Bulgaristan Uluslararası Eğitim Derneği
Anasayfa > AUBG Sustainability Leadership And Innovation Program


About the Program: 

The Executive Leadership Program has been developed jointly by the American University in Bulgaria & the Association of Soft Drinks Producers in Bulgaria with the support of well-known international professors. It represents a brand new, unique educational opportunity driven by the growing demand for sustainable business training. The program aims to educate professionals in the field of sustainable development and best business practices. Professionals will be trained in six sessions - four on the American University in Bulgaria campus in Sofia and two online. The program will end with a presentation of the participants' SLIP Change Projects.


Sustainability relies upon organizational and technological innovation, yielding returns both financial and social. As such, implementing a sustainability agenda can serve to better align an organization’s practices with its goals, mission and values. The program focuses on future leaders of change to support the development of society in a way that strengthens their own organization. The focus is on leadership and personal development in terms of advancing the participants’ expertise. We are looking for highly-motivated, self-driven, ambitious and inspired individuals who are not afraid of challenges, are always in strive for knowledge and would like to learn in the field of shared responsibility and sustainable business growth.

Next Generation Sustainability Leadership

The program is designed to:

· outline key content and definitions in the field of sustainability leadership and innovation, signposting relevant literature and sources of information;

· highlight the nature of the field as fast-moving, locating areas of agreement and contention;

· help participants develop expertise and confidence as strategic leaders in a business and/or organizational setting;

· empower participants to close the gap from ‘knowing to doing’;

· support participants in identifying a business/organizational challenge and moving it forward through innovation;

· help participants promote sustainability for value creation;

·  be a transformational leadership and personal development program;

· support participants contribution to the co-creation of thriving, sustainable communities in Bulgaria and beyond.

Participants will undertake a series of pre-sessional exercises related to ‘Sustainable Self’, the outcomes of which will frame content in Session 1.  Drawing on the experience of the cohort, key conceptual frameworks will be explored, and participants will be invited to translate knowledge into their own business/organizational context.    

This executive leadership program will be illustrated with practice-based case studies from a range of business sectors, the aim of which is to inspire participants to champion local change. 

Each participant will be required to identify a key sustainability and innovation leadership challenge and work on this to promote innovation, reporting on their progress to cohort participants and the program’s sponsors.  The program can also help the establishment of a community of practice in Bulgaria, deepening professional networks that can support peer-to-peer coaching and learning going forward. 

Participants in the program will be expected to:

· Undertake pre-session and post-session activities, as determined by the program team;

· Engage with the designated materials in a critically evaluative way and seek out additional sources for interest and sharing with fellow participants;

· Set aside time for personal reflection and deeper strategic engagement with the topics;

· Contribute in the classroom/online in a way that respects the input of all participants;

· Support peer-to-peer and group work;

· Participate in facilitated online workshops and related events;

· Be a role model, in a personal and professional capacity;

· Share their learning with colleagues, family and friends;

· Adopt a growth mindset, open to new ideas and lifelong learning.

Program Topics

Program content is integrated across classroom and online sessions and experiential learning through the participants own Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program (SLIP) change project.  The program supports strategic leadership towards sustainability and innovation and is designed around five key topics and a self-managed change project.

(1)  Leading in Complexity

This topic covers how to deal respectfully with the complexity of the world today and effectively facilitate change in this context.  Participants will explore the meaning and implications of complexity for social change and their own leadership practice in building a vibrant, sustainable future together with others.  Complexity will be examined in the meta-context (global and societal trends) and at the organizational and sector levels.

The participants will be enabled to:

· develop knowledge about and understanding of leadership in complexity, specifically related to transformative change for sustainability and innovation;

· develop skills required to work effectively with complex challenges, including the ability to reflect on various approaches in the field;

· reflect on, practice and develop their leadership skills and leadership style to effect change sustainably in conditions characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

(2)  The Sustainability Change Journey

This topic will define sustainability principles and themes, in line with the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), and explore natural systems and the five capitals.  Participants will be encouraged to articulate the milestones on the path to their organization’s desired future, what steps they can take today and how they can measure movement in the right direction. 

Integrating sustainability into core functions is key to optimizing benefits realization and this relies upon effective communication skills and confidence in leading change.  Participants will develop an appreciation of systems thinking and interpersonal competencies for sustainability practice.  The role of stakeholders and building customer trust through transparency will also be explored.

The participants will be enabled to:

· define sustainability principles and themes, and locate their actions within the Sustainability Development Goals;

· appreciate the contribution of natural systems, the five capitals and systems thinking to sustainability innovation and practice;

· develop knowledge about and understanding of strategic thinking and planning at organizational/team levels for sustainability;

· develop knowledge and practical understanding of how a methodology for strategic sustainable development can be used to structure and coordinate innovation;

· develop leadership skills through team work and other collaborative means.

(3)  Innovation for Sustainability

This topic positions sustainability as innovation’s new frontier.  Thinking differently about the business model requires the systematic review of products, services and governance models.  Leaders need to be able to question the implicit assumptions behind current practices and drive innovation, harnessing creativity to create value through efficiency gains and effectiveness measure.  Participants will explore smart innovation which starts small, learns fast and scales rapidly relying upon experiments and pilots, debriefing and learning, and scaling where appropriate.

The participants will be enabled to:

· develop knowledge about, and understanding of how innovation can support organizational transitioning to sustainability;

· develop practical leadership skills in this area, in how to apply methods and tools to innovate for sustainability.

(4)  Sustainability to Business Value

This topic addresses means to align the sustainability strategy with business strategy and create and execute viable approaches for evolving products, systems, organizations and communities in a way that supports society’s transition towards sustainability.  Enhancing governance and risk management for better results and embedding sustainability into operational business/organizational functions will be explored.  The importance of tactical adjustments made along the way, while staying focused on the goal and building collaborative capacity through partnerships and alliances will be discussed - giving attention to the six activities of the circular-economy (regenerate, loop, exchange, virtualize, share, optimize).  The gap between values and actions will also be considered.

The participants will be enabled to:

· develop knowledge about and understanding of society’s sustainability challenges and the basic reasons for these;

· develop knowledge about and understanding of a structuring and coordinating methodology for strategic sustainable development in their own organization.

(5)  Sustainable Self

To get an organization to change, individuals need to change – organizations don’t change, people do.  This topic considers personal values, attitudes and beliefs to make sustainability personal and support role modelling.  Participants will explore the importance of aligning actions with values, to empower people to change and support others in transition.  Alongside knowledge, skills and practice, intrinsic motivations will be examined and used to support the personal resilience and agility necessary to be a successful change agent.

(6)  Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program (SLIP) Change Project

Each participant is required to identify a key sustainability and innovation leadership challenge and work on this to promote innovation, reporting on their progress to cohort participants and the program’s sponsors.  The SLIP project will feature in each classroom session and will be supplemented through a dedicated online session (Session 3).