On 16 March a group of 100 exceptional senior leaders drawn from
governments, businesses and NGOs across the 54 countries of the
Commonwealth will gather in London for the first
CSCLeaders, a renewal of the Commonwealth Study
Over 8 days they will receive briefings from global leaders on
global trends, and in small groups will visit different UK cities
to investigate the challenge: How do people from communities
which have spread across the world become bridge-builders in the
global networks of the future?
Through proven Common Purpose techniques and the innovation
process, participants will overcome the inevitable barriers and
start to form into high performing diverse teams that develop
responses to address the challenge which are presented to a Dragons
Den panel, and are then reviewed three months later in very
different environments: Mumbai
The participant group so far is impressive in its seniority,
diversity and just as importantly, the mix: a Presidential adviser
from Malawi, a gold-medalled Australian paralympian, the CEO of a
Malaysian bank, a senior Jamaican diplomat, a poet from Bangladesh,
the CEO of an international NGO, an NHS consultant, the Canadian
Director of a global agricultural firm, a private Prison governor,
a trade unionist from Sierra Leone and a well-known British actor
of Pakistani origin.
You can follow the outcomes on the CSCLeaders
website, Twitter via @CSCLeaders and #CSCLeaders, YouTube and Vimeo.
This is the end of my first year as CEO of Common Purpose in the
UK. It has been a long year!
Keeping focused as the UK has struggled, delivering our courses
which seem ever more relevant as we continue our efforts to connect
leaders locally and nationally across UK cities and taking
advantage of the growth of Common Purpose internationally to forge
new links for the UK around the world.
It's incredibly exciting that in my first year as CEO of the UK,
we successfully launched two new Ventures - Dao Xiang (between
London and Shanghai) and Itijah (between cities of the Arab world and
cities of Europe) in addition to Dishaa (between India and the UK) - to link
leaders in the UK with leaders in other countries. I am truly
delighted with the continued support of Prime Minister David
Cameron as Patron of Dishaa and Mayor Boris Johnson as Advisory
Group Member of Dao Xiang.
All this could not have been possible without the help of our
alumni, Advisory Groups and supporters giving us your valuable time
to speak and contribute on our courses. Thank you very much, and
all of us at Common Purpose UK look forward to working with you in
In October 2012, we ran a free online leadership event "Leading
Beyond Culture - exploring Cultural Intelligence".
Three global contributors shared their experiences of adapting as
a leader when operating in different cultures:
Each session lasted an hour, during which they explored how
successful leaders can make positive change happen even when
operating in unfamiliar territory.
To watch the sessions back, visit the Common
Purpose 360 website.
Throughout the three day course the students met a wide range of
senior leaders from organisations including ITN, Big Lottery Fund,
Princes Trust, NHS East Midlands and HMP Lowdham Grange who shared
their leadership stories and insights with the group. Visits
included YMCA, Geldards LLP, Groundwork and One Nottingham,
exploring the real life leadership challenges those organisations
are facing with the students challenged to find possible solutions
to help them move forward.
We were lucky enough to welcome one of the participants of the
first Frontrunner for Disabled Students course as a contributor on
the last day, Suzi Rees, who has won several awards for her
groundbreaking campaign to improve the accessibility of adventure
sports. Her charity iDID hosts events all over the UK introducing
disabled people to a myriad of different sports. Suzi and three
other participants on the course came up with the idea for the
charity during the course itself, and it was formed shortly
The feedback from the participants was excellent and it
included:"This course has been the best thing I have done in my
adult life. I can honestly say I have never felt so positive about
myself. I have to say I have never met such a group of
inspirational speakers and I know I have made friends for life. I
can't thank you enough for this opportunity."
The Frontrunner for Disabled Students campaign aims to develop
the leadership capabilities of disabled students, empowering and
inspiring people who have faced difficult obstacles in their lives.
In a recent survey of alumni of this course, 98% said they would
recommend the course to other disabled students. The next course
will be taking place in Liverpool in February 2013 and we are
already excited about continuing to reach out to students with this
Between 13-16 November, 26 participants from various
not-for-profit organisations across the UK will explore
collaborative leadership, one-to-one coaching and personal and
organisational branding, developing some of the key skills required
for effective leadership in the third sector.
