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La Trobe Business School

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La Trobe Business School Professor shares SeniorPreneur insights on Studio 10 National TV

Professor of Entrepreneurship, Alex Maritz

Recently, La Trobe Business School’s Professor of Entrepreneurship, Alex Maritz, appeared on Channel 10’s morning show. He shared research outcomes from the recent nbn Silver Economy Report, where he collaborated on research and analysis on a national SeniorPreneur research project.

SeniorPreneurs emerge from retirement

The Silver Economy Report reveals that tech-savvy baby boomers are expected to contribute an additional $ 11.9billion to the Australian GDP in new ventures each year, Insights reveal that SeniorPreneurs are expected to start 14,000 new businesses each year; representing the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurship. 34% of all small businesses are lead by senior entrepreneurs. More than half (54%) of them claim they employ a predominantly online model in their businesses, with 61% of them preferring to upskill online. Be it motivation to create or supplement income (67%), pursue passion projects (58%) or keep mentally stimulated (55%), these tech-savvy boomers are undergoing a new renaissance.

The Silver Economy Report is available online, here.

The Studio 10 TV in-studio interview is available here (Professor Alex Maritz speaks at 1:48).

La Trobe Business School is at the cutting edge of innovation and technology when it comes to offering tech-savvy Entrepreneurship Education courses online. For more information, click here.

POP Mark Morris interviews Leigh Conlan: Career change is the only constant (or Doors a Latrobe Economic Degree can Unlock)

In this two-part blog entry, Professor of Practice Mark Morris discusses what innovation means in accounting, as well as what a career in accounting entails today, together with Leigh Conlan from Specialist Accounting Services. Leigh is also a La Trobe Business School graduate graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor in Economics.

Mark Morris: II understand that you are an alumni of La Trobe University

Leigh Conlan: Yes Mark, I studied economics and graduated in 1982 from La Trobe University. Following the completion of my degree with La Trobe, I was able to branch out into a variety of roles in both the public and private sectors.

Mark Morris: It seems these days that university graduates these days don’t have a job for life. Can you share with me your experience in relation to changes in your career?

Leigh Conlan: Absolutely. I have been fortunate to work for a number of organisations in a variety of capacities including accounting, economics, tax advisory, legislative analysis, and R&D consulting. I started out as a tax investigator with the ATO which was interesting work for a graduate as it allowed me to get a great perspective on private enterprise and in particular smaller organisations where accounting and the law intersect. Following this role, I transitioned to the ACCC which was then the Trade Practices Commission where I was heavily involved in litigation and policy objectives. What I found interesting in this role was, more specifically, price fixing collusion and conspiracy activities and investigations.

Mark Morris: So you were a corporate cop Leigh?

Leigh Conlan: Yes, essentially.

Mark Morris: And then you came over to private enterprise?

Leigh Conlan: That’s right, I came over to the dark side and started consulting in private enterprise. I worked for a number of big firms and was a partner of one of the larger accounting firms in Australia before I started my own practice.

Mark Morris: And what has your experience been like in respect of changes in roles?

Leigh Conlan: What I have found is that there is nothing wrong with a change of career and that change should always be embraced. In these modern times it is not only organisations that need to be agile and adaptive but this also applies to employees and individuals. To a certain extent change and being adaptive is a part of Australia’s history. Automation, fast changing technological and geopolitical changes will dictate market behaviour and employment opportunities.

Mark Morris: So how do you keep abreast of new developments in government policy and public-private collaboration?

Leigh Conlan: Well I am a member of the National Reference Group which is a peak body of private practitioners, the ATO and AusIndustry. I represent the CPA’s on that group which me enables to interface between public policy developments and issues from industry. I am also a member of the State Reference Group which provides further practical application.

Mark Morris: I gather that your ability to adapt and change led you to starting your accounting practice?

Leigh Conlan: Correct, I started Specialist Accounting Services a number of years back with a focus on providing high quality services in the fields of indirect tax and R&D advice.

Mark Morris: Can you tell me a little more about Specialist Accounting Services and how you differentiate yourselves against other service providers in this space?

