Collaboration across the Commonwealth: CSCLeaders 2016

We had a hugely excited week for CSCLeaders 2016 Part One. Senior leaders from business, Governments and NGOs across 28 Commonwealth countries assembled in the UK to develop their global leadership skills and build on their networks as they collaborated on the Challenge: 'How do we produce a step-change in the way the private, public and not-for-profit sectors work together?'

Participants were truly exceptional and diverse leaders selected from a range of industry sectors and backgrounds. They included, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Botswana; an award winning Kenyan photojournalist and campaigner; Vice President of Astro Malaysia; Regional Managing Director (EMEA) of The Weir Group; Chief Superintendent - Hong Kong Police; General Manager of First Merchant Bank in Malawi; Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa; Executive Director of Childreach International and Director of Energy & Climate Change at the Scottish Government.

The 2016 programme started in London, and was opened by the new Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Scotland, who shared her aspirations for tomorrow's Commonwealth and challenged the participants to come up with some game changing ideas. Dame Julia Cleverdon, former Chief Executive of Business in the Community and Dr Mukund Rajan, Brand Custodian and Chief Ethics Officer of Tata Group also shared their perspectives on the importance of global networks for today's leaders. The group then divided and travelled to Manchester or Glasgow to explore the 2016 Challenge on cross-sector collaboration in-depth; visiting organizations, meeting leaders and gaining an insight into real examples of collaboration and innovation, as well as the key challenges facing city leaders.

In Manchester, contributors included Sir Howard Bernstein, CEO, Manchester City Council; Mike Blackburn, Chairman of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester. Visits in the city included the Manchester Airport, Gorton Monastery, Greater Manchester Police, The Big Life Company, Manchester City Football Club and Coronation Street at ITV. In Glasgow, the group visited: BAE Systems, Glasgow Science Centre, New Gorbals Housing Association, Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Gurdwara and Theatre Nemo. City leaders involved included: Stuart Patrick, CEO, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce; Seumas MacInnes, Proprietor, Cafe Gandolfi and Paul Gray, Director - General Health and Social Care and Chief Executive, NHS Scotland.

Participants reconvened in Glasgow where Dr Lena Wilson, CEO of Scottish Enterprise, inspired them with some amazing examples of cross-sector collaboration in Glasgow and Scotland. They also attended a reception at Glasgow City Chambers with the Lord Provost. On the final two days, they shared their learning and developed project ideas in response to the Challenge, using Common Purpose's unique innovation techniques. They presented their ideas to a panel which included Common Purpose CEO and Founder Julia Middleton; Keith Cochrane, CEO of the Weir Group; Sir Jim McDonald, Vice Chancellor, University of Strathclyde; Her Excellency Ms FOO Chi Hsia High Commissioner for Singapore to the United Kingdom and Apoorva Chandra, Head of HR for Group Head Office, Prudential plc. Project ideas included a Commonwealth framework and quality mark for improving cross-sector collaboration; a proposal to match the supply and demand of key workers in different labour markets across the Commonwealth and a 'charter for collaboration' to empower and engage citizens in city-wide collaboration. The common theme across all project ideas was the need to develop collaborative leadership and strengthen networks across the Commonwealth. Participants will use Common Purpose's MOIC (Massive Online Innovation Community) platform to continue to collaborate and build on their ideas. The groups are now coordinating all the ideas so they can present their outcomes to Baroness Scotland. 

Commonwealth leaders were joined by HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Commonwealth Study Conferences at various points throughout the programme. HRH The Princess Royal addressed participants, alumni and guests at a Palace Reception in London, joined participants on their Study Tours in Manchester and Glasgow and on the final day of the programme when participants presented their project ideas.

Participants described their experience on the Common Purpose global leadership programme as 'inspirational', 'energizing' and 'game-changing'. A senior business leader from India said: "CSCLeaders has given me great exposure to new cultures. Through the visits to Glasgow and Manchester, we gained a real insight into the civic responsibility, pride and passion needed to make cities work - which was really inspiring. I know that the connections I have made will be immensely valuable to me personally and professionally."

Keith Cochrane, Chair of theCSCLeaders Selection Committee and CEO, The Weir Group (CSCLeaders sponsors) joined the programme in London and Glasgow. He said: "One of the key benefits ofCSCLeaders is that it's a platform for exceptional people with a broad range of backgrounds and experiences, who all share a commitment to making the world a better place through common effort. That mix is the main reason why my company, the Weir Group, has been delighted to supportCSCLeaders in recent years. The feedback we've had from our own participants has been extremely positive. At Weir, we viewCSCLeaders as a truly unique experience, stimulating leaders to think laterally and collaboratively. As the head of a company headquartered in Glasgow, I am also particularly delighted that so much of this year's schedule involved Scotland."

The participants will continue their learning in Ghana and Singapore later this year.



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