American Express, in partnership with Common Purpose, are
running the American Express Leadership Academy in the UK as part
of a 5-year initiative to develop emerging leaders who have the
potential to become senior leaders in the not-for-profit
"At American Express, we appreciate the impact that talented
leaders have on business, the community and society," said Timothy
J. McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation. "We are
committed to providing current and future not-for-profit leaders
with opportunities to build and hone leadership skills that are
critical to the sector."
Laura Smith, Acting Head of Global Xchange, VSO, attended the
2010 Academy which was also run in partnership with Common Purpose.
She described it as "a valuable opportunity to reflect on your
strengths and weaknesses as a leader and identify clear goals for
development, both professionally and personally, with the
opportunity to build a network of support and contacts".
Since June 2011, Common Purpose has been running a European
Union programme of capacity building support in Libya.
This programme financed by the European Union's Instrument for
Stability was set up to respond to early Libyan requests for
support with training on leadership, organisational and other
Twenty eight courses and workshops have been run over the first
twelve months of this programme and over 1,000 people have
participated. Of the people who attended the courses 58% were
men and 42% women. Courses have been run in Benghazi, Derna,
Tripoli, Al Bayda and most recently Misrata.
For the most recent update on the programme, please download the
Why not read the article published in October 2012 in the
Libya Herald on the project?
For more information about the project, please email Alison Coburn, CEO of Common Purpose
For press enquiries, please email Isabella
Betkowski or call +447958560943.
With employers often frustrated that they cannot find suitably
skilled new talent despite the millions of unemployed in search of
jobs, how do we ensure appropriate skills development to bridge
this apparent gap between education and employability?
This is the challenge that participants on the Dishaa Venture,
run by leadership development organisation Common Purpose, will be
tackling this week in Mysore, India. Dishaa aims to expand, enrich
and energise relations between India and the UK by investing in the
development of the next generation of leaders from the two
Many of the participants are from member organisations of the
India UK CEO Forum (Established by Prime Ministers David Cameron
and Manmohan Singh to strengthen economic ties http://ukindiaceoforum.com),
their presence showing how crucial tackling this challenge will be
for stimulating global economic growth.
Business sector participants will be working with those from the
public sector and NGOs to foster discussion and build shared
approaches to this challenge. The diverse group of participants, 19
from the UK and 19 from India, are skilled and respected
practitioners in their fields and looking to effect change both in
their organisations and wider society.
Organisations participating in Dishaa include:
During the Venture, based at the Infosys Leadership Institute in
Mysore from 2 October to 6 October, participants will meet with
Through experiential visits to organisations including Bosch,
Raman Fibresciences, Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement and
Labournet, participants will meet and learn from the leaders who
are tackling this real-life challenge on a daily basis.
The group will undertake research tasks beforehand, develop
their thinking and work together to come up with innovative
approaches to the challenge. They will then present their findings
and models to a cross sector group of policy experts from the UK
and India, potentially leading to future policy change that could
help tackle one of the defining problems of the 21st century.
The Dishaa Venture is run in partnership with the British
Foreign & Commonwealth Office and sponsored by United Business
Media (UBM), Tilda, Cisco, and PwC. British Prime Minister David
Cameron is patron of Dishaa and launched the Venture in July
"What the world needs today is a compelling vision to drive
and deliver change," says Deepak Kapoor, Chairman, PwC India.
"It's a matter of pride for PwC India to be associated with the
Dishaa Venture, which is doing this by bringing together diverse
groups of young leaders from the UK and India to collaborate and
work for a better tomorrow."
Common Purpose India
T: +91 (080) 41123339
M: +91 98455 27836
Senior Course Manager
Common Purpose UK
M: +44 (0) 7557 679506
Common Purpose is an independent international leadership
development organisation. Over the past 21 years, Common Purpose
has designed and delivered courses that help people at all stages
of their career become more effective leaders in society.
Common Purpose runs courses that give people from the private,
public and not-for-profit sector the inspiration, skills and
connections to become better leaders both at work and in society.
Common Purpose helps people, organisations, cities and regions to
succeed, by broadening the horizons of their leaders and developing
their ability to work together and lead complex change.
www.commonpurpose.org and www.commonpurpose.org/ventures
Common Purpose in Scotland recently organised a day on
leadership for 48 young women post-grads from universities across
the UAE, who were in Dundee for a summer school at the Al Maktoum
HE College. The Chief Constable of Tayside Police, the Development
Director of 'M' Technologies (Glasgow, London, Chicago), the Chief
Executive of Aberlour Childcare Trust Scotland, and the Vice
President HR for Fairmont Group Europe took part in the discussions
which explored attitudes to leadership, best attributes of leaders,
and how people become leaders.
