Marc Le Menestrel
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The Barcelona Leadership Journey towards Sustainability: Environmental, Social, Business and Inner Transformations

Professors: Marc Le Menestrel, Mathieu Durrande & Oriol Palom

  • #1 Course focus and approach
  • #2 Learning goals
  • #3 Course description
  • #4 Methodology
  • #5 Professors and Special Guest
  • #6 Students Testimonials
  • #7 Project Students
  • #8 Grading
  • #9 General Bibliographic References

#1 Course focus and approach:

This course celebrates the city of Barcelona and embarks students in a journey to better understand the concept of Sustainability and its novel developments. From an environmental, social and business perspective, the course covers the main challenges that sustainability raises for the city of Barcelona and beyond. Relying on innovative individual and collective pedagogical practices, the course offers an integrative and deep learning process.

#2 Course description

The course will have 3 different and experienced teachers as well as special guests to offer the best of the Barcelona sustainability experience.

The course takes the student though 3 different learning phases:

First, students EXPLORE the basic of sustainability principles. We co-initiate this learning process with theoretical and practical encounters that contribute, or don’t contribute to sustainability principles.

Then, we invite students to reflect on their inner EXPERIENCE to build a stronger capacity to navigate in the complexity that we are facing. This encompasses a self-development process that is driven individually and collectively.

Finally, we invite the student to an EXPEDITION towards concrete engagement and actions. This phase captures the value of their current learning and turn sustainability principles into practice. Among several proposals, students choose one project and share its study in class.

#2 Learning goals

EXPLORE: We share and discuss frameworks that provide students with new ways of thinking to comprehend the challenges sustainability is raising. In particular, we approach the difficulty to establish a common language as well as a clear vision of success and failure about sustainability.

  • Understand the concept of sustainability exploring various frameworks.
  • Discover current sustainable challenges around the world with its economic, environmental and social impact.
  • Meet current sustainability initiatives in Barcelona to tackle those current challenges and how turn them into opporunities.

Begin with the end in mind” Stephen Covey

"Anyone who believes in indefinite growth on a physically finite planet is either mad, or an economist.” Kenneth Boulding, environmental adviser of President Kennedy

Around the world, city leaders are not wasting time debating the science of climate change or waiting around for international treaties to be signed; we are taking action. There’s simply too much to do and too much at stake.” New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

EXPERIENCE: An innovative learning experience helps students to make personal sense of the new insights gained. As we all shape our worldview through perspectives that influence ours capacity to see, observe, perceive the outer world, co-experience gently brings participants to a different approach that challenges their worldviews.

  • Get the student in another type of learning environment.
  • Deep inner reflection about sustainability, and the challenges we are facing today in ours livings
  • Inside observation, raising awareness about our current ways of living into cities that may or may not contribute to sustainable societies.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

"I believe that our very survival depends upon us becoming better systems thinkers" - Margaret J. Wheatley

EXPEDITION: Students will move from reflective to action with several concrete engagement experience and practice. They will get the opportunity to make their own case study of sustainability in order to embody the emerging complexity of our current time.

  • From inner experience to outer engagement: How to reflect our learning and start some initiatives?
  • Meet with few Barcelona’s entrepreneurs that are currently co-creating new socio-economic model.
  • Take the chance to create breakthrough proposals and experiment some collective engagement

"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world" Joel A.Baker.

The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity” Peter F. Drucker

Many small people, in small places, doing small things, can change the world” Eduardo Galeano

#4 Methodology

Through this course, we will use different methodology to thrive the overall experience. With lectures, self-reflective exercises, story telling, visioning and dreaming, dialogue walk, journaling and creative practices this course is an invitation for an emerging journey of self-exploration to enhance our new mindset.

Scientific research has demonstrated that reason alone is not sufficient for embracing the world we are in and taking the best decisions. In a time of profound transformation, a purely intellectual approach may even crowd out our most important values and lead us to unexpected negative consequences. At the individual level, at the social level or at the company level, it is becoming a must to integrate our values, emotions, imagination and intuition into our viewing of the world and our decision making.