Leigh Conlan: Sure. We differentiate ourselves by being an organisation which has the expertise across a range of industries relating to R&D. Specialist Accounting Services also employs a range of specialised technical consultants from the engineering and bio medical fields to leverage expertise in accordance with clients in these respective fields. This enables a better understanding of our clients’ needs and enables a smooth process through the R&D tax application process. This also empowers us to have a nurturing a close and positive working relationship with our clients. We also carry out services in respect of litigation support and competition policy assistance. Lastly, we provide a high quality service enabling our clients to receive a beneficial tax outcomes in accordance with the government legislation and the AusIndustry framework.

Mark Morris: Well, thank you for your time today Leigh. It has been a pleasure talking with you

Leigh Conlan: It was my pleasure. Thanks Mark.

Competing theories of economic thought: a changing pedagogy?

Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice, Economics

Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice, Economics

By Mark Cloney

Mark Cloney is a Professor of Practice at La Trobe Business School. In the following piece, POP Mark Cloney observes that economic theory has been a bit slower than other sciences to catch up to the changing nature of knowledge and the dynamics of the knowledge-based global economy [1]

He argues in the following entry that this has implications doe the discipline in terms of its capacity to engage with contemporary economic challenges, and also raise questions about the teaching of economics.

Capitalism has variously been described as an economic system with private or corporate ownership of capital goods; where investments are determined by rational decision makers and supply and demand; and production and the distribution of goods determined mainly by competition in a free market. These microeconomic foundations stem from neoclassical economics through the writings of economists such as Marshall [2].

Marshall’s Principles of Economics (1890) formalised the move from labour to utility as the source of value: a commodity’s value came from its utility to consumers through the forces of the market (i.e. supply and demand) [3]. Accordingly, in the marketplace people are rational and utility maximisers characterised as households, consumers or economic agents. These concepts were formalised in pure mathematical form in the general equilibrium model by Arrow and Debrea (1954) based on Walras’s earlier theory of equilibrium [4].

This general equilibrium model has formed the basis for economic thinking in most Western economies and university teaching of economics for the last 60 years or so.

So microeconomics analyses, the market behaviour of individual consumers and firms, is an attempt to understand the decision-making process concerned with the factors that influence the choices made by buyers and sellers, price, and supply and demand in individual markets. And, this is what drives innovation, economic development and firm behaviour in a globalised knowledge–based economy – or is it?

One of the problems with this perspective is that factors such as investment in research and development (R&D) or where actual research is conducted matters very little [5]. The traditional neoclassical view of knowledge as a public good  is that it is available everywhere and to everybody simultaneously which implies that innovation flows in a frictionless manner from producers to a full set of intended and unintended beneficiaries, contributing to generate a long-term process of convergence across countries and regions (see Rodriguez-Pose 2008). [6]

But what happens if competitive advantage in a global knowledge-based economy is as much actually determined by local non-market factors including its institutions, networks and innovation ecosystems? Or, by the forces of ‘collaboration’ not ‘competition’, or maximising ‘social and shared value’ not profits for stakeholders but for the community within in which firms operate? Do these orthodox microeconomic foundations still hold up?

The emergence of the knowledge-based economy, where knowledge, learning and innovation are the new drivers of economic growth and competitiveness, is premised on a distinct shift in the mode of production from the traditional capital and labour divisions to knowledge generation and diffusion [7]. This understanding of the knowledge economy comes from evolutionary, neo-Schumpeterian and economic geography economic theories. [8] Complementing this work are studies into the entrepreneurial society  and creativity where entrepreneur capital is a key driver for economic growth [9].

Internationally, innovation and regional development policy that focuses more explicitly on the ‘institutional’ and ‘locational’ dimensions of enterprise and socio economic development has emerged as a major policy tool to foster competitive advantage [10]. That is, there has been an increasing recognition by many that non-market factor influence competitiveness of firms just as supply and demand. So government policies have been designed to better coordinate collaboration structures in regions or local innovation ecosystems between government, education and the private sectors. Here local institutions including financial and legal support the supply side inputs and entrepreneurial activity that drives economic development and innovation [11].

