Monday, 28 October 2013

IFLAS open lecture series: Jonathan Robinson - 'Enabling Social Enterprise'

Jonathan Robinson is a social entrepreneur, writer and anthropologist. He is co-founder of The Hub, the place for people with world-changing ideas.

The Hub sought to borrow from the best of a members club, a business incubator, an innovation agency and a think-tank to create a very different kind of institution.

Jonathan Robinson, founder of The Hub

Hubs can be found all over the world, in places as diverse as London, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, Singapore, Sao Paulo and Mumbai. 

Hundreds of new social enterprises have been created by providing creative and purposeful shared working spaces.

At the University of Cumbria’s campus in Ambleside, a new Cumbria Business Growth Hub & Rural Growth Network is being developed, part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme. 

As government agencies and others seek to promote entrepreneurship, often through the creation of such working spaces, what can we learn from what has been successful worldwide in enabling social enterprise?

Jonathan’s free open lecture is the fourteenth public event organised by the new Institute for Leadership and Sustainability ( Register by emailing

The lecture takes place at the Charlotte Mason Building on the University of Cumbria's Ambleside Campus from 5pm to 7pm on Tuesday, November 12. 

Future events can be viewed on the Institute’s events page.

Friday, 4 October 2013

IFLAS open lecture series: Kresse Wesling - 'Impact Entrepreneurship, Accidentally Fashionable'

Kresse Wesling, co-founder of Elvis & Kresse, will deliver a lecture entitled 'Impact Entrepreneurship, Accidentally Fashionable' as part of the IFLAS open lecture series.
Kresse is an environmental entrepreneur. Love of the environment has infiltrated all aspects of her life. 
The evolution of her career has been about an ever-increasing commitment to planet and people. She builds businesses that both make money and have a positive impact on the environment. 
Her work was recently recognized when she won 2007's Shell Entrepreneurial Woman of the Future Award.
In 2002, Kresse founded Bio-Supplies, an environmental packaging alternatives company. In 2004 she launched this business in the UK. 
Two years later, she started Babaloo, a company that produces a host of ethical and environmental products for parents and babies. 
In 2007 Kresse launched her third business, Elvis and Kresse, which turns industrial waste into innovative lifestyle products and returns 50% of profits to charities and organisations related to the waste. 
Elvis and Kresse's first line is made from decommissioned fire hose. Half of the profits from this line are donated to the Fire Fighters Charity.
  • The lecture takes place at the Charlotte Mason Building on the University of Cumbria's Ambleside Campus from 5pm to 7pm on Tuesday, October 15.
For details of more lectures in the series, visit the IFLAS events page.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Adventures in Sustainability – beginning IFLAS

London is home to many organisations promoting environmental conservation and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as well as a campus of the University of Cumbria. 

Therefore the team of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) travelled to London to celebrate our foundation. 

Our host was the Royal Geographical Society, chosen for its role in the history of adventure and exploration, which are key themes for IFLAS’s approach to leadership and sustainability. A diverse audience of around 300 executives from business, government, academia and the voluntary sector heard a range of speeches that called on us to meet the challenge of sustainability with a new spirit of adventure. 

Our host, RGS Vice President Paul Rose, explained how the Institute approaches “sustainability” as a goal that requires a major change in our way of life. He introduced Ed Gillespie, co-founder of communications advisors Futerra, who shared insights from his travel around the world without flying. Then our senior lecturer Dr Kate Rawles described her adventure in cycling across the USA, talking to locals about climate change. 

Best-selling author of books on wild swimming, Daniel Start, then discussed the value of wilderness in bringing us perspective. 

Professor Jem Bendell addresses delegates
at the Royal Geographical Society

The co-founder of the dance band Faithless then took to the stage to talk about the inner adventure of becoming more honest about our understandings and feelings, as the starting point for action on sustainability. 

The founder of IFLAS, Professor Jem Bendell, then discussed the need for the sustainability professionals to be bolder in their change strategies, so that they relate to the scale of the problems faced.

Lord Hastings concluded the proceedings with congratulations to the University for its bold move to combine leadership and sustainability with a critical yet positive agenda. A video of highlights is available at the top of this page.

The event attracted a range of media attention. Kate, Ed and Jem appeared on the American sustainability show, Sea Change radio. For the Guardian, Daniel wrote about the importance of wilderness in leadership development, Jem wrote about the importance of a spirit of adventure in responding to climate change, and Kate shared more insights from her cycling trip.

Although the Institute was only launched in May 2013, it already runs the world’s largest specialist sustainability MBA programme, with the Robert Kennedy College, attracting students from over 100 countries ( IFLAS has also developed a specialism in sustainable economic innovation, hosting two sold out short courses on complementary currencies, co-writing a World Economic Forum report on the “sharing economy,” co-organising the United Nations first ever conference on complementary currencies, and publishing peer reviewed academic content (“Currencies of Transition” by Bendell and Greco, 2013).

This year, the Institute’s director Professor Jem Bendell has delivered keynote talks on the future of currency in Switzerland (at the UN), Netherlands, China, and the Philippines, and soon in Russia and Australia. He also presented at the head office of BT on experiential learning for leadership development

In September the global management development firm Impact International and IFLAS launched their partnership at the Royal Society of Arts, attended by senior managers in De Beers, Red Cross, and Thomson Reuters, amongst others.

The partnership will roll out a portfolio of short courses in 2014, and a new joint offering for leadership development by engaging stakeholders. More information on that partnership is available at

Also in 2014 IFLAS launches a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership, which targets professionals with some experience in this field, who want to benefit from the University’s 100 year prowess in experiential learning at the Ambleside Campus, to help guide their future vocation.

Active engagement with sustainability professionals is important for us at IFLAS, and we seek this in person via an Open Lecture series with senior executives, and online via our LinkedIn group (with over 600 members).