News from CSCLeaders 2015

'Hugely energising', 'immensely challenging' and 'utterly life-enhancing' are just some of the words used to describe CSCLeaders 2015, which launched with seven days in the UK last month. 87 senior and exceptional leaders from 20 countries and diverse sectors across the Commonwealth came together for an incredibly exciting experience, broadening their horizons and developing their Cultural Intelligence as they collaborated on this year's Challenge: 'What makes a city smart?' 

Participants on CSCLeaders are all exceptional leaders and experts in their fields, including Chief Executives, Permanent Secretaries, social entrepreneurs and game-changing community leaders, as well as leaders in health, education, engineering and experts from the Arts, Science and Gender Equality. This unique mix resulted in fascinating and challenging conversations and the development of a network of diverse Commonwealth talent who can continue to connect and collaborate beyond the programme.

The 2015 programme featured over 125 contributors and 58 visits across the week, including the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson; David Gann, Chair of the Smart London Board and Unilever CEO, Paul Polman. This year's Study Tours in London immersed the participants in the local communities as well as offering a great insight to London as a smart and global city. Participants experienced urban agriculture on the roof of a car park, sailed along the Thames with the London Port Authority, climbed down into London's Power Tunnels and had a ride in Greenwich's autonomous vehicles.

Commonwealth leaders were joined by HRH Princess Anne, President of the Commonwealth Study Conferences at various points throughout the programme. The Princess Royal addressed participants, alumni and guests at the Palace Reception, joined participants on their Study Tours and on the final day of the programme when participants presented project proposals in response to the Challenge.

Participants developed their project ideas through a staged innovation process before presenting them to a panel, which included Common Purpose CEO Julia Middleton; Volker Buscher, Director of Digital Arup; Mike Short, Vice President of Telefonica; The Rt. Hon. Baroness Scotland QC and His Excellency Carlos dos Santos, High Commissioner for the Republic of Mozambique. Ideas ranged from an umbrella organisation for youth parliaments to a Commonwealth social return-on-investment model and a product valuing and labelling technology that enables citizens of future smart cities to make responsible choices.

The feedback from participants  on the leadership learning has been deep and insightful. As one participant commented: "CSCLeaders has given me a deeper appreciation for the value of bringing a diverse group of people together to create an environment of robust discussions, free-flowing ideas and innovative solutions. We often define the success of our decision making processes by the number of those in agreement - the reality is that we should encourage a difference of views, openly discuss our ideas and reach a common way forward through an open mind, open heart and open will."

Participants will come together for a second time for Part two of CSCLeaders 2015, which is a choice of three cities: Ahmedabad, Nairobi or Singapore.

Applications for CSCLeaders 2016 open 26 May 2015. Part One is 10-17 April 2016, Part Two will be three locations, TBC. The 2016 Challenge is: 'What would produce a step change in how the public, private and not for profit sectors work together?'


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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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