These ideas support a range of alternative government policies targeted at small to medium business, industry clusters, business incubators and accelerators, strengthening institutional arrangements and networks, encouraging university/industry collaboration, local capacity building (including education, training and entrepreneur skills) and regional innovation ecosystems.

Consistent with these trends, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (2011) [12] argue for the importance of creating shared value, which focuses on policies, collaboration and operation practice that enhances competiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which they operate. They cite firms such as Google, IBM, Intel, Jonson and Johnson, Nestle, Unilever and Wal-Mart as examples of companies that have embarked on shared value initiatives within the community’s where they operate. The notion of shared value changes the traditional emphasis on profit and price to a much broader definition.

Porter has suggested elsewhere that government policy, business and community processes (in other words institutional arrangements) are as important determinants of industry success as is ‘price’ [13].

The move to ‘shared value’ has seen the rise of B Corps which are for-profit companies certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. More than 1,400 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries are working together toward the goal: to redefine success in business [14]. B Corps meet high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve broader social and environmental problems. In 2013 the United States introduced legislation to recognise this new type of corporate legal entity which has now been passed into law in 17 states [15]. Under this legislation companies must have a corporate purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment, director’s duties include consideration of non-financial stakeholders, besides shareholders, and it includes a reporting obligation on the social and environmental activities (verified through third parties).

Although in its relative infancy this movement is attempting to overcome market failures and treat as endogenous the negative externalities typically associated with the dynamics of neo-classical theory. This may or may not be a lasting trend, but what if it became the norm for firm behaviour and economic development in the knowledge-based economy?

What assumptions and economic theories can best capture these economic and policy trends and explain the broader social-political context shaping these ideas, firm behaviour and competitiveness? This is the real challenge for the next generation of economic theorists.

One of the major challenges for orthodox economics is that its theory is embedded in axioms that used to understand the world as largely stable and predictive, and which are now seen as unstable and largely unpredictable [16], as the Global Financial Crisis demonstrated in 2008.

Since the 1960s there has been profound advances in how other science disciplines understand and teach the systematic nature of botany, biology, physics, computer science, neuroscience, oceanography, and atmospheric sciences to name a few. As Liu and Hanauer (2016) [17] argue across these fields we have seen a set of conceptual shifts in understanding from: simple to complex; atomistic to networked; linear to non-linear; mechanistic to behavioural; efficient to effective; predictive to adaptive; independent to interdependent; individual ability to group diversity; rational calculator to irrational approximators; selfish to strong reciprocal; win-lose to win-win or lose-lose; and, competition to cooperation.

More contemporary economic theory such as complexity, evolutionary and behavioural economics [18] are incorporating these types of conceptual shifts and as such challenge orthodox economic theories. These contemporary approaches variously emphasise the actual motivations for firm and human behaviour, the importance of networks, ecosystems and endogenous processes, and the dynamics of constant innovation and disequilibrium as the basis for better understanding the empirical reality of the knowledge-based economy.

The remaining challenge is to design a new economic pedagogy (conceptual models and theories) to support the teaching of these alternative approaches and to incorporate them into undergraduate economic degrees.

 

 

Dr Mark Cloney

Professor of Practice – Economics

Department of Economics and Finance

La Trobe Business School

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce | La Trobe University | Bundoora Victoria 3086

T: 03 9479 5621   |M: 0428173880  |

E: M.Cloney@latrobe.edu.au

[1] See Ngai-Ling Sum and Bob Jessop (2013) Competitiveness, The Knowledge-based economy and Higher Education, Journal of the Knowledge Based Economy, Vol.4 pp 24-44.

[2] See E.K. Hunt. (1979), History of Economic Thought; A Critical Perspective, Wadsworth Publishing

[3] Ibid

[4] John, Peters, John Elliott and Stephen Gullenberg (2002), Economic Transition as a Crisis of Vision: Classical versus Neo-classical Theories of General Equilibrium, Eastern Economic Journal, Vol.28, No.2, Spring 2002.

