education”.
  • Meanwhile the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI), a global partnership of leaders from companies and business schools had launched project SB21, working on a blueprint for the business school of the twenty-first century.
  • The Principles of Responsible Management Education (U.N. backed PRME)in New York was a natural third partner, given their ambition to sign up as many business schools and management-related academic institutions as possible and to inspire them to provide more responsible management education, research and thought leadership.

Management education FOR the world provides education and research that is relevant & applied, holistic & integrative, responsible & sustainable, inter-disciplinary & multi-level, and, of course, learning-oriented. The 50+20 project sought to achieve this through:

  • The 50+20 “report” that takes the form of 2 publications:
    • An agenda in executive summary style that highlights the vision, the challenges and the emerging solutions. This will be presented at the RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012
    • A comprehensive book for the inspired managers, business students and general public outlining the future management education provider in pragmatic and captivating language (published after June 2012)
  • Emerging projects at participating business schools around the globe, showcasing emerging practices and pioneering solutions of a responsible & relevant management education
  • Creation of five new business school initiatives in different geographic areas (Asia, Europe, South America, Africa, North America) as leading pioneers to showcase enlightened new models of b-schools. (This was never realised)

Presenting our vision at the U.N. Earth Summit RIO+20 in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 represented the first small step of the management education community to participate in and contribute to the public dialogue on the challenges the world (the earth, society, citizens and business) faces in the coming decades.

‘50+20 not only raises the sights for those charged with the development of our future leaders, but also provides a clear roadmap for delivering on that ambition. As such, it is an important contribution to a journey of transformation that affects not only the future of business, but the very planet itself.’- Paul Polman, Unilever, US
‘The 50+20 initiative is an ambitious effort that highlights the urgent need for radical change in what we teach and how management education is delivered today. In a world that faces so many different and fast-evolving challenges, the initiative is indeed timely and needed.’- Peter Bakker, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Switzerland
‘We now finally have a blueprint that can be used as a foundation for a new contract between business schools and society. Changing the way we educate our business leaders for tomorrow will change the world for the better.’- Rakesh Khurana, Harvard Business School, US

50+20 Resources

The 50+20 Agenda booklet in executive summary style is available for free download in English, Spanish and German, while the complete book can be purchased by following the links.

Innovation Cohort

In May 2013 a group of deans and directors of business schools and corporate learning and development specialists met at EFMD’s Brussels headquarters drawn by the question how do we drive change towards management education that serves a world in transition? They envisioned a shared journey and programme for business schools, other educators and corporate university leaders to build on insights developed through the 50+20 vision. A founding Innovation Cohort met during 2014/15 and starting in 2017 this initiative has been driven under the banner of the GRLI Deans & Directors Cohort.