Member of the r3.0 Advocation Partner Program
Acting Executive Director
Advocation Partner contact: Randy Sa’d
Market Traction – Innovating Strategy Development for Flourishing Enterprises
Our volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world is changing with increasing speed. This has imposed unprecedented challenges on enterprise leaders across the globe. Remaining viable and increasing resilience calls for profound organizational change. This article provides a sneak peek of a Market Making Session scheduled to take place at the upcoming r3.0 conference that will profile several closely connected initiatives innovatively responding to the situation at hand.
Oil – and after? Innovating strategy development in offshore drilling and engineering
For Norway, one of the most tangible effects of the VUCA world came in 2014, when oil prices started to steeply decline. The Norwegian government also began to divest from fossil fuels – a major shift for a country that extracts more oil per capita than most any other country in the world. For The Global Centre of Expertise – Offshore Drilling and Engineering (GCE NODE), a leading innovation cluster supporting roughly 100 businesses that deliver products and services to the Norwegian state-owned oil company, this begged a critical question: “What could a future without fossil fuels look like?“
The cluster’s interest in innovative strategic design tools led them to the Flourishing Business Canvas (FBC). Conversations with FBC founder, Antony Upward, about enabling executive leadership teams to plan for a very different future resulted in a collaboration between GCE NODE and Canadian consultancies Edward James Consulting, REFOCUS and Transformation by Design. The result was the development and first commercial delivery of a new, applied educational program branded ‘Enterprise Evolution’.
The Enterprise Evolution Program
Grounded in the science that defines our planetary boundaries, Enterprise Evolution is an experiential learning program designed to appeal to executive leadership teams. In addition to featuring a future-fit approach to developing strategy, the approach enables enterprises to improve their ability to continuously evolve in response to accelerating change. The program includes independent learning, peer-based lab facilitation and ongoing coaching support. Since being launched in 2018, Enterprise Evolution has consistently enabled leaders to deeply appreciate the risk associated with practicing business-as-usual, and motivated them to adopt the kind of holistic and systemically-oriented solutions that have been emerging throughout the r3.0 community (and beyond).
The rave reviews of executive leadership teams that participated in the pilot led to two larger cohorts being launched and eventually prompted GCE NODE to begin licensing the program and delivering training to other Norwegian clusters keen to test the Enterprise Evolution program with the businesses operating in their own sectors.
Transforming governance – Application in Canada’s fastest growing municipality
In 2020, an opportunity was secured to apply the Enterprise Evolution Program with City of Kitchener, which maintains a progressive mandate with a focus on innovation and commitment to a sustainable future. Nested within the Waterloo Region, known for its ecosystem of future-focused NGOs, community-led initiatives, academic programs and applied research projects, the City of Kitchener is an ideal partner for the program’s first application in a municipal context. At the center of the challenge lies the need to continually develop and implement holistic solutions to complex, interconnected strategic challenges.
With strong leadership support and fueled by the difficulties associated with the ongoing global pandemic, the City of Kitchener is motivated to deeply understand and harness the potential of Enterprise Evolution to create a more resilient, sustainable and prosperous community.
Scaling impact – The beginnings of a long-term applied research partnership
Only few kilometres down the road at Wilfrid Laurier University, Manuel Riemer of the Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability (VERiS) had been exploring an interest in how approaches to municipal climate action planning could be improved to better address related social justice challenges. Being that VERiS had already been closely collaborating with REFOCUS, it wasn’t long before the dots were connected between Dr. Riemer’s research interest and REFOCUS’ engagement with the City of Kitchener. They established a shared understanding that meaningfully addressing the shortcomings of municipal climate action planning would require fundamental changes to strategic planning, policy development and decision making practices. On this foundation, the two organizations joined forces to begin building an international applied research project focused on this challenge. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the City of Kitchener soon joined the two as a Lead Partner, motivated to learn and showcase their experience leveraging the Enterprise Evolution Program. A core group of esteemed partners have since been secured to lead the project, including r3.0.
Forward looking – An invitation to join our research partnership
To collaboratively shape this practically-oriented innovation project, VERiS and REFOCUS are currently assembling a diverse group of partners from across four key stakeholder groups: Municipal leaders and their city stakeholders, equity seeking groups, academics, and organizations creating innovative solutions.
This fall VERiS will host a series of three online workshops to help design and focus the project, and develop a strong partnership framework. This will guide the research and practical innovation work several leading municipal administrations will be engaged in executing over multiple years.
During the upcoming r3.0 conference, you can learn more about the details of the Enterprise Evolution program and its success in Norway, the Enterprise Evolution project the City of Kitchener recently initiated, and the VERiS Municipal Sustainability Justice project. Participants will also discover how to get involved in the VERiS applied research project and become a partner. To access VERiS’ official Call for Partners, identify the team of Core Partners, and connect with the project team right away, feel free to click here.
We look forward to an engaging dialogue unfolding during this Market Making Session scheduled for 19:00 CEST/13:00 EDT on Thursday September 10th and hope to see you there!