[5] Andre’s Rodriguez-Pose and Richard Crescenzi (2008), Research and Development, Spillovers, Innovation Systems, and the Genesis of Regional Growth in Europe, Regional Studies, Vol 42.1, pp51-63, February.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Mark James Cloney. (2003), Regional Development in Australia: Rethinking the Basis for Regional Policy, PhD Economics, University of Sydney & Maskell, P. and Malmberg, A. (1999), Localised learning and industrial competitiveness, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 23 (2):167- 185.

[8] Ibid.

[9] David. B. Audrestsch (2009), The entrepreneurial society’, The Journal of Technology Transfer, Vol. 34, Issue 3, June, pp. 245-254

[10] Giordano, B. (2001) Institutional Thickness: political sub-culture and the resurgence of regionalism in Italy a case study of Northern League in the province of Varese, Transactions of the Institute of British Geography, 26 (1): 25-41.

[11] Ngai-Ling Sum and Bob Jessop (2013), p. 32.

[12] Michael E. Porter and Mark R.  Kramer (2011) The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value, Rethinking Capitalism, Harvard Business Review, Jan- Feb – https://hbr.org/2011/01/the-big-idea-creating-shared-value/ar/pr

[13] See Michael Porter (1990) The Competitive Advantage of Nations, McMillian Press, Hong Kong.

[14] http://www.bcorporation.net/what-are-b-corps

[15] Gove, Andrea; Berg, Gary A. (2014), Social Business: Theory Practice, and Critical Perspectives, Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co.p165.

[16] Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer (2016), Traditional Economics Failed. Here’s the New Blueprint’, http://evonomics.com/traditional-economics-failed-heres-a-new-blueprint/

[17] Ibid

[18] Amna Silim (2016), What is New Economic Thinking? Three strands of heterodox economics that are leading the way, https://evonomics.com/new-economic-thinking/

POP Mark Morris interviews Leigh Conlan: Supercharging R&D and collaboration

Professor of Practice Mark Morris (left) and Leigh Conlan (right)

In this two-part blog entry, Professor of Practice Mark Morris discusses what innovation means in accounting, as well as what a career in accounting entails today, together with Leigh Conlan from Specialist Accounting Services. Leigh is also a La Trobe Business School graduate graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor in Economics.

Mark Morris: I am pleased to introduce Leigh Conlan of Specialist Accounting Services to discuss the recent government innovation statement and incentives that the government has introduced for both private and research organisations in respect of R&D. Leigh, Good morning.

Leigh Conlan: Good Morning Mark.

Mark Morris: Now Leigh, I understand you run a consultancy practice in the R&D space and you advise a broad range of clients.

Leigh Conlan: That’s correct Mark, we run a specialist practice service and in fact, operate under a company name Specialist Account Services Pty Ltd.

Mark Morris: That’s great Leigh. Tell me about some of your clients.

Leigh Conlan: Well we advise a range of clients from small medium enterprises through to large corporations and government departments. We offer a professional assistance to all businesses and research providers in the matters of R&D tax incentives and government grants

Mark Morris: That’s a good segue into my next topic which is around the innovation statement released by the government. What do you think the government’s approach is in this regard Leigh?

Leigh Conlan: As you know Mark, the innovation statement is built on four key pillars but it is important to keep in mind Mark that this is the first time that there has been a comprehensive tying together of all of the research and development governmental policy objectives.

Mark Morris: So can you provide some further insight into the four pillars that the government has outlined in the innovation statement

Leigh Conlan: Well briefly speaking these four pillars as outlined in the National Innovation and Science Agenda statement being ‘Culture and capital’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Talent and skills’, ‘Government as an exemplar’. Within these pillars are specific areas that the government is targeting. For example the government has set up a $20Billion Medical Research Fund to increase funding in the areas of medical research and innovation. Another example, which may relate to La Trobe, is the government R&D funding of $2.8Billion to universities and the higher education sectors. There are also other funding initiatives such as cyber security innovation and other IT projects the government has initiated. These overall projects form only a snapshot of government funding examples but provides a glimpse of the overall innovation policy and where the government is heading in respect of stimulating research and development.

