Former investigative reporter Roberta Baskin discusses AIM2Flourish, a project in which business school students use appreciative inquiry to highlight businesses that are innovating in ways that meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and benefit global society. AIM2Flourish.com is housed at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit in the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
Dan LeClair: [00:12] I’d love to ask you a few questions about this work. Let's just get right into it.
Roberta Baskin: [00:13] I hope I have some answers.
LeClair: [00:14] [laughs] What is AIM2Flourish?
Baskin: [00:15] AIM2Flourish is a global transformative management education project. We're working in management schools around the world, in 30 countries so far, and growing.
[00:32] We're teaching professors how to teach the UN global goals to their students. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are what the world has agreed are the most pressing challenges facing the planet. Ending poverty, water issues, gender equality, peace. Really important issues for the world to tackle.
[00:54] The idea is that these next business leaders in management schools right now are the ones who are going to do it. We're asking these students to go out as detectives, really, in their communities, and explore and find a radical innovation and the innovator behind it that is connected to one or more of these Sustainable Development Goals.
[01:19] Do an appreciative inquiry, to interview this person in an appreciative way about what inspired them to come up with a business that is for profit and meeting one of these global goals. Then they write it up. The professor reviews it, grades it, and sends it to the AIM2Flourish platform, where it's reviewed again.
[01:40] Then it gets published. Some of them, the best ones, are the ones that we're showcasing on the website, featuring. Every week we feature new ones. Ultimately we're going to celebrate the 17 global goals. The ones that we pick from all around the world that are the best of the best examples of creating the world we all want through Business as an Agent of World Benefit.
LeClair: [02:07] That's amazing. I especially like the connection to the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework.
Baskin: [02:11] Me too. [laughs]
LeClair: [02:12] As they were being developed, I recall it was very important to engage business. Not just business. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, which were mostly government...
Baskin: [02:23] That's right.
LeClair: [02:24] there's a conscious effort to involve business and education and the general civil sector.
Baskin: [02:30] If you talk to people about it and they really don't know about them, and we've been talking to universities and they don't really know about them, this is a tool really to reach out across the world and have a conversation about the Sustainable Development Goals. It's really a beautiful experience for the students to find somebody that they admire, who can become a mentor or maybe even offer them a job.
LeClair: [02:57] Sure.
Baskin: [02:57] That has happened. It's this conversation around what can business do and what is business doing in terms of tackling the kind of world that we need to have according to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. But why not do it sooner?
LeClair: [03:15] It connects so many dots. You started with educating the professors. Obviously to help educate the students, but also to educate the public about the great things businesses are doing. To educate the world about the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a beautiful thing.