Leadership development goes West
Over the course of the summer, someone* at the Banff Centre — which hosts one of Canada's leading leadership development centres — decided it would be interesting to gather a group of influencers, community organizers and creatives for a weeklong retreat, with no particular agenda save for the desire to rethink leadership, creativity and social innovation development for the 21st century.
The question is, why would you go to such length, gathering so many people, in a setting relatively remote from all major cities, to tackle an issue that's already being discussed in universities and schools worldwide?
For one, such a gathering goes much beyond conversation, and involves a certain quantity of action. That is, all specific objectives left aside, what its main promoters expect those they have invited to accomplish. Perhaps it also demonstrates Agnew & Duncan's "The Power of Place: Bringing Together Geographical & Sociological Imaginations" — the fact that geography plays a role, an important, in the coming of ideas.
Yet, it remains: what is at stake here?
The priorities of the Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute at the Banff Centre have recently been reaffirmed by its sponsors and partners, and very much fall within the current movement of institutional renewal as described by scholars like Lawrence, Suddaby and Leca in their book "Institutional Work": leadership for 21st century businesses, public service renewal, strong aboriginal communities, resilient creative & cultural industries, empowered youth, entrepreneurial success and social impact.
In fact, collaborative moments like these are precious and must be taken diligently and carefully. In this sense, the Banff Centre, the world's largest creativity incubator, knows a thing or two about the arts of conversation, hosting and co-creating. And the task at hand — reinventing pedagogy, development and learning in the 21st century — requires not only the sharpest and most dedicated individuals, but a process that's fairly balanced between setting a frame and leaving room for the unexpected.
This summer, twenty-five such minds accepted the Banff Centre's invitation and the process starts tomorrow, September 1st. Gathering are theatre directors, lawyers, architects, visual artists, business leaders, DJs, activists, writers and entrepreneurs from around the world.
Expectations are high, but with a group like this one, anything can happen.
* our thanks to Jerrold McGrath for the invitation.
Photos: Wayne Levin & @renzelen.