Mark Morris: So what is the majority emphasis of the government funding Leigh?

Leigh Conlan: Well Mark, the big spend by the government is still the R&D tax incentive which equates to just over $4.5Billion per annum. While the majority of that money goes into business, it should be kept in mind that research service providers also greatly benefit from this policy and there are valuable private business spinoffs from research organisations.

Mark Morris: When you talk about R&D, it’s not all lab coat style research projects is it?

Leigh Conlan: Not at all. We see R&D in areas where you would not ordinarily think that R&D would apply. Research and Development takes place in a variety of forms and industries. Some examples may be building and construction, on farms and of course software development. We have come across a number of private organisations, particularly those which are small scale, which were under the misconception that many of their activities would not be considered R&D when in actual fact they may be.

Mark Morris: Can you talk a little more about such products and processes in this regard?

Leigh Conlan: Well, many organisations are undertaking the development of products using a scientific methodology to determine outcomes and therefore creating new knowledge as a result of these activities.  It is also very exciting to see a variety of small to medium enterprises across Australia undertaking a number of dynamic projects which involve Research and Development as well as new commercialisation of innovative products.

Mark Morris: So given you are across many organisations who are at the cutting edge of technology, I assume that you have other areas you advise on?

Leigh Conlan: That’s correct. Specialist Accounting Services is unique as we have technical expertise and we can assist in a variety of capacities including comprehensive advice in the areas of commercialisation, government development and early stage development grants, government support programs and investing in early stage development funding.

Mark Morris: So can you provide more detail in regards to government incentives and programs that you advise in?

Leigh Conlan: Sure, one such program is around the commercialisation Australia program which provides funding of up to $200,000 to assist new organisations and those wanting to test the viability of product commercialisation. Also we have provided advice in relation to cooperative research centre (CRC) project grants as well. The CRC and associated grants is an outcome focused programme designed to support industry while supporting collaboration between industry, research and the community in a competitive framework.

Mark Morris: Have there been many changes by the government in relation to government grants and assistance?

Leigh Conlan: Yes there have been changes in regards to the tech sector that were previously restricted on applying for grants. These have now been removed to stimulate commercialisation and the development of novel IP across a broader range of industries across Australia. We see the government’s focus in this domain is on stimulating new knowledge, local IP and bringing innovative products to market in order to stimulate economic and employment growth.

Mark Morris: So have you seen many examples where universities specifically benefit from the R&D tax incentive scheme?

Leigh Conlan: Yes Mark I have seen this a number of times where universities are providing services to private organisations and where both benefit from the close collaboration undertaken. One such example is one our clients in the ehealth domain where a prominent Victorian university provided research assistance in evaluating IT architecture suitable for gathering information around broad based and large scale health records.

Mark Morris: So this is all research and development expenditure around software and IT?

Leigh Conlan: Correct Mark, we have also been involved with a number of initiatives in the private sector relating specifically to analytics and big data projects.

Mark Morris: Can you elaborate on how these initiatives may provide beneficial outcomes for the private sector, RSPs as well as the general public?

Leigh Conlan: We have seen a number of initiatives carried out by the big four banks in relation to blockchain. The key objective of blockchain is to develop a distributed database ledger which can continuously update records between parties and therefore improve the efficiency of banking transactions.

Mark Morris: That’s very interesting. Do you see any other developments relating to big data in the private sector?

Leigh Conlan: Actually we have also seen developments in the Telecommunications sector where a number of Australian telco’s have been building big data lakes and utilising these data repositories for a number of practical applications such as geolocation, product marketing and improving operational uptime.

For the second part of this interview, keep an eye on the Business Newsroom blog!

LBS Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson: “My business philosophy has always been to think 51% with your heart, and 49% with your brain.”

As one of the Professors of Practice appointed by La Trobe Business School, after it introduced this concept as one of the first universities to do so in Australia, Antony Jacobson has plenty of international experience to bring to the table.

