Case Western Reserve University

Fowler Center

Case Study: Case Western Reserve University - Fowler Center

First Global Forum (2006)

Inspired by several thousand interviews of business and society innovation, delegates at the first (2006) Global Forum shared the vision that business has the opportunity to be one of the most creative forces on the planet, challenging “the great trade-off illusion”; and exploring fresh research on the business case for sustainability. Nearly 500 leaders attended.

Second Global Forum (2009)

In the second (2009) Global Forum the theme was “Manage by Designing in an Era of Massive Innovation,” focused on uniting design thinking with sustainable business practice and education. Over 600 leaders of business, policy and management explored the primacy and potency of design thinking as the vortex for creating a new breed of industry-leading stars, showing how the creative designer's attitude can transform 21st century corporate citizenship into a source of business opportunity and world benefiting innovation. Designers from IDEO and the methods of Appreciative Inquiry helped turn the conference room into a real-time design studio—the place was rocking—and again books, major initiatives and agendas were shaped. An important innovation was the creation of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).

Third Global Forum (2014)

The third (2014) Global Forum brought together leading business executives, management scholars, civil society leaders and government policy makers from around the world to identify and to leverage new solutions that have the potential to change the nature of 21st century society. Under the theme Flourish & Prosper, participants explored renewed purpose and radical “net positive” strategies to create greater value for business and society. Over 650 attendees contributed to a new business orientation aimed at helping organizations inspire and engage people in innovative ways. Healthy work spaces and mindful management practices were brainstormed to enable customers and employees to be more authentic, creative, and collaborative. Action plans were developed to assist companies to sustain industry leadership while realizing remarkable relationship value with diverse stakeholders including local communities, governments, nonprofits, and suppliers. The collective effort over two-and-a-half days led to breakthrough innovation ideas in eight mini-design summit areas. These ranged from agriculture and energy to metrics, the circular economy, cities, consciousness of connectedness and pioneering work on a U.S. Grand Strategy along with a new prizing project to showcase Business as an Agent of World Benefit. The result? Incredible energy and newfound enthusiasm for a business-led effort to create a world in which companies prosper, people excel, and nature thrives.

The Four Design Areas of the Global Forum:


Celebrate stories of extraordinary innovation with the business leaders, faculty, and students who discovered them. Participants will:

  • learn from the untold stories of breakthrough innovations that exemplify business for good

  • help celebrate and honor these innovations with the inaugural Flourish Prizes

  • identify how to pinpoint and accelerate their own paths to personal and organizational flourishing. is a global learning challenge hosted at Case Western Reserve University in partnership with the UN Global Compact, dozens of international business schools, and 100s of businesses worldwide. 

Quantum Leadership

Could changing our consciousness hold the key to flourishing? Participants will:

  • explore practices that instill a new consciousness of connectedness in leaders and organizations

  • directly experience how changing the narrative about self, others, and the world is the most

  • effective way for businesses to create flourishing outcomes

  • learn practical ways to inspire and engage employees in family-owned businesses and small to mid-sized enterprises.

Research in science and enduring spiritual traditions are converging on a new paradigm of connectedness and caring.

Strategic Innovation Lab

How might a new Industrial Ecosystem function? Where are the opportunities for incumbents and entrepreneurs alike? Participants will:

  • understand the approach to deep sustainability being developed at the SIL

  • explore the new business models at the heart of a new industrial ecosystem

  • map the nenw financial flows that will underwrite long-term growth

  • explore how these ideas are being built in regions across the United States

The Strategic Innovation Lab proposes a new narrative and critical pathway for any nation or region to collectively prosper and flourish.

Positive Institutions

Drawing on breakthroughs in Positive Psychology and Positive Organizational Development, participants will:

  • explore and design organizations that serve to elevate our highest human strengths

  • combine and magnify them across the complete spectrum of strengths, and

  • refract them outward for world benefit.

Participants will use strength-based methodologies such as Appreciative Inquiry that are increasingly part of the new business-led equation for positive change to present and discuss scholarship and practice.

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