In response to rapid global change, business schools are no longer educating students about the ways of the world, they are educating them for a world that does not yet exist. Bold and innovative approaches to leadership development are key to their success. AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) recognized The Knowledge Is Power (KIP) project among 30 global initiatives, which are defining what it means to lead in the face of uncertainty and to cultivate that winning skillset in the next generation of business leaders.
The third annual Innovations That Inspire challenge recognizes institutions from around the world that serve as champions of change in the business education landscape. The challenge recognizes academic programs that focus on innovation in leadership development, a key pillar of the accreditation process and one of five opportunities identified in the Collective Vision for business education.
OSB was recognized for the KIP project in the category of Strengthening the Understanding of Effective Leadership Development, which highlights how business schools are partnering with industry to gather data-driven insights on the most effective leadership practices and approaches.
The KIP Project was a two-year undertaking funded by the U.S. Department of State and launched and directed at OSB by Dr. Charlotte Karam, associate professor of organizational behavior. Its purpose was to support multi-stakeholder conversations on sexual harassment in Lebanon, gather data and generate knowledge, and foster knowledge-sharing by creating interactive forums and partnerships. Through their work, the KIP team, garnered strong support from the private sector for human rights activism and built partnerships with government, INGOs, civil society activists and professionals from across disciplines.
To effect change at the national level, KIP led a media campaign that heavily relied on a 30-second video made through the collaborative effort of students, faculty, and alumni volunteers. This video spread rapidly through social media, highway billboards, and a national TV campaign called #Mesh_Basita. The campaign trended in the country and engaged over a million and a half people.
“Initially, we struggled. Although we deeply believe that effective business leaders must have a broad perspective that is well versed not just in business acumen and market dynamics, but also in gender justice, social and economic inclusion, and sustainable development, others were less convinced," said Dr. Karam. “Despite the skepticism, we forged ahead, working to create a surge of events, co-curricular activities, community outreach strategies, and campaigns on sexual harassment that all emerged from our business school."
This effort pre-dated the #MeToo campaign and within a few months the team was able to garner strong support from across business sectors. “Today, being recognized by AACSB in this way reinforces our sense that business can do good, advocate for gender justice, and spark positive societal change. We are honored to be noted among this year’s top global innovators that advance quality, global business education,” noted Dr. Karam.