Hailed as an innovator and global success-story, Antony Jacobson is an Australian entrepreneur who seizes an opportunity when he sees it. In the early 2000’s, Antony Jacobson started Tibet Authentic, the company that popularised Goji berries globally and presented one of the first foods to the global market that would later become part of the global ‘Superfoods’-trend.

Although always contemplating his next entrepreneurial venture, Antony says “I wasn’t looking to revolutionize the global health food market at the time, I had been running my own franchise and licensing business in Melbourne and globally, and I could feel that I was overworked. That’s why I decided to travel to Tibet, in the Himalayas”. When Antony Jacobson arrived in Tibet, one of the things that he was captivated by were Goji berries. “While I was living in the Tibetan mountains, I saw women and children eating these little wild pink berries, and smearing them on their skin and hair as well. I wondered about the effects of this, since the lifespan of people living there seems to be a lot greater than the lifespan of people living in the West.”

After doing some research, he discovered that these fruits were Goji berries, and that they can have an enormous positive impact on things like healthy skin and hair, as well as being a valuable source of vitamins and minerals for anyone consuming them.

“Seeing the huge effect these berries had on people living in Tibet, I was keen to share these fruits with the rest of the world,” Antony says. “If you pilot a good business idea, the idea needs to be rational and profitable sure, but most importantly, it should also make a positive impact on the community around you.”

Antony approached the Tibet government about setting up a framework to produce berries, making sure that the country would benefit from exporting Goji berries as well. Soon after, he was selling authentic Tibetan Goji berries on a global market, with prestigious stockists and stores in Australia and countries such as the UK, USA, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The brand Antony set up received enormous international press and was hailed as a true pioneer of the global superfruits market, now a billion dollar industry.

Aside from setting up successful global businesses, Antony Jacobson has commercialised significant technology and internet related intellectual property like breakingnews.com.au. Having seen the potential in the early nineties, with the rise of the internet, Antony decided to secure significant internet related domains and I.P that are worth significant amounts today. “I’ve always been an avid fan of technology. When the internet was developed, I saw the potential in it as a huge communication tool, which made me secure intellectual property back in the early 1990’s, like breakingnews.com.au, Breakingnews.eu and many others.”

When asked whether he has any tips for beginning entrepreneurs, Antony’s passionate nature shines through: “Be bold, take risks, but do so in an intelligent informed manner, use you passionate heart and intelligent mind in all that you do.” Antony says “If you believe, you can achieve. I have also strived to always make the community a factor in my decision-making process. Because of this, I was attracted to the position at La Trobe Business School: the values La Trobe Business School holds when it comes to community and sustainability, align closely with my own perspective on what constitutes a good entrepreneur,” Antony says. “After all, my business philosophy has always been to think 51% with your heart, and 49% with your brain.”

Dr Sajad Fayezi receives La Trobe Social Research Assistance Platform Grant

Dr Sajad Fayezi has recently received a La Trobe Social Research Assistance Platform Grant to the value of $9,199.14. This grant is given out by La Trobe University’s Office of Research Infrastructure.

The La Trobe Social Research Assistance Platform provides individual researchers and teams who are engaged in research projects with specific and specialised research support to facilitate effective completion. The Platform’s Grants aim to optimise the use of research infrastructure, accelerate research outcomes and in turn, enhance the University’s capacity to engage with industry and build research collaborations.

Successful grant applicants will have access to:

  • a manager who will identify and arrange appropriate sessional or contract personnel to provide research support in a timely manner,
  • a needs-assessed grant to cover costs relating to the payment and travel expenses of research assistants.

Dr Sajad Fajezi received the grant for his project titled ‘Assessing Agency Theory: After 40 Years, Lost in the Wilderness or Promising Integrated Theory’. This project is an international collaboration with researchers from University of Pittsburgh and University of Minnesota. The La Trobe Social Research Assistance Platform Grants optimise the use of research infrastructure, accelerate research outcomes and enhance the University’s capacity to engage with industry and build research collaborations.

