The 50+20 vision has ignited a flame that illuminates a path towards the future of management education. John North and Hamid Bouchikhi describe the latest steps on the journey.
With the dry winter months encroaching on large parts of sub-Saharan Africa it is not uncommon to spot and often smell wildfires or veld fires as they are known locally. These wildfires occur in the open rural spaces of the African grasslands or woodlands (the veld) showing no regard for boundaries and fences or the national speed limit – often racing and raging out of control, reaching farms and settlements hundreds of kilometres from the initial spark.
Because the occurrence of wildfires are often the result of a simple insignificant spark and generally due to human action or neglect, one easily forgets that they also form part of the natural renewal process in an area where roughly 70% of the natural ecosystem (within South African borders at least) is adapted to this harsh but necessary reality. When handled responsibly, however, a spark can ignite a much-needed source of light, a torch lighting the path of the carrier and those in the vicinity trying to find their way forward.
This seems to ring true for the impact and energy of the 50+20 vision.
The time and conditions are ripe for a new idea, a spark if you will. Some will perceive the spark as a threat and source of a pending wildfire. Others will protect and nurture the flame in the hope that it will help shine a light on the path of renewal.
And so, in the last few months, we have seen individuals and organisations across the management education ecosystem ignited by the essence of the 50+20 vision, working pro-actively and often in partnership to make its impact felt.
A number of business schools are in the process of piloting “collaboratories” within their stakeholder networks, and international and regional teams of management educators and scholars are using the roles and enablers described by 50+20 in their daily research, teaching and other duties.
During the 2012 Academy of Management Presidential Address by President Anne S Tsui the 50+20 vision was held up as an example of management education “Daring to Care” while the latest revision of the EQUIS standards includes a new chapter on “Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability” that requires business schools to adopt core elements of 50+20 ideals to remain accredited.
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