A fantastic day all round!
Common Purpose Ventures connect future leaders, across the
world, to tackle challenges which are common and compelling, big
(enough to be worth the effort) and small (enough to be grasped).
Ventures encourage participants to work in new directions to
develop innovative approaches to new (and old) problems - this is
why the names of all our Ventures mean "direction".
In the first week of July London played host to the inaugural Dao Xiang Venture, bringing together a diverse
group of leaders from Shanghai and London to tackle the challenge
of making our cities more sustainable and resilient for future
generations. The week has proven to be a huge success and the
collaboration demonstrated throughout was of the highest calibre.
The enthusiasm and willingness of the group to delve deeper into
the challenge they had been set was clear to see, and we are
delighted with the results that they have been able to produce over
the 4 days. The challenge was:
With rapidly rising urbanisation (more than 50% of people
now live in cities, expected to rise to 70% by 2050), we need to
find new ways of making cities sustainable and resilient. What
practical mechanisms for collaboration could be established that
would allow ground breaking action on the social challenges facing
London and Shanghai?
Participants had the opportunity to learn from a series of
speakers, visits, panel discussions and innovation processes, and
also from the individual experiences of the group. The group
also met with key individuals in the field of sustainability such
as Ian Short, Chief Executive of the Institute for Sustainability,
David Wardle from the Environment Agency, Helen Woolston from
TFL, Paul Grover of WYG Group, Mark Bradbury of Think Vertical
and Peter Head CBE of the Ecological Sequestration Trust, all of
whom gave key insights into the social challenges our group would
have to bear in mind as they broke the challenge down into its
various elements, as well as the growing need for new ways of
On the visits we looked at challenges facing infrastructure,
social housing, the movement of people and business, regeneration
and collaboration between organisations at the highest level with
visits to the Institute for Sustainability, Good Homes Alliance,
Liverpool in London, The Useful Simple Trust and the London Legacy
Throughout the Venture the group explored the role of leadership as
an instrument of change. The process of innovation was at the core
of the week with the group exploring the barriers evident across
both London and Shanghai which hinder people from innovating at the
The Venture allowed the group to really immerse themselves into the
challenge, giving them a deep understanding of the key issues they
would have to examine in order to effectively develop a new
practical mechanism for collaboration that would allow for ground
breaking action on sustainability across both cities.
The group has now created initial prototypes for four key
projects, two applicable to Shanghai and two for London, which
they feel will help achieve the goal of more resilient and
The groups will develop these prototypes further over the coming
months in order to develop a report which they will then present to
key stakeholders. We have had excellent support from the Mayor's
office in both London and Shanghai, with London Mayor Boris Johnson also sitting on our Advisory
Group. City Hall also kindly hosted a reception for the group
on Wednesday 4 July where Sue Riddlestone, Director of Bioregional,
spoke to the group on the importance of One Planet Living as we aim
to create a more sustainable community within our cities.
Here are some of the comments from our participant group after
taking part in the week:
"I am coming out of the Venture energised with new friends and
potential collaborators and new tools to turn ideas into creative
Alastair Mackenzie, Director, Limina & Leadership
and Management Adviser, Exemplas Ltd
"Dao Xiang enabled me to reflect, to think differently and dive
deeper when I am confronted with problems"
Qilan Shen, Chief Editor of Arts and director of
International Projects of Shanghai Insight Media, Shanghai Insight
"The strength of Common Purpose is the bringing together of
diverse people from different organisations countries and
cultures. We all have so much to learn from each other"
Robin Smith, Chief Superintendant, ACPO
"Dao Xiang was a fantastic opportunity both to meet
exceptionally talented and high achieving others and to rethink my
own situation and gain new perspectives on the challenges I
Daniel Stanley, CEO, Small Axe
"Dao Xiang has been a great venture allowing me to connect with
interesting and amazing future leaders from different industries
and backgrounds and work together to create a dream future. My
leadership abilities have been further developed and I feel more
confident about making some real changes."
