DePaul’s Developing Sustainable Strategies Lab

How did this lab get started?
On one level, this lab is an extension of DePaul’s sustainability network. After we audited some of DePaul’s activities around sustainability, we decided to venture into the academic aspect of sustainability. As a university, we educate. We decided not to educate just our graduate and undergraduate students; we wanted to offer a great opportunity for business executives and corporations. We want to challenge people’s assumptions. This is a unique opportunity, not to just learn but to also bring in questions that they can develop into strategies. Early on we decided to call this program a lab versus a workshop. It’s an opportunity to test your ideas.

What is the purpose of this Lab?
The purpose of this Lab is for business owners to find new and more effective ways to define and address a pressing strategic issue, idea, challenge, opportunity, question or problem that they and their organization face.   We want participants to walk away with an executable strategy, and then boldly take action.

So what makes this lab different than other sustainability workshops?
Info seminars on sustainability and workshops teaching best practices are prevalent now through schools and private consultancies.  But we believe the key to solving sustainability issues is to train leaders to think critically.  Sustainability is about understanding the complex systems impacted by our decisions both personally and professionally.  We challenge our participants to think beyond sustainability and being “green.”  And unlike traditional workshop or seminar format filled with talking heads, this Lab uses project-based learning with participants engaged in real projects in their own companies.

Who should attend this lab?
This Lab practicum is designed to offer senior and mid-level executives a way to challenge, expand and shift their thinking about organizational issues from a narrow focus on sustainability towards a broader framework for building integrative sustainable management practices. The Lab is the expanded, senior level version of the Capstone/Practicum course in the innovative, interdisciplinary Master of Science in Sustainable Management.

Is this lab mainly for those who work in a corporate setting?
Not at all.  We are targeting a diverse range of organizations – commercial, nonprofit, and government - who are engaged in various ways and at various levels.  We encourage organizations to send individuals, or better, a small team to work on some challenge or opportunity they see dealing with sustainability. This is also in keeping with DePaul's Mission and Values of supporting diversity/different points of view.

How does this lab fit in with the mission of DePaul University?
From our experience in the sustainable management education field over the past several years, we are more convinced than ever that there is the need for senior and mid-level managers to have a more integrative perspective regarding challenges, and not just in sustainability.   DePaul provides the perfect setting for our participants to learn just that.  This lab stems from DePaul’s firmly rooted tradition of providing students with a “greater perspective” in an urban multi-cultural setting.

Link to Video.
DSS Lab e-brochure


For more information, please contact:
Ron Nahser PhD
Senior Wicklander Fellow
Director, Urban Sustainable Management Programs

Institute for Business and Professional Ethics
Driehaus College of Business
DePaul University
1 E. Jackson Blvd Suite 5000
Chicago, IL 60604-2287
O: 773-325-1146

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