Happy Holidays from La Trobe Business School!

 

La Trobe Business School wishes everyone a wonderful 2017! The Business Newsroom will be back in January to bring you latest news from our School.

La Trobe Business School Celebrates Recent Showcase in China

Expanding the development of entrepreneurship ecosystems, Professor Alex Maritz of The La Trobe Business School, recently provided a keynote address about enhancing entrepreneurship education in international and regional ecosystems at The Shanghai Institute of Technology (SIT). International and Chinese delegates were provided a smorgasboard of exemplar global entrepreneurship education initiatives, providing insightful and dynamic examples of developing entrepreneurship ecosystems. LTU is currently finalising an articulation agreement with SIT, enabling greater collaboration in teaching, research and engagement between LBS and SIT. Expect to see meaningful student and staff exchanges between programs and research centres between LBS and SIT.

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Additional engagement between LBS and Chinese Universities resulted in  collaboration with Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) in the Shandong Province. HIT is part of the Chinese C9 League (similar to the Australian GO8), and in the Top 10 Global Technology Innovation Institutes. In affiliation with The International Conference of Organizational Innovation (ICOI), of which LTU is a partner University, discussions were held regarding the 2017 Conference at the HIT campus in Wei Hai. Celebrating this partnership, Professor Alex Maritz, and Professor Xiofei Xu, President of HIT Wei Hai, met with leaders of ICOI and The School of Economics & Management, HIT.

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“These impactful relationships and collaboration initiatives enhance LBS’s leadership and engagement with leading Universities in China, and our students and staff can look forward to meaningful education and research exchanges between these institutions”, said Professor Alex Maritz.

 

Collaborating across borders – The CR3+ Network

PRME La Trobe Business School

By Giselle Weybrecht

La Trobe Business School in Australia has been a PRME signatory since 2008 and an active PRME Champion. They joined forces with several other PRME Signatories to create CR3+ Network. Together the network provides a supportive platform to build international collaboration and enables the participant business schools to work with the PRME and build international and national capacity in Responsible Management Education. I spoke with Associate Professor Suzanne Young, Head of Department and Dr Swati Nagpal, Department of Management and Marketing, from La Trobe Business School, about their participation in this network.

What is the CR3+ Network and how did it come about?

La Trobe Business School has been working with ISAE (Brazil), Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and Hanken School of Economics (Finland) since 2008 in an effort to exchange ideas, pedagogy, curriculum and research in the area of corporate responsibility. Head of LBS, Professor Paul Mather wrote: “With the support of the Principles for Responsible Executive Education, the CR3+ network’s objective is to promote a debate, inspire changes and propose solutions for challenges related to sustainability and governance, interacting and reaching what UNESCO calls ‘The 5th Pillar of Education: Learning to change and to change society.’”

What are the key features of the programme?

A key outcome of the partnership has been the hosting of an annual CR3+ conference, which has been held at each of the member institutions. Past themes have included governance and sustainability; CSR: expanding horizons, and the power of responsibility. The aim of the CR3+ conferences is to strengthen the partnership and dialogue around sustainability and responsibility, and provide a forum where ideas, developments and concerns in regards to these issues and the work of the PRME can be brought forward.

How is CR3+ different than other similar networks you are part of? How did you meet these specific schools and decide to create a network? 

It involves four schools that are strongly committed to PRME, and which later became PRME Champions, so PRME is very much at the core of CR3+. The network has been driven by the will to learn from each other, bearing in mind that the four schools are from very different and distant parts of the world (Australia, Brazil, Finland and France). From a very early point the core idea was to create a platform for these learning possibilities by organizing a conference involving all 3 (later 4) schools.

What have been some of the challenges? 

The schools are different and distant, not only in geographical terms but also in cultural and institutional terms. Creating special exchanges for students, for example, has faced a number of practical challenges related to differences in terms of tuition fees, types of study programmes, periods of studies, accreditations, etc. Different expectations about the conference have also caused some challenges but overall the learning opportunities and outcomes have far outweighed the challenges.