Emilie Wang, International Arts Co-ordinator, Southbank
Our next Dishaa
Venture will take place in Mysore, India, from 1 - 5 October 2012.
This will be the third Dishaa Venture we have undertaken, following
the initial launch of the project by
British Prime Minister David Cameron back in July 2010.
The challenge has
now been set and we are delighted that the next Dishaa group will
be working on the following over the 4 days:
"As economies are driven by technology and knowledge in a
rapidly changing environment, how do we ensure appropriate skills
development to bridge the gap between education and
This challenge is highly relevant to all organisations looking to
develop the key competencies required to successfully create a more
skilled workforce in today's environment.
We are looking for exceptional leaders in the mid-stages of
their careers to take part in Dishaa who can really
They do not need to have experience in the field in which the
challenge is set as the Venture will take them through a process of
innovation and change with a diverse group from organisations
throughout the UK and India.
The closing date for applications is Tuesday 31 July.
In December 2012 the inagural Kompas Venture will take place in
Budapest, brigning together leaders from major cities in Czech
Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to learn and work
on a common issue.
The region is dispersed however and countries often see each other
as competitors rather than potential partners. CEE needs leaders
who can think and act locally, regionally and internationally and
who are capable of leading across boundaries both new and old - be
they geographical, professional or sectoral. The Kompas Venture
will bring together and develop these leaders, building links at a
very practical level and helping them to work more effectively
together to identify new approaches to complex problems.
We are now looking for further members of the Advisory Group, which
will provide strategic direction on the challenge for Venture
participants and who will work together with our newly appointed
members of the Advisory Group, Erhard Busek, Vice Chancellor A. D
and Eszter Szabó, Public Affairs Leader in GE.
We also seek to find committed applicants and initiating sponsors
for Kompas, like GE, our first sponsor.
The inagural Dou Heung Venture between Scotland and Hong
Kong will take place in 2013. Sir John Elvidge, former Permanent
Secretary to Scottish Government, now Chair of Edinburgh Airport
and Sir Andrew Cubie, consultant, Fyfe Ireland LLP, just been
confirmed as the first two members of the Dou Heung Advisory Group.
More information about Dou Heung will be available soon, keep an
eye out on the website.
For more information on all Common Purpose Ventures, please
visit our Ventures
LONDON, 27 June 2012 - Thirty experienced and successful
leaders from London and Shanghai will meet in London next week to
tackle social challenges common to both cities.
The inaugural Dao Xiang Venture, run by international leadership
development organisation Common Purpose, will take place at
Devonport House and City Hall from 2-5 July 2012.
During the four day Venture, participants will be set the
challenge of developing collaborative practical methods to tackle
social challenges caused by ever increasing urbanisation in the two
The group will also meet Mayor of London Boris Johnson at City
Hall where he will host a reception for the participants.
"Dao Xiang is a great project. Bringing together the brightest
and best young leaders from Shanghai and London is a fantastic way
to learn from each other and strengthen the developing bonds
between our two great cities" said Mr Johnson, who is also a member
of the Dao
Xiang Advisory Group. "I know previous Common Purpose Ventures
have delivered some creative, innovative solutions to different
problems and I can't wait to see the ideas that are produced this
"Both London and Shanghai have long history, dynamic
entrepreneurs, young and growing populations and huge challenges
in common" said Julia Middleton, Chief Executive and Founder,
Common Purpose. "Getting the next generation of their leaders
together to tackle common problems seems only right. The outcome
will strengthen relationships which defy the cultural differences.
Our Ventures reveal just how small the world is."
Participants are from organisations including: UBM Sinoexpo
International Exhibition Co. Ltd, Constructing Futures, UBM China,
UBM London, British Council Shanghai, Small Axe, Shanghai Cultural
Square, PwC, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Southbank Centre, The Royal Bank
of Scotland Group and CBN weekly.
International sponsors supporting the Venture include Cisco,
PwC, UBM and GlaxoSmithKline.
"For UBM, supporting the development of leaders of our
businesses in China and in the UK is an important enabler of
our strategy for growth" says Jennifer Duvalier, Group People and
Culture Director at UBM. "We also believe that experience is the
best classroom, and that bringing leaders from different cultures
and backgrounds to learn together is very powerful in creating
positive outcomes. Dao Xiang is a great vehicle for this kind of
development experience, and UBM is proud to be involved."