Teaching Multi-Stakeholder Sustainable Innovation


  • Paul R. Thomas




education, sustainable development, MBA, innovations


Higher education has a crucial role to play in the global transition sustainable devbelopment. A shift from an educational paradigm that teaches linear and unsustainable innovation activity, to one that teaches circular and sustainable innovation activity, is a fundamental requirement if global sustainable development goals are to be met through future innovation. The educational model currently forming the foundation for most MBA programs remains primarily focused on teaching maximization of shareholder profit within a private, for-profit business context. A ‘sustainable’ business is usually defined as one that has successfully met purely financial goals for the benefit of shareholders, often ignoring other vital stakeholder interests, most importantly: natural, human and social capital. On the base of UACU we grounded that today models of business instruction must focus student innovation activity on the design and implementation of multi-stakeholder innovations. Innovations that meet a need or solve a problem within foundational sectors of civilization. Innovations that are adaptable and applicable to widely divergent sectors, from private for-profit business to social charities. Business education must be built upon a foundation of analytic skills, an ethical framework, and a commitment to promoting ‘sustainable’ innovations.