Building capacity for Transformation

Building Capacity for Transformation, this summer’s Foresight elective (still in progress) is being taught by futurist Cecily Sommers. It fits perfectly with my intent to nudge us more towards transformative work. And to integrate foresight more tightly with leadership. I think we are super-strong in client work and prepping students how to do that) which can of course be transformative). When Cecily mentioned the transformative leadership work she’d been doing at Google, I jumped at the chance – might you share some of that with our students? While it took a little persuading to get her through the bureaucratic hurdles, developing this topic for foresight students was irresistible to her.

Cecily is a well-regarded entrepreneur and futurist. She founded and ran the foresight-based Push Institute that included an annual conference rated as “one of the three best executive conferences” by Fast Company in 2007.  Among the highlights of her futures work is the professional recognized “Think Like a Futurist” book that is regularly drawn from by the Foresight program. She is also a member of our program’s Advisory Board, and provided some invaluable coaching for me when I took over from Peter.

The approach to the course is very personalized. It is designed both to build the students’ own leadership capacity, as well as develop their ability to advise other leaders to build theirs. So, whether you want to be the leader or the advisor whispering in the leader’s ear, she has covered. As usually happens with  these summer electives, we end up adopting pieces and squeezing them into the regular curriculum. Free electives are a very precious commodity in today’s “all required courses” graduate school world. We are fortunate to have them. And even more fortunate to have futurists such as Cecily willing to share their knowledge and experience with our students in the hot Houston summer (even if she is teaching remotely from Minnesota) – Andy Hines

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