Teaching becomes experiential as participants are actors of their learning process. Intimate dialogues, respectful conversations, meditation and day-dreaming techniques are typical examples of processes that open minds and hearts towards taking the decisions that a situation may require. Guided visualization exercises are especially useful to clarify and empower our dream beyond our goal and to ensure continuity and value of the process.

In a world full of surprises, individuals and societies should make sure their mind is at the service of their values and dreams.

#5 Professors

  • Professors

Marc Le Menestrel: see full bio

Marc Le Menestrel
Marc Le Menestrel

Mathieu Durrande: Mathieu spent his first 10 years working in multinational organizations from various sectors in France, USA and Spain. He has built a deep understanding of organizational development within the “business as usual” paradigm. He moved to Barcelona in 2004, and decided since then to learn and practice CSR within different department into his former company and developed a high level of enthusiasm for managing people. In 2010, he co-funded Ecodigma in order to facilitate strategic planning towards sustainability through system thinking and collective intelligence methodology. He’s regularly facilitating workshop away from Spain most of them for a French company recognized as an R&D innovation center in Collective Intelligence. He’s Vice president of the The Natural Step Association in Barcelona and an active member of TNS Network, co-organizing events in Spain and France. He has taught sustainable design in both UOC and UPF. see more (spanish only)

Mathieu Durrande
Mathieu Durrande

#6 Students Testimonials

"I really enjoy this course and the different lens through which we are applying concepts."

"I have never taken a class that asks me to think this critically about myself before, and it’s a nice change."

"I have learned about sustainability in more aspects than just environmental. I have a hard time thinking outside of environmental sustainability and this class pushes that boundary in every way."

"It has really opened my eyes to more than just the ecological and environmental problems humanity faces. It’s a very wholesome and well-rounded approach to the issue of sustainability."

"I have learned mainly related to introspective emotional/mental realizations. I’m grateful for these insights."

"I’m learning a lot about Barcelona and the sustainability of the city, and the ways in which it still has a long way to go to improve its practices. However, we’ve also learned a lot about ourselves and about other sustainable practices, which I didn’t really expect."

"I have learned things I never thought about. For example when we spoke about the dark side of sustainability. I am surprised by how much the course has made me think about my own choices in regards to sustainability. I’m also surprised at how well-rounded the course is, meaning I learn both facts and figures but also get to think creatively about new ideas and solutions."

"It was such an enjoyable class to partake in because it not only focused on the usual ecological and environmental problems but it also focused on the person as a whole, which was very helpful."

"I really enjoyed this class. I learned a lot, and I enjoyed the creativity we utilized in and out of the classroom."

#7 Project Students

  • What prevents us from changing?
  • Finding your place in sustainability
  • Hydraulic Fracturing
  • Sustainable Coalition: Building a movement for radical change
  • Sustainable Cities Tours: The Gaudi Experience
  • Barcelona Tour
  • The “SHAB” Tour: Scavenger Hunt Around Barcelona

#8 Grading

Class Participation: 50% (Including individual and group assignment)

Mid Term and Final Exam: 30%

Term Project: 20%

#9 General Bibliographic References

United Nations General Assembly (1987) Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development “Our Common Future”.

Hawken, P, Lovins, A.B. & L.H. (1999). Natural Capitalism: Creating the next Industrial Revolution. Snowmass, USA: Rocky Mountain Institute.

Wilson, E.O. (2002). The Future of Life. New York

Adams, W.M. (2006). "The Future of Sustainability: Re-thinking Environment and Development in the Twenty-first Century." Report of the IUCN

Senge, Peter (2008) “A Necessary Revolution”, Broadway Business

Soederbaum, P. (2008). Understanding Sustainability Economics. London: Earthscan.

Jakson, Tim (2009) “Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet” Earthscan

Arenas, D. Fosse, J., Huc, E. (2010). “Business Going Green” ESADE-Institute for Social Innovation. Barcelona, Spain.

Marjory, Kelly (2012) “Owning our future”, BK Publishers

For more specific references about Business and Sustainability, please consult our dedicated article here.

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