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."
CSCLeaders is a new partnership between
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh Commonwealth Study Conference (UK
Fund) and Common Purpose.
CSCLeaders will assemble exceptional leaders from
across the Commonwealth to tackle challenges that government,
businesses and society face today and build the relationships
needed by the leaders of tomorrow. In doing so, it will create
smarter, more inspired, enlightened and globally connected
To find out more, apply for or sponsor CSCLeaders visit
The inaugural Itijah
Venture, the latest in our Ventures series, was run in Abu
Dhabi in April in partnership with the
Emirates Foundation. An intense and stimulating event, it drew
together 40 participants from 7 cities - Abu Dhabi, Alexandria,
Amman, Benghazi, Budapest, Istanbul and Manchester - to explore the
challenge: "What would it take to multiply the number of young
people who create new businesses using ICT and social media?"
Throughout the four days the participants heard from speakers
who ranged from young entrepreneurs starting out in business to
established entrepreneurs sharing their learning on social media,
enterprise and scale. We also had three 15-year old students
joining us to give the group a youth perspective. Visits out in Abu
Dhabi were to a range of organisations working in diverse areas of
youth engagement, youth unemployment, entrepreneurship, ICT and
The group came up with six fascinating models for solving the
challenge. The next steps will be for the participants to refine,
develop and then present their ideas to policy makers and leaders
in the different cities.
Ventures connect future leaders, across the world, to tackle
challenges which are common and compelling, and big (enough to be
worth the effort) and small (enough to be grasped).
Some of the comments from participants:
"Itijah has not just met my expectations, it has gone way beyond
"An eye opener, a life changing experience, a push to start my own
life journey, a chance to break your stereotypes".
"Itijah is an exceptional experience towards better future and
youth in both Europe and the Arab World"
"You must attend this event"
If you'd like to know more about the Itijah Venture or are interested in getting
involved please contact Itijah@commonpurpose.org
or visit the
LONDON, 23 April 2012 - Forty emerging leaders from Arab
and European cities will meet in Abu Dhabi this week to explore
ways of creating and promoting entrepreneurship among unemployed
youth in the two regions.
The inaugural Itijah Venture, a four-day leadership
development course run by international organisation, Common
Purpose in partnership with the Emirates Foundation, will take
place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company from 23 to 26
Emerging leaders from seven cities which are Abu Dhabi,
Budapest, Istanbul, Alexandria, Benghazi, Manchester and Amman are
expected to attend to confront the challenge.
Unemployment has been a perennial problem for authorities in
the Arab world and is a pressing challenge in Europe with over
5.5million young people unemployed in Europe and 24million in the
During the four day Venture, participants will be set the
challenge of boosting the number of young people who create new
businesses using ICT (Information Communication Technology) and
social media, a compelling task, common to both European and Arab
Participants will explore the context of the before working
up ideas (whether big or small) to feedback to the Itijah Advisory
Group, which consists of experienced leaders from the participating
"The Arab world has witnessed tremendous change over the
past year and Common Purpose is excited to be expanding in the
region during these important times" said Julia Middleton, Chief
Executive and Founder, Common Purpose. "We are launching our latest
Venture to bring together emerging leaders from Europe and the Arab
world to work on a common challenge - youth unemployment - by
looking at ways to promote entrepreneurship amongst young people.
We are proud to hold the inaugural Itijah Venture in Abu Dhabi in
partnership with the Emirates Foundation and believe that the will
be a significant step forward for Common Purpose in the Arab
International sponsors supporting the leadership initiative
include Cisco, Shell, Oracle, Newman's Own Foundation, PwC and DLA
Piper. The local sponsor for the first Itijah Venture is Etihad
Commenting on the initiative, Maytha Al Habsi, Chief
Programs Officer at Emirates Foundation, said: "This initiative
highlights the Emirates Foundation's increased focus and commitment
to the youth sector. We are pleased that Abu Dhabi will be the
first Arab city to host Itijah. The event aspires to enhance cross
cultural awareness, build new networks between young people and
enable them to share and discuss ideas and visions to change the
world around them."
Itijah, meaning 'direction' in Arabic, is part of a series
of Ventures run by Common Purpose that will expand, enrich and
energise relations between two or more locations.
Other Ventures Common Purpose is currently developing
include Dishaa (India, UK), Dao Xiang (London, Shanghai), Pambili
(South Africa, UK), Yon (Turkey, UK) Dou Heung (Hong Kong,
Scotland) Kompas (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland,
If no action is taken to reduce emissions, the concentration of
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could reach double its
pre-industrial level as early as 2035
. Addressing this issue requires both developed and newly
industrialised countries to work innovatively together.
Unique carbon cutting measures are happening locally in both
India and the UK, but can those actions be accelerated and
multiplied to reduce carbon emissions by 50% in the next five
This is the challenge that participants on the Dishaa Venture, run by leadership development
organisation Common Purpose, will be tackling this
week. 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 countries.
Many of the participants are from member organisations of the
India UK CEO Forum
, their presence showing how crucial tackling this challenge
will be for stimulating global economic growth. Member
organisations participating in Dishaa include:
These 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, 20 from the UK and 20 from India, are skilled and
respected practitioners in their fields and looking to effect
change both in their organisations and wider society.
