CSCLeaders 2014: An Exciting Journey

Amazing. Inspirational. Empowering. Life-Changing: just some of the words participants used to describe this year's CSCLeaders. 87 leaders from 22 countries came together for an exciting seven days in the UK to broaden their horizons and develop their cultural intelligence as they collaborated on a common challenge.

Participants heard from inspiring speakers on technology, innovation and leadership in their worlds, including entrepreneur Sascha Haselmayer, sustainability guru Will Day and policy maker Senator Hugh Segal as well as leaders from local government, the NHS, the community and representatives from global companies such as Weir, Arup, HSBC, HP and Amazon. Common Purpose Chief Executive Julia Middleton also spoke to participants on Cultural Intelligence, the subject of her new book.

This year's Study Tours in London, Manchester, Birmingham, North East and Scotland were a great mix of technology and community immersion. Participants experienced a dawn safari at Edinburgh Zoo, explored technology in education with Prof Sugata Mitra, met Nobel Prize winners at the Graphene laboratory and ventured into the new London underground system with Crossrail.

Princess Anne, President of the Commonwealth Study Conferences, joined participants on their study tours and also on the final day of the programme when participants presented practical project proposals in response to the Challenge: "how do you get societal - as well as economic - value out of technological innovation?"

Project ideas included: Health Patch, the development of a diagnostic device which provides visual information on an individual's health and enables better understanding of healthcare's needs across communities; LinkMe2, a web-based service linking young people to young people's services globally and CSCLeaders Ambassadors, a platform to empower all CSCLeaders alumni to enhance their societal impact through an online community.  Participants will continue to develop these ideas beyond the programme.

The leadership learning for participants was profound. Many said that CSCLeaders had increased their understanding of Cultural Intelligence and how to practice this in their own leadership; they spoke of the value of working with such diverse and inspiring people, of drawing on multiple perspectives when tackling challenges. Others spoke of returning to their own worlds energised, better able to spot opportunities and lead change:

"The programme has opened my mind to a whole new way of thinking, collaborating, improving services through technology. It has given me hope where I thought it was difficult and almost impossible to think new ways of doing things to the community in a way that enriches communities - 'never say never'." 

"What a privilege it has been to live, work, study and collaborate with such a diverse group of intelligent, committed and inspiring people."

"For me, the biggest learning was around Cultural Intelligence: the power of embracing, going beyond your core values / beliefs and consciously flexing / testing and challenging these beliefs. CSCLeaders was an amazing opportunity to understand and explore this with quite deep results from my own personal perspective. It was then interesting how tapping into this cultural intelligence could yield incredibly power results, engagements and ideas. I did this during the study tour and amazed myself."

"No matter where you are - a big city, a small remote village, we find similar issues exist. Excellent, excellent, excellent programme and people."

Participants will come together for a second time for Part two of CSCLeaders 2014, which is a choice of four cities: Singapore, Toronto, Lagos or Singapore. Part Two is an opportunity to explore the Challenge in a completely different context.

Applications for CSCLeaders 2015 open 12 May 2014. Dates are: Part One - 12-19 April 2015, Part Two - three locations, TBC. Find out more about CSCLeaders.

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CSCLeaders is the renewal of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conferences - first run in 1956 – for the 21st Century, a partnership between international leadership development organisation Common Purpose and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conferences (UK Fund).

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