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Thunderbird Showcases Best Practices in Sustainable Innovation

Published 03-08-07

Submitted by Thunderbird School of Global Management

GLENDALE, AZ - March 8, 2007 - Business experts, thought leaders and business school students from around the world will gather at Thunderbird School of Global Management March 21-24 for the school's first Sustainable Innovation Summit, which will showcase real-world innovative business solutions that reflect a commitment to economically, environmentally and socially sound business practices.

The Summit features a variety of events, including workshops, panels, keynote speakers, and the final round of an MBA case competition, all dedicated to best practices driven by innovation and corporate social responsibility.

The Summit's highlight is the final round of the Challenge, a team competition challenging MBAs and other master's level students to develop innovative and sustainable business concept plans to address real-life challenges faced by global corporations. Formerly held as two competitions, one focused on innovation and the other on global citizenship, this year's challenge represents one unified competition that is rooted in Thunderbird’s mission "to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide."

"The Thunderbird Sustainable Innovation Summit is a clear recognition that we can no longer separate a business' financial success from its responsibility to society and the planet," says Gregory Unruh, Director of Thunderbird’s Lincoln Center for Ethics in International Management. "Future business leaders will have to find innovative solutions that create simultaneous value for both the company and the world at large. And there is no better group to challenge than those MBAs from around the world that will have to create and implement ideas for a sustainable and prosperous future."

Ten team finalists from the pool of 88 teams representing 45 universities in 13 countries who competed in the first round were named March 8. The finalists include a Thunderbird Global MBA team from Costa Rica made up of students from the school’s Latin American Managers program. Other finalists include two teams from Duke, and teams representing Vanderbilt, Instituto de Empresa, Purdue, the University at Buffalo the State University of New York, University of Florida, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and Johns Hopkins University (SAIS).. The finalists will travel to Thunderbird to present their cases during the Summit, and the winning student team will receive a cash prize of $20,000 and the title "2007 Global Champions of Sustainable Innovation."

Keynote speakers during the Summit include Tony Buzzelli, vice chairman of Deloitte & Touche USA, LLP; Michael E. Raynor, of Deloitte Consulting LLP, a Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling author of "The Innovator's Solution" and "The Strategy Paradox"; Faisal Hoque, founder, chairman and CEO of the Business Technology Management Corporation. Hoque is a former senior executive at General Electric (GE) and author of "Sustained Innovation"; and John Sweeney, executive producer and owner of theBrave New Workshop, a highly successful progressive improvisation theater troupe that provides corporate training in innovation techniques and idea creation. (www.bravenewworkshop.com).

"Too often, the tools of innovation are deployed in the pursuit of riches and the cost of failure is seen as simply foregone fortune," Raynor said. "By injecting the concept of sustainability, this event recognizes that failure has a real cost, and innovators that 'swing for the fence' and dismissively accept the cost of ‘striking out’ are taking an irresponsible approach to risk."

Workshops topics will include:

  • Entrepreneurship with a Cause: How startup organizations can make a difference in the communities where they operate

  • The Future of Energy: Best sustainable energy solutions including trends in solar, wind, geothermal and oil industries as well as a look at how alternative energy sources can be profitable (moderated by Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

  • Socially Responsible Investing: What lies in the future of SRI and ERI

  • Public-private Partnerships: On the Road to Sustainable Prosperity: Leveraging strategic partnerships to create value in local and distant communities

  • Innovation at the Speed of Laughter: Brave New Workshop's take on brainstorming, idea creation and sustainable innovation career paths (presented by John Sweeney).

    Current sponsorship partners of the Summit include BillMatrix, Johnson and Johnson, Merck, Deloitte, Honeywell, Cisco, Xerox and Net Impact.

    To register, visit www.sustainableinnovation.thunderbird.edu. The cost is $50 for students and $100 for professionals.

    About Thunderbird

    In 1946, Thunderbird was founded as the first graduate management school focused exclusively on global business. It is regarded as the world's leading institution in the education of global managers and has operations in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Russia and Asia. Ranked No. 1 in international business by U.S. News and World Report, the Wall Street Journal survey of corporate recruiters, and the Financial Times, Thunderbird is dedicated to educating global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide. The school’s programs facilitate the development of the global mindset which is critical to managing effectively in different social, economic and political environments. More than 38,000 students have graduated from Thunderbird, and its alumni live and work in more than 140 countries. For more about Thunderbird, please visit: www.thunderbird.edu.

  • Thunderbird School of Global Management logo

    Thunderbird School of Global Management

    Thunderbird School of Global Management

    Founded in 1946, Thunderbird is the oldest graduate management school focused exclusively on global business. It is regarded as the world's leading institution in the education of global managers and has operations in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Russia and Asia. Ranked No. 1 in international business by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report and the Financial Times, Thunderbird is unique in that it is dedicated to the task of producing global leaders who contribute to sustainable prosperity worldwide. The schools curriculum is based on the principle that to do business on a global scale, executives must not only know the intricacies of business, but also understand the customs of other countries and be able to communicate with different cultures. More than 38,000 students have graduated from Thunderbird, and its alumni live and work in more than 140 countries.

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