Successes? 

We have now done one full round of CR3+ conferences (in all 4 schools) and are about to start a second cycle. The mobilization from the different schools has been on the rise – for example, ISAE/FGV researchers have sent many abstracts to the CR3+ conference to be organized in Helsinki – and there has been growing integration between CR3+ events and PRME chapters – the conference in Helsinki will also be tied to a doctoral course organized by the PRME Chapter Nordic (more specifically Hanken, Stockholm School of Economics, BI Norwegian School of Management and CBS).

The CR3+ network has also enabled joint research projects and resulting publications as well as student and staff exchanges.

In autumn 2011, LBS hosted a masters-level exchange student from Hanken to work on a community development project.  Similar student exchanges are currently being planned for LBS students to have the opportunity to extend PRME –related projects at the other CR3+ partner universities.

In 2015, a collaboration between LBS and ISAE tested a new approach to ‘Promoting internationalisation and cross-cultural competency through online collaboration’, which provided opportunities for LBS MBA students to engage in an academic cross-cultural experience with Masters students from ISAE.  The students replicated real-world global communication, by collaborating virtually with people from a different cultural background in real time and jointly solving a series of management problems using online software.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

The network’s success is due to the relationships between key academic staff in each of the business schools and is also based in their common belief in and focus on the goals of the PRME mission. Members of the network were all early adopters of the PRME and champions of change in their respective institutions. Each School brings to the network their own expertise and demonstrates the national differences in Responsibility and Sustainability initiatives that are seen in academia, industry and government.

Each of the business schools have supported the CR3+ network as they acknowledge that working collaboratively provides greater opportunities for staff and students than working alone. Benefits in research, teaching, partnerships and dialogue have been demonstrated and the parties remain excited about opportunities that are coming from working with others in the new SDG project

What’s next for the initiative?

A pilot project is currently being led by LBS with support from the CR3+ network focused on facilitating a series of national workshops in each country between PRME higher education business schools and members of the UN Global Compact Network to present and interact on the theme of the SDGs. The outcomes of the workshops will be improved dialogue and networks between universities and other sectors, and the initiating of joint projects on the SDGs.

The 5th CR3+ conference will be held at Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki on 28-29 April 2017. The theme of the conference is ‘Making Corporate Responsibility Useful’, where the dominant logic of the ‘business case’ argument for CSR, and the legitimising effect this has on business engagement in CSR, will be brought into question.

This post was originally published on the UNPRME’s Primitime blog.

La Trobe Business School hosted successful start-up My Big Idea Bootcamp!

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On 8 October 2016, La Trobe Business School hosted a successful start-up bootcamp delivering on its My Big Idea promise to train 500 Australians to be positive change makers.

The day was coordinated by La Trobe Business School’s Professor of Entrepreneurship, Dr Alex Maritz, who gave the welcoming presentation to participants in the morning. He spoke about ways for participants to refine, pitch and build on their idea and encouraged participants to share their idea with others in the room, using Pollenizer techniques such as ideation, proof of problem discovery and pitching for influence.

Several La Trobe Business School staff members, including academics and PhD students, acted as mentors for participants throughout the day, offering their feedback and advice on several ideas. LBS Staff included academics Associate Professor Vanessa Ratten, Dr Quan Nguyen, and Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson, and PhD students Anne Brouwer, Claudia Shwetzer and Anna Amirsardari. “Giving the participants the chance to interact about their idea with our experienced staff one-on-one is a very valuable opportunity,” Professor Alex Maritz said. “We put quality over quantity, in the favour of our aspiring Big Idea participants.”

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Participants enjoyed the day and hoped to use the tools to take their idea to the next level: “I personally was very pleased to get tools to test my idea and see if it is logical and all in all achievable as a concept.” Bootcamper Hanna said. “I feel like I now have more knowledge to critically evaluate my idea and determine which direction I want to go in. Big thank you for la Trobe, all the mentors, My Big Idea Australia and fellow bootcampers!”

La Trobe Business School is looking forward to see participants unpack their ideas in the future!

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