The Impactful Five (i5): Learning in Leadership Education

Background and Motivation

Business leaders are undeniably one of the most important agents to create sustainable positive development for the world. In the wake of a global pandemic, rising inequalities and environmental disasters, it has become increasingly clear that leaders with a holistic skillset are in scarce supply. These humanitarian catastrophes have surfaced ‘wicked problems’ where no predefined methods exist to solve these transnational challenges and where the call for novel innovative solutions, and ‘minds-on/hands-on’ multi-disciplinary approaches are critically in demand. Today, there is an urgent need for world leaders who can leverage interconnected, dynamic and holistic skills to tackle the global challenges society faces. However, this breadth of skills has not been fostered by business schools due to pedagogies that focus exclusively on the development of cognitive skill sets. In other words, in order to develop effective business leaders with the relevant skills to address today’s challenges, business schools need to adopt a new and different pedagogical approach for holistic skill and mindset development.

The PRME (i5) program is motivated by two-time sensitive opportunities: the ability for business schools to adjust to the current global challenges including social, economic, and ecological issues by shaping a new style of responsible manager who has the skills to lead more holistically, and the need to increase the relevance of business school education in the newly emerging landscape of micro-credentials and digital learning, open access academic content and lifelong reskilling.

Program Summary

The PRME ‘Impactful Five’ (i5) is a three-year program that brings novelty to SDG leadership education by focusing on pedagogical approaches that make sustainable development the norm for responsible management education and leadership in business education. Today, leadership education predominantly emphasizes cognitive skills training in its aspiration to develop innovative and imaginative leaders. The PRME (i5) program develops methods to combine the cognitive skill set training with creative, emotional, social, and physical skill set training. The PRME (i5) program draws on prior knowledge and experiences with ‘playful learning’ to integrate collaborative, social, meaningful, joyful, iterative, and actively engaging methods to generate the future leaders that the world urgently needs.

The purpose of this program is to develop pedagogical adoption of playful learning for holistic development among the PRME network of global leadership educators. Our target group for impactful change is business school educators, while the ultimate beneficiaries are business school students (18-28 years old) at UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Signatory schools.

The Impactful Five Characteristics

The program will set a significant global agenda for valuing pedagogical approaches in educating innovative leaders. An agenda, that is currently hugely undervalued, will contribute to institutionalizing a systemic impact on leadership education to develop future leaders, i.e. leadership students, with a holistic skill set, by employing the pedagogical approach of playful learning and extending the development of the breadth of skills into existing leadership education. This is what is meant by the Impactful Five (i5): the five characteristics of playful learning and the development of five skills: cognitive, emotional, creative, social, and physical. The program will be implemented by the global network of business schools and universities of PRME. The i5 Characteristics aim to:

  • Make learning Meaningful
  • Facilitate Active Engagement
  • Design for Iteration
  • Develop supportive Social Interaction
  • Foster Joy and Well-being

During the first three years, the program will effectively pave the way for a globally scalable institutionalization of different types of pedagogical approaches to achieve the relevant and urgently needed management skills for the future. To achieve long-term sustainability, there is a need to further embed the program in institutionalized structures and systems and to further scale globally for systemic change. Importantly, the long-term sustainability will enable tracking of progress between the baseline developed during the first three years with the long-term impact on both educators and students as well as student alumni, i.e. global leaders, in the subsequent years and long-term perspective.

Interested in Getting Involved?

  1. Subscribe to our newsletter for i5 project updates and opportunities
  2. Save the date for the PRME Global Forum to join our in-person conversations and workshops
  3. Check out this introduction to the i5 Characteristics and begin exploring their relevance to your own classroom!