How can we stimulate creative leadership?

June 2018

Since 2009, Enact has had the honour to support the Swedish Institute in developing and executing the Swedish Institute Management Programmes. We keep doing our best to develop new ways to have discussions with our international group of executive leaders. But how do you help people who have seen it all discover new ideas? How do you make them experience the value of ecosystem services and inclusion? Last week we had both SIMP Asia and SIMP Northern Europe here and decided to expose our business leaders to wild life and wheelchair basketball.

A very early, summer morning walk to the singing of up to 60 different species of birds allowed SIMP Northern Europe to appreciate the complexity, sensitivity and value of the ecosystem services around us. The blackbird feeding its screaming young in the nest just above our heads was the perfect introduction to the International Day for Biological Diversity. Without the old birch tree, the blackbird has nowhere to nest. That is just one example of the sophisticated interdependencies in nature that we must protect through sustainable business practices. After the walk and breakfast (where we gained new appreciation for the honey, which requires 5 million flowers for a single jar) we began to analyse how the respective organisations in the group affect the planetary boundaries. The analysis had a new sense of urgency with a slight itch from the mosquito bites.

On the other side of Stockholm, the SIMP Asia group got to experience an environment in which they were disadvantaged by playing wheelchair basketball. Exposure to an uncomfortable position, which can be the default position for someone else,
teaches us to see the world with new perspective. We are all differently-abled, and depending on changing circumstances, different people get the chance to shine. We need to create an environment in which all can participate and feel included. Only then can we create an environment in which all our people can bring their best on the playing field.

The SIMP Asia and SIMP Northern Europe groups of 2018 met to share ideas on sustainable business and responsible leadership. Instant connections were made and there was mutual surprise at the innovative work being done on the other side of the world, both on diversity and biodiversity.