During the Venture, held in London from 29 November to 3
December, they will meet with carbon experts including:
They 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
what Lord Stern calls "one of the defining problems of the 21st
The Dishaa Venture is run in partnership with the British
Foreign & Commonwealth Office and sponsored by United Business
Media (UBM), Tilda, Cisco, Fly Kingfisher and PwC. British Prime
Minister David Cameron is patron of Dishaa and launched the Venture
in July 2010.
Deepak Kapoor, Chairman, PwC India explains why his organisation
is proud to sponsor the Dishaa Venture: "What the world needs today
is a compelling vision to drive and deliver change. 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
Founder and Chief Executive of Common Purpose Julia Middleton
said: "The links between the UK and India are long standing but
more importantly, they are deep, edgy, thoughtful and
multi-dimensional. By learning together the participants will be
able to enrich the connections between both countries and produce
some very exciting ideas."
 The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change
 Established by Indian Prime Ministers David Cameron and
Manmohan Singh to strengthen economic ties http://ukindiaceoforum.com
In 2010 90,000 people were employed in the UK by Indian firms,
with many more involved in the activities of British firms in India
. Indeed, over 1 million people travel between
the UK and India every year
There is a growing level of mutual investment between the two
nations, but increased communication and collaboration between
leaders from both countries is needed to support this.
This is why leadership development organisation Common Purpose's Dishaa
Venture 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 countries.
Common Purpose Ventures bring together diverse groups of leaders
to foster discussion and build shared approaches to 21st century
political, economic and social challenges.
Participants in this, the second Dishaa Venture, are skilled and
respected practitioners in their fields and looking to effect
change both in their organisations and wider society. The diverse
group, 20 from the UK and 20 from India, will come together in
London from 29 November to 3 December to develop their leadership
skills by meeting, interviewing and debating with a range of
leaders, all operating in very different contexts. Bringing this
group together will expand the existing partnerships, friendships
and dialogues that are already taking place between leaders in
India and the UK.
"Dishaa showed me that by working together with a diverse group
of people from both the UK and India, there is so much we can do
and so many changes we can make in the world for the better" said
Vandana Saxena Poria, CEO of Get Through Guides Pvt. Ltd and a graduate
of the first Dishaa Venture held in Pune, India in February
Jennifer Duvalier, Group People & Culture Director, UBM
explains why her organisation sponsors the Dishaa Venture: "UBM is
a keen supporter of Dishaa, believing that individuals learn most
powerfully when they have the opportunity to engage with impactful
development experiences and to share their learning journey with a
diverse network of fellow learners."
 A transcript of a speech given by the Prime Minister in
Bangalore, India, on 28 July 2010 http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/pms-speech-in-india/
 British High Commission New Delhi
The second Dishaa
Venture took place at the beginning of December 2011, bringing
together emerging leaders from the UK and India who gathered in
London to tackle the challenge:
"Unique carbon cutting measures are happening locally
in India and the UK. How do we accelerate and multiply our actions
to reduce carbon emissions by 50% in the next five years".
Initially daunted by the prospect of building low carbon futures,
they finished with six highly innovative, exciting and usable
models. The participants are continuing to develop and refine these
models, and hope to be able to prototype some of their ideas in
2012. The feedback has been glowing, replicating the success of the
first Dishaa Venture.
"Dishaa was a truly life changing experience, one that I
suspect I will look back on as being defining" said Maghin
Tamilarasan, Director of Strategic Development, Rolls-Royce plc,
The third Dishaa Venture will take place in Bangalore, India in
Ventures are planned for 2012. They include:
Dao Xiang (London-Shanghai) May 2012, London
Itijah (European Cities-Arab Cities) 23 - 26 April 2012, Abu
Yon (UK-Turkey) Summer 2012, tbc
Dou Heung (Scotland-Hong Kong) Summer 2012, tbc
Phambili (UK-South Africa) Summer 2012, tbc
Kompas (Hungary-Czech Republic-Slovakia-Poland-Romania) Summer
For more information about Dishaa or any of our other Ventures,
contact Senior Course
Director Amy Ritman.
The final report from the first Common Purpose Dishaa Venture, "Heart
Surgery for $1,000", has been published.
In it the participants, 20 from the UK and 20 from India, set
out their findings, models and recommendations for tackling the
challenge of lowering the costs of heart surgery to just $1,000.
The group gathered in Pune, India in February 2011 and have been
working on their models since.
Visit the Dishaa web pages for further information.
"Unique carbon cutting measures are happening locally in
India and the UK. How do we accelerate and multiply our actions to
reduce carbon emissions by 50% in the next five years?"
On each Common
Purpose Venture participants will be presented with a challenge
to explore. They will investigate the challenge locally, and work
together to come up with ideas and recommendations. Each year a
different challenge will be selected for that year's participants
The Challenge will be set by the Advisory Group in advance of the
event and must be:
During the four day event, participants will investigate the
challenge locally, and work together to come up with ideas and
recommendations. Each year another challenge will be selected for
